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Statutory Interpretation - Human Rights

. Imperial Oil Limited v. Haseeb

In Imperial Oil Limited v. Haseeb (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considered statutory interpretation, here in an Ontario HRC context:
(i) Principles of statutory interpretation and interpretation of human rights legislation

[119] The modern approach to statutory interpretation is set out in Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes Ltd. (Re), 1998 CanLII 837 (SCC), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 27, at p. 41, quoting Professor Elmer Driedger:
Today there is only one principle or approach, namely, the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament.

In the administrative law context, a decision-maker must interpret legislative provisions “consistent with the text, context and purpose, applying its particular insight into the statutory scheme at issue”: Vavilov, at paras. 120-21.
[120] When the legislation to be interpreted is human rights legislation, a further principle applies. Human rights legislation is to be given a broad, liberal, and purposive interpretation, consistent with its remedial objectives: Canadian National Railway Co. v. Canada (Canadian Human Rights Commission), 1987 CanLII 109 (SCC), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1114, at p. 1134; Robichaud v. Canada (Treasury Board), 1987 CanLII 73 (SCC), [1987] 2 S.C.R. 84, at pp. 89-90; and Brooks, at pp. 1244-45.

[121] Both of these principles must be borne in mind when considering the meaning of discrimination on the basis of citizenship in s. 5 of the Code.


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Last modified: 26-05-23
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