Legal Word of the Day: “Analogous Ground”

Image: T. Voekler

Image: T. Voekler

“Analogous Ground” — The grounds of discrimination enumerated in s.15(1) of the Charter are not exhaustive. They include “analogous” grounds based on characteritics of individuals within discrete groups who have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of membership in that group.

The Supreme Court, in Corbiere v. Canada (Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 203, established that a ground of discrimination is analogous if it is “based on characteristics that cannot change or that the government has no legitimate interest in expecting us to change to receive equal treatment under the law.”

Citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status and Aboriginal off-reserve band member status have been found to be analogous grounds. Court and tribunals have considered whether the characteristic may serve as an irrelevant basis of exclusion and a denial of essential human dignity.

Occupational status per se does not constitute an analogous ground for purposes of s. 15 (1).

See also:

Dunmore v. Ontario (Attorney General), 1997 CanLII 12345 (ON SC)

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