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Ackermann J

equality guarantee as the protection and promotion of human dignity.[1]


  1. In Law v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) (1999) 170 DLR (4th) 1, Iacobucci J, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court stated the following at paras 52–4:

    “… [I]n the articulation of the purpose of s. 15(1) … a focus is quite properly placed upon the goal of assuring human dignity by the remedying of discriminatory treatment.

    ….

    [T]he equality guarantee in s. 15(1) is concerned with the realization of personal autonomy and self-determination. Human dignity means that an individual or group feels self-respect and self-worth. It is concerned with physical and psychological integrity and empowerment. Human dignity is harmed by unfair treatment premised upon personal traits or circumstances which do not relate to individual needs, capacities, or merits. It is enhanced by laws which are sensitive to the needs, capacities, and merits of different individuals, taking into account the context underlying their differences.

    ….

    The equality guarantee in s. 15(1) of the Charter must be understood and applied in light

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