Eldridge v. British Columbia (Attorney General): How the Deaf Were Heard in the Supreme Court of Canada

Document Type

Journal Article/Book Review

Publication Date



Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 15, Enumerated Grounds, Mental and Physical Disability, Equality Rights, Supreme Court of Canada, Eldridge v BC, Case Comment


In the process leading up to the adoption of the Charter in 1982 there was an intense, and ultimately successful, lobby to have mental and physical disability added to the enumerated grounds of the section 15 equality provision.' Fifteen years later the Supreme Court of Canada had an opportunity to determine whether that apparent success in having disability acknowledged as an equality issue had any ultimate meaning. In one of his last decisions as a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice La Forest wrote the unanimous opinion of the Court in Eldridge 11• British Columbia (A11orney General/ giving an affirmative answer. Nonetheless, in my view, the resulting optimism for those committed to equality for persons with disabilities should, at best, be guarded.


Case comment on Eldridge v British Columbia (Attorney General), [1997] 3 SCR 624, 1997 CanLII 327 (SCC). Available in print only.