Carbon Pricing and the Constitution

Why is the federal government’s carbon pricing so constitutionally contentious? The Ontario and Saskatchewan Courts of Appeal found the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA, sometimes referred to as ‘carbon tax’ or ‘carbon pricing’) constitutional; the Alberta Court of Appeal did not.

On September 22nd and 23rd, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments about whether the federal government has jurisdiction to enact the GGPPA.

Join Professors Eric M. Adams, Andrew Leach, and Jocelyn Stacey on Monday, September 21st, as they discuss key points the Supreme Court will need to decide, and explore wider issues related to the GGPPA litigation. Professors Adams and Leach will focus on the issue of whether the GGPPA is federal or provincial jurisdiction, while Professor Stacey will discuss environmental principles related to the GGPPA.

This event is free and open to the public. Download a copy of the poster here.

Eric M. Adams is Vice Dean and a Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta.

Andrew Leach is an Associate Professor at the Alberta School of Business – Marketing, Business Economics and Law.

Jocelyn Stacey is an Assistant Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia.

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Online Charter Series: Pandemic Travel Restrictions – Do They Violate Your Mobility Rights?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, governments worldwide have taken measures that were previously unthinkable. Limitations have been placed on travel to and from, as well as within Canada. Does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect rights to travel?

Join lawyers Arthur M. Grant, Partner at Grant Kovacs Norell, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Cara Zwibel, Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Program with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, as they discuss Charter rights in the context of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

This event is free and open to the public. Download a copy of the poster here.

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Professors David Dyzenhaus and Paul Daly, Presenting: “COVID-19: Emergency Powers and Legal Principle”

David Dyzenhaus, University Professor of Law and Philosophy, and Albert Abel Chair, University of Toronto
Paul Daly, University Research Chair in Administrative Law and Governance, University of Ottawa

How far is too far? COVID-19 has sparked states of emergency across Canada and the world, with governments sometimes taking unprecedented actions. During this crisis, there may be temptation for governments to push the limits of power. This timely webinar will address and explain the concept of a ‘state of emergency’ in both the Canadian and Hungarian contexts. Professors David Dyzenhaus and Paul Daly explore what a state of emergency means, examine Canada’s federal and provincial responses to the current public health crisis, and suggest strategies on how to ensure that government power is not abused.

This event is free and open to the public.

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Dr. Ubaka Ogbogu, Associate Professor, U of A, Presenting: “Rights, Freedoms, and Medical Assistance in Dying”

Dr. Ubaka Ogbogu, Associate Professor, cross-appointed to the Faculties of Law and Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta; Katz Research Fellow in Health Law and Science Policy; and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow, 2020 – 2023.

Canadian medical assistance in dying (MAID) laws were recently updated. However, they remain controversial in so many ways. Who qualifies? Who does not and why? Can health care providers object to any involvement in MAID? What safeguards to prevent abuse are in place? Professor Ogbogu will answer these questions and more from the perspective of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This event is free and open to the public. It is part of our Downtown Charter Series and will be hosted online.

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Associate Professor Cameron Jefferies, U of A Faculty of Law, Presents: “The Charter and the Environment”




Professor Catherine Bell, U of A Faculty of Law, Presents: “The Duty to Consult and Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982




Assistant Professor Anna Lund, U of A Faculty of Law, Presents: “Do Corporations Have Charter Rights?”




“The Principles of Fundamental Justice: What are they Anyway?”, Colton Fehr, Sessional Instructor and PhD Candidate

Colton Fehr, sessional instructor and PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta, will tell you how the vague sounding “principles of fundamental justice” in Section 7 of the Charter have been used by the courts to effect change with respect to controversial social policy issues, including the regulation of sex work, euthanasia, and abortion.

This event is free and open to the public.

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Carissima Mathen, Professor, University of Ottawa, Presenting “Courts Without Cases: The Law and Politics of Advisory Opinions”

Professor Carissima Mathen, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Courts usually decide cases: live disputes involving spirited, adversarial debate between opposing parties.  Sometimes, though, a court is asked to to answer questions in the absence of cases.  These proceedings are known as ‘references’ or advisory opinions.  References raise many important questions: about the judicial role, about the relationship between courts and those who seek their “advice”, and about the nature of law.  In her presentation, Professor Mathen will track the use of ‘references’,  and discuss how advisory opinions draw courts into the complex relationship between law and politics.

This event is free and open to the public.

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Richard Albert, Professor, University of Texas, Presenting “Constitutional Amendments: Making, Breaking, and Changing Constitutions”

Professor Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin

Virtually all constitutions codify amendment rules. The Constitution of Canada has some of the most innovative amendment rules of all. What makes the Canadian amendment formula unique in the world? Why has amendment been so rare since Patriation? And what does the amendment process in Canada suggest about the most important values in this country? In this talk, Professor Albert will explain why no part of any constitution is more important than the rules we use to change it and he will describe how amendment rules open a window into the soul of a constitution, exposing its deepest vulnerabilities and its greatest strengths.

This event is free and open to the public.

Download the poster here