UPDATE FEBRUARY 2017
The Court Challenges Program Board is pleased with today's announcement that the Program will be reinstated. We do not know all of the related details yet, but we are doing our best to assist the Ministries in launching the new and revised Program. For some initial details on the reinstatement, please see below:
Les hyperliens à notre site Web ont été rétabli. / The hyperlinks to our website have been refreshed.
Le gouvernement du Canada a annoncé aujourd'hui, en ce 7 février 2017, le rétablissement et la modernisation du Programme de contestation judiciaire (PCJ). Le PCJ combinera l'ancien programme et le Programme d'appui aux droits linguistiques avec et adoptera une approche plus rationalisée. Le Programme permettra de fournir un soutien financier aux Canadiens afin qu'ils aient accès aux tribunaux pour des causes types d'importance nationale et permettra ainsi de préciser et faire valoir certains droits constitutionnels et quasi constitutionnels en matière de langues officielles et de droits de la personne au Canada.
Le PCJ modernisé couvrira un éventail élargi de droits, assurant ainsi que la portée du Programme reflète les changements sociétaux et démographiques, ainsi que l'évolution de la jurisprudence en matière de droits. À la lumière de ce qui précède, nous avons élargi les motifs de contestation fondée sur la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés pour y inclure les libertés fondamentales, les droits démocratiques et les droits à la vie, à la liberté et à la sécurité de la personne. Nous avons également élargi le volet des droits en matière de langues officielles du Programme en y ajoutant d'importants droits linguistiques garantis en vertu de la Loi sur les langues officielles.
Le PCJ sera mis en œuvre et géré par un organisme indépendant et deux comités d'experts prendront les décisions en matière de financement. Un appel de proposition afin de sélectionner l'organisme indépendant qui sera responsable de la mise en œuvre et de l'administration du PCJ a été lancé aujourd'hui sur notre site Web au http://canada.pch.gc.ca/fra/1485456316557/1486417407163 .
Nous prévoyons que la structure du Programme sera en place d'ici l'automne 2017 et que l'organisme indépendant sera prêt à recevoir les demandes de financement à ce moment-là.
Vous pouvez trouver plus d'information sur le Programme sur notre site Web au http://canada.pch.gc.ca/fra/1485454544282/1485789535473 .
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Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, mes salutations distinguées.
The Government of Canada announced today, February 7, 2017, the reinstatement and modernization of the Court Challenges Program (CCP). The CCP will combine the former Program and the Language Rights Support Program with a more streamlined approach. The Program will provide financial support to Canadians to access the courts for the litigation of precedent-setting test cases of national significance that help clarify certain constitutional and quasi-constitutional official language rights and human rights in Canada.
The modernized CCP will cover a broadened scope of rights, thereby ensuring that the Program's scope reflects societal and demographic changes, as well as the evolution of rights jurisprudence. In light of this, we have now expanded the grounds for Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenges to include fundamental freedoms, democratic rights, and rights with respect to life, liberty and security of the person. We have also expanded the official-language rights component of the Program by adding important language rights guaranteed under the Official Languages Act.
The CCP will be implemented and managed by an independent organization and two expert panels will render test case funding decisions. A Call for Proposals was launched today, on our website at http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1485456316557/1486417407163 , to select the independent organization who will implement and administer the CCP.
We are expecting that, by fall 2017, the Program's governance structure will be in place and the independent organization will begin to accept applications for funding.
You can find more information on the Program on our website at http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1485454544282/1485789535473 .
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UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2016
Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights September 2016:
UPDATE JULY 2016
From: Moisan, Jérôme (PCH) <email@example.com>
Date: 2016-07-05 8:10 GMT-06:00
Subject: Suivi aux consultations - Programme de contestation judiciaire // Follow-up to Consultations - Court Challenges Program
To: "Consultation PCJ / CCP Consultation (PCH)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Je tiens à vous remercier une fois de plus d’avoir participé aux consultations menées par le ministère du Patrimoine canadien et le ministère de la Justice en vue du rétablissement et de la modernisation du Programme de contestation judiciaire. Les discussions ont été des plus intéressantes et les perspectives présentées par les participants ont contribué de façon significative à éclairer nos réflexions et à alimenter le processus d’analyse.
