Document Type

Journal Article/Book Review

Publication Date



Legislative Silence, Canada, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Supreme Court of Canada


On first impression, the title of the Simon and Garfunkle hit classic hit "The Sounds of Silence" may seem like an oxymoron. But it does not take too much reflection to realize that silence can indeed be very expressive and therefore quite telling. While that can be true in any number of contexts, for the specific purpose of this article, I will examine only one: legislative silence. What is the legal significance of the legislature declining to speak on one particular aspect of a legal issue otherwise addressed in the legislation? More specifically, can the Charter be engaged to challenge what the legislature has not said?