What is the test for state imposed psychological trauma in the context of section 11(b) of the Charter?

Ontario, Canada


The following excerpt is from Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto v. M.C., 2018 ONCJ 619 (CanLII):

[250] R. v. Morgentaler concerned a challenge to the constitutionality of certain provisions in the Criminal Code dealing with abortion. In that context and referring to Mills v. the Queen, 1986 CanLII 17 (SCC), [1986] 1 S.C.R. 863, specifically section 11(b) of the Charter, at page 55, Dickson C.J. held that security of the person is not restricted to physical integrity. It also encompasses protection against “overlong subjection to the vexations and vicissitudes of a pending criminal accusation”. “This includes stigmatization of the accused, loss of privacy, stress and anxiety resulting from a multitude of factors, including possible disruption of family, social life and work, legal costs, uncertainty as to the outcome and sanction. If state imposed psychological trauma infringes security of the person in the rather circumscribed case of s. 11(b), it should be relevant to the general case of s. 7 where the right is expressed in broader terms.”

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