Un rapport résumant les principales conclusions du processus de consultation sera publié au courant de l’été. Nous nous assurerons de vous le partager dès qu’il sera disponible.
En ce qui concerne le processus de rétablissement du programme, l’analyse des différentes options possibles pour la modernisation du programme est toujours en cours. Nous prévoyons être en mesure de vous donner des informations plus détaillées au cours de l’automne 2016.
Je vous remercie encore une fois de votre intérêt pour cette initiative importante.
I would like to thank you once again for having participated in the consultation process led by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Department of Justice, on the reinstatement and modernization of the Court Challenges Program. The discussions held were highly informative and the perspectives presented by participants have significantly informed and contributed to our analysis.
A report summarizing key findings from the consultation process is expected to be published this summer. Once it is available, we will be sure to share it with you.
With regards to the reinstatement process, analysis of the various options for a modernized program is on-going. It is expected that we will be in a position to provide you with additional information later this fall.
Once again, thank you for your engagement in this important initiative.
Direction générale, Politique, Planification et Recherche stratégiques / Strategic Policy, Planning, and Research
UPDATE MAY 2016: RENEWAL OF THE CCP:
CANADIAN HERITAGE AND THE CCPC APRIL 2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
We are pleased to report that from February to April 2016 the CCPC continued its ongoing communications and discussions with our stakeholders and with Canadian Heritage. These proved fruitful and resulted in the scheduling of an in-person Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Ottawa on April 15-17, the CCP 's first in-person meeting since 2009.
The response from the CCPC membership to this announcement was both enthusiastic and heartening. CCPC renewal and new membership applications flowed in and continue to do so. Despite the short notice, more than forty (40) representatives of CCPC member groups, both Equality and Language, reorganized their busy schedules to attend and participate in the AGM.
With Board, Panel staff members and facilitator, Martha Jackman, another nineteen (19) people participated in the AGM.
Most of Saturday was spent consulting with the membership and hearing their proposals for the renewal, the modernization and the future of the program.
On Sunday, April 17, Canadian Heritage representatives conducted three separate consultation sessions with members of the Board and both the Language and Equality Rights panels. They also consulted with former CCPC legal staff from the Language Rights Panel (Me. Sylvie Leger and Me. Renald Remillard) whose input was invaluable.
Heritage announced the extension of its deadline for submitting responses to its questionnaire/survey on the CCPC to ascertain the maximum number of participants. It also advised of its intent to contact and consult with other stakeholders who had been unable to participate in the AGM or the Sunday 's consultations.
Jerome Director General, Strategic Policy, Planning and Research Branch Department of Canadian Heritage, expressed his expectation that Heritage would complete its consultation process and be in a position to submit its findings to the Federal Government sometime at the end of May/beginning of June 2016. He assured the CCPC that the government fully expected to have the new CCPC in full operation by January 2017. He pointed out the federal budget undertakings of March 22, 2016 to the CCPC to reiterate the government 's firm commitment to the reinstatement of the program.
JUSTICE: THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Both the Ministers of Canadian Heritage and of the Department of Justice have a shared mandate from the Prime Minister to affect the renewal and modernization of the CCPC.
The Justice Standing Committee, chaired by Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, commenced its hearings into this matter on March 8, 2016 and concluded these on May 19, 2016.
