Student union was not subject to Charter

Ontario civil | Educational law

Colleges and universities

Student union was not subject to Charter

Applicants were university students who were members of pro-life organization seeking status as “student group.” University’s student union denied organization’s final appeal to be granted “student group” status. Applicants applied for declarative relief quashing student union’s decision. Application dismissed. It was not appropriate to exercise jurisdiction to review student union’s decision. Student union was private corporation with broad powers to act independently. Student union’s decision to grant or deny student group status was private decision by private entity, within its powers to make, and which did not engage principles of administrative law. Student union was not subject to Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There was no basis for conclusion that student union failed to take into account applicant’s rights to freedom of expression and association. To extent that student union had contractual obligation to consider and decide applicants’ request fairly and in accordance with its own procedures, that obligation was fully discharged. Applicants were free to continue to associate and express themselves on university campus, holding meetings or events and raising funds for their cause.
Grant v. Ryerson Students’ Union (2016), 2016 CarswellOnt 15862, 2016 ONSC 5519, Stewart J. (Ont. S.C.J.).


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