Decision to cease funding for certain religious services to inmates did not violate Charter

Federal court | Charter of Rights

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 

Decision to cease funding for certain religious services to inmates did not violate Charter

Plaintiff commenced action for damages following minister of Justice's decision to cease funding for certain religious services to inmates in federal correctional facilities. Plaintiff alleged that, as result of decision, he lost spiritual guidance of his imam. Prothonotary struck out plaintiff's action. Plaintiff appealed on basis of negligence and breach of ss. 2(a), 7 and 12 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Appeal dismissed. It was plain and obvious that defendant had no duty of care that would oblige funding of imam for plaintiff. Section 2(a) of Charter was intended to prevent state from interfering with individuals' religious beliefs and practices, but did not extend to imposing positive obligation on state to provide plaintiff with free access to his preferred means of practising his religion. Failure of state to provide funding for imam for plaintiff did not constitute deprivation of plaintiff's life, liberty, or security pursuant to s. 7 of Charter. Defendant's action to cease funding imams' services in federal correctional facilities did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under s. 12 of Charter. 
Elliott v. R. (Jul. 17, 2015, F.C., George R. Locke J., File No. T-2099-14) 256 A.C.W.S. (3d) 315.

 

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