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Litigation Opinions
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Charter - s.1 Oakes Test - Rational Connection

. Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association v. Ontario (Attorney General) [rational connection]

In Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association v. Ontario (Attorney General) (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considered (and mostly denied) a Crown appeal from a successful lower court Charter s.2(d) ['freedom of association'] application by unions and employees associations against Ontario legislation ['Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019' (PSPSFGA)] limiting public sector salary raises by statute.

In these quotes, the court considers the 'rational connection' step of the s.1 Charter 'balancing' test - here after finding a s.2(b) freedom of association violation:
(i) General principles

[186] On this branch of the Oakes test, the question is whether the impugned measure is rationally connected to the pressing and substantial objective: Health Services, at para. 148; Mounted Police, at para. 143. It is sufficient for the government to show that it is reasonable to suppose that the measure may further the objective – not that it will actually do so: Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony, 2009 SCC 37, [2009] 2 S.C.R. 567, at para. 48. Nevertheless, the measure must not be arbitrary, unfair or based on irrational considerations: Canada v. Taylor, 1990 CanLII 26 (SCC), [1990] 3 S.C.R. 892, at p. 921.

[187] The evidentiary burden at this stage is “not particularly onerous”: Health Services, at para. 148, citing Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Canada (Minister of Justice), 2000 SCC 69, [2000] 2 S.C.R. 1120, at para. 228, per Iacobucci J. (dissenting). Direct proof of a causal relationship between the measure and the objective is not required: Thomson Newspapers Co., at para. 39.


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Last modified: 18-02-24
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