Law & Social Change: Anti-Discrimination Law

Quick Info
(2751H.03)  Course
A. Sangiuliano; Adjunct Professor
3 credit(s)  3 hour(s);
Lecture, discussion, and weekly short writing exercises
Upper Year Research & Writing Requirement

This course surveys the legal principles of anti-discrimination law in Canada. We will begin by studying recent Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence on section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the interpretation and application of Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Topics covered include: the legal tests a claimant must meet to demonstrate a limit on section 15 of the Charter and a breach of the Code; the interpretation of section 15(2) of the Charter; the nature of the “prohibited grounds” under the Charter and the Code; the scope of the Code’s “regulated spheres” of employment, accommodations, the provision of goods and services, and contracts; legal defences available to a respondent under the Code, including the “bona fide occupational requirement” defence and “special program” defences. With this foundational knowledge in hand, we will then explore two frontiers of anti-discrimination law in Canada. First, we will consider how the common law of torts, contract, and property can be reformed to address
discrimination. Second, we will consider the legal regulation of algorithmic discrimination under Canada’s new Artificial Intelligence and Data Act. Our survey will be supplemented by comparisons with legal doctrines in the United States and the United Kingdom. We will
also reflect on some philosophical theories about what makes discrimination morally wrong and the moral justification for legal prohibitions of discrimination.