Further to my article published last week, the Supreme Court of Canada will soon decide whether damages can be awarded in lawsuits against the Government for breach of rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Shane Bigham of Vancouver’s News 1130 picked up on the story and ran a piece last week bringing further attention to this matter. Shane was kind enough to provide me with a clip of this story and you can listen to it by clicking on the following link( bc-injury-law-civil-lawsuits-against-police-for-charter-breaches.)
The bottom line is that actions which violate individuals rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms may bring rise to lawsuits for civil damages. Once the Supreme Court of Canada gives their decision in the Vancouver v. Ward appeal there will be welcome clarity in this area of the law.
While I don’t necessarily think that the floodgates will open if these types of lawsuits get the green light from the Suprene Court of Canada public institutions (police departments in particular) need to rethink the potential financial exposure their actions bring when creating policies that may violate rights under the Charter.
Mass searches at public events (such as alcohol searches at Canada Day festivities and the Celebration of Light) could give rise to numerous lawsuits. Before deciding on the protocol that will be employed by police at these types of public events the RCMP and municipal police forces ought not overlook the potential implications of civil damages for Charter breaches.