The CCPC, through its membership, current and former staff, panel and board members, was well-represented among the witnesses called to testify before the Justice Standing Committee. Some among these presenting were:
Federation des communautes francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA): (Sylviane Lanthier, Audrey LaBrie)
Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN): (Sylvia Martin-Laforge, Marlene Jennings)
Noel Badiou: former CCPC Executive Director
Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF): (Diane O 'Reggio, Dr. Elizabeth Shilton)
African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC): (Margaret Parsons)
Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD): (John Rae, Anne Levesque)
Canadian Bar Association: (Sarah Lugtig, Chair, Access to Justice Committee)
Kathleen Tansey (Language Rights Panel chair) and Frank Verrillo, both current CCPC Board members
EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust: (R. Douglas Elliott)
DisAbled Women 's Network (DAWN): (Carmela Hutchison)
Social Rights Advocacy Centre: (Bruce Porter)
Charter Committee on Poverty Issues: (Bonnie Morton)
Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic: (Avvy Go)
Canada Without Poverty: (Michele Biss, Harriet McLachlan)
All of the above witnesses, regardless of their varying visions and recommendations for the restoration and modernization of the program, were of one voice in their praise of the CCPC and of the essential and unique role it has played in defending Human Rights and in obtaining Access to Justice in Canada.
Should you wish to read the entire transcripts of the committee hearings go to:http://www.parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/JUST/Meetings?parl=42&session=1
The Justice standing committee will also be making its findings known to the government.
We will update you further when we have more information. Our new principal contact person for all inquiries is Ken Oh, and he can be reached by phone at 204-942-0022 (or toll free at 1-866-942-0022), or by email at email@example.com.
February 2016 - President’s Report on Recent Developments affecting the Court Challenges Program of Canada (CCPC)
The Action Plan:
Prior to the federal election of October 19, 2015, the Board sent letters to all party leaders asking for their support in full restoration of the Program.
Following the election of the liberal majority government, and based on the Liberal Party’s commitment to re-establish the CCPC in its entirety as part of their election platform, the Board of Directors met on November 9th to formulate and approve an Action plan to completely restore and finance the Program (CCPC).
This Action plan, now underway, consists of the following steps:
Actions Taken to Date:
On November 4, 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau named his cabinet. On November 9, 2015, the CCPC Board of Directors sent letters of congratulations to the new minister of Canadian Heritage Joly as well as to the new Minister of Justice Wilson-Raybould requesting meetings with each of them to discuss the reinstatement of the Program (CCPC).
These letters and indeed, all written communication during the letter writing campaign were conducted in both official languages of Canada. During the last week of November and the first week of December, the Board then followed up with emails and telephone calls to the two cabinet ministers respectively.
On November 9, as part of the Action Plan, the Board also determined to consult with the Language Rights and Equality Rights Panels to gather their ideas and suggestions as to the restoration of the Program (CCPC). As a result, the Chair of the Board and Board representatives for Equality and Language Rights, consulted with the Panels separately – meeting with the Equality Rights Panel on November 20 and with the Language Rights Panel on November 30, 2015.
In addition, the Board sent a letter to our contact within the Department of Canadian Heritage requesting approval and financing for an in-person meeting of the Board, the Equality Rights and Language Rights Panels, and of our members groups at the beginning of 2016 in Ottawa. In December the Board received encouraging news that, in fact, Canadian Heritage would work with us to approve and finance an in-person meeting.
In January 2016, the Chair of the Board along with Board representatives for Equality Rights and Language Rights held a teleconference with representatives of the Program’s current member groups. This meeting was well-attended and supportive of the restoration of the Program.
Of special note, various Panel and Board members are currently working on fact sheets regarding important cases and decisions that have impacted equality and language rights as a result of involvement and funding from the Court Challenges Program of Canada. This was a suggestion put forward by Lorena Fontaine, a member of the Equality Rights Panel. Currently Lorena is working on a fact sheet pertaining to the rights of indigenous peoples of Canada. Anne Levesque, a Board member representing Equality Rights groups, is developing a fact sheet on disability rights. Other fact sheets in process will pertain to language rights and women’s rights.
This is a critical point in our history. Your contributions and assistance in our efforts to reestablish the Court Challenges Program are most welcome and appreciated. Your continued support and work on behalf of the Program benefits all Canadians and helps protect our rights under the Charter. Thank you so much.