MLT Aikins lawyers have extensive experience representing clients at all levels of court in constitutional litigation and appellate advocacy arising from complex Charter challenges and Federalism (division-of-powers) issues.
MLT Aikins’s recent representative work in the Charter area includes representing public school boards in advancing Charter challenges to education funding legislation, representing the interests of provincial health authorities in a Charter challenge to essential services legislation, representing a provincial crown corporation in defending a Charter challenge to a social benefits plan, and representing the interests of provincial human rights tribunals in a Charter challenge to provisions of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.
Our recent representative work in the Federalism (division-of-powers) area includes a challenge to provincial farm security legislation on the basis of a conflict with federal bankruptcy legislation, and a challenge to provincial hunting regulations on the grounds that the legislation encroached federal jurisdiction in relation to First Nations communities.
MLT Aikins also advises a variety of clients on a range of constitutional issues arising in a variety of contexts. Our recent representative work in the area includes advising crown corporations and administrative tribunals on the procedural and substantive fairness requirements imposed by the Charter and the Canadian Bill of Rights. Our criminal defence lawyers and labour and employment lawyers are able to provide focused advice on the unique constitutional issues which arise in these areas. More broadly, our lawyers have experience advising clients in regards to the denominational education provisions of the Constitution, and the Charter rights to equality, mobility, freedom of association and religion, freedom from unreasonable search or seizure, and to life, liberty and security of the person.
Further, MLT Aikins has extensive experience advising First Nations and Métis Communities as well as large commercial clients in regards to the aboriginal and treaty rights reflected in the Constitution Act, 1982. For further information, please consult our Indigenous practice group page.
- Good Spirit School Division v Christ the Teacher RCSSD No. 212 & Government of Saskatchewan (heard by the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench in April 2017) – MLT Aikins lawyers serve as counsel to Saskatchewan’s public school boards in a constitutional challenge to the education funding regime in Saskatchewan. The team of MLT Aikins lawyers, led by Robert Leurer and Khurrum Awan, were recently successful in obtaining judgment in the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan. The case concerns the constitutionality of government funding for the attendance of non-minority faith students who attend minority separate schools and is what Justice Layh described in the judgment “one of the most significant lawsuits in the province’s history”.
- Attorney General of Saskatchewan v Lemare Lake Logging Ltd., 2015 SCC 53 – Our firm was appointed as amicus curiae counsel by the Supreme Court of Canada to argue the position of the Respondent in a paramountcy case involving an alleged conflict between the receivership provision in section 243 of the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the farmland foreclosure provisions in Part II of the provincial Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.
- Gift Lake Métis Settlement v Alberta (Aboriginal Relations), 2015 ABQB 654 – Represented a Métis Settlement intervener in an injunction application involving questions about the constitutional validity of provisions in the Métis Settlements Act, which prohibits those registered as “Indians” under the Indian Act from being a Métis Settlement member. The case raised several constitutional issues, including division-of-powers and Charter
- Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v Saskatchewan, 2015 SCC 4 –Our lawyers served as counsel for the interveners, SaskPower, SaskEnergy and the Saskatchewan Health Regions in a constitutional challenge to essential services legislation passed by the Government of Saskatchewan in 2008. This decision addressed the scope of the Charter right to freedom of association.
- Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48 – Represented five intervener First Nations before the Supreme Court of Canada in a case involving treaty interpretation and division-of-powers (Federalism) issues. In regards to division-of-powers issues, this case focused on whether the province has the authority to take up tracts of land so as to limit harvesting rights under a numbered Treaty or whether it requires federal approval to do so.
- Horner v Saskatchewan, 2013 SKQB 340 – MLT Aikins lawyers successfully defended a constitutional Charter claim for alleged discrimination arising from the termination upon remarriage of workers’ compensation benefits paid to spouses of deceased workers.
- Issues under S. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 – Our lawyers have represented a number of First Nations communities in a constitutional challenge to provincial regulations applicable to public lands on the basis that the regulation were invalid on the basis of Federalism (division-of-powers) principles.
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