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Mathur et al v His Majesty the King in Right of Ontario

This case was brought by a group of Ontario youth who are arguing that Ontario’s 2030 GHG reduction targets are too weak and are based on inaccurate emission data. They claim that the resulting impacts of climate change violate youth Charter rights under s. 7, life, liberty and security of the person, and s. 15, equality rights. The case was dismissed on April 14, 2023, after which Mathur et al. filed an Appeal.

The BCCLA has intervened in this appeal to argue that the challenges brought under ss. 7 and 15 of the Charter should not be dismissed simply because they could be characterized as “positive rights”. The Courts have developed robust analytical frameworks for assessing Charter challenges, and these frameworks recognize that rights under ss. 7 and 15 may have both positive and negative implications, depending on the context. Prematurely dismissing a claim because it raises a “positive right”, without assessing whether that right is protected by the Charter under the established contextual frameworks, turns this analysis on its head and undermines existing Supreme Court of Canada case law.

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