Does s. 15(1) of the Canadian Constitution bar the executive from enacting legislation that discriminates against disadvantaged groups?

Ontario, Canada

The following excerpt is from Falkiner v. Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, 1996 CanLII 12495 (ON SCDC):

Governments have a positive duty to ensure that legislative distinctions do not have an adverse impact on disadvantaged groups. In Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General), supra, the Chief Justice stated that, "to promote the objective of the more equal society, s. 15(1) acts as a bar to the executive enacting provisions without taking into account their possible impact on already disadvantaged classes of persons" (p. 549).

Once it has been determined that a law discriminates either on its face or in its application on the basis of characteristics enumerated in s. 15(1), the issue of whether the discrimination can be justified moves to s. 1 of the Charter: Miron v. Trudel (1995), 1995 CanLII 97 (SCC), 124 D.L.R. (4th) 693 (S.C.C.), per McLachlin J., p. 739.

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