The End of Constitutional Exemptions

Steve Coughlan


In R. v. Ferguson (reported ante p. 197) the Supreme Court decided that constitutional exemptions are not available as a remedy when a mandatory minimum sentence is said to violate section 12 of the Charter. This is a well reasoned and sensible decision. As mandatory minimum sentences are the context in which the possibility of the constitutional exemption as a Charter remedy has most frequently arisen, as a practical matter Ferguson largely disposes of the issue. Nonetheless, a further clarification at some point that constitutional exemptions are not available in any context, for other violations of section 12 or of any other Charter right, would be a laudable follow-up.


Criminal Law; Constitutional Law

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