Election Issue: Court Challenges Program

At the Equality Day Event, we discussed the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program, which funded challenges to the Charter of Rights or to legislation that is considered “unfair” by the challenger. We wondered what each party’s position is on restoring this program. It was agreed that OWN members should question each riding’s candidates on this issue, which is an important one for women. Shirley Lewis undertook to glean the positions of all the Ontario parties from their websites:

  • The Conservative Party was the government that ended the Court Challenges Program, and their current policy discussions do not include any commitment to restore it.
  • The NDP plan to ensure access to justice for women includes a reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program, as well as the restoration of funding to legal aid.
  • The Liberal Party has stated in their party platform that they are committed to reinstate the Court Challenges Program.
  • Bloc Québécois reiterates its demand that, in the next budget, funding for the Court Challenges Program be reinstated and Status of Women regional offices be reopened.
  • The Green Party is committed to re-establishing the Court Challenges Program.
  • The following parties’ websites have not stated any position on the Court Challenges:
    • Marxist-Leninist Party, which has 29 candidates running in Ontario
    • Christian Heritage Party, which has 23 candidates running in Ontario
    • Libertarian Party, which has 15 candidates running in Ontario
    • Marijuana Party, which has 5 candidates running in Ontario
    • United Party, which has 3 candidates running in Ontario