Dalhousie Law Journal


Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, prison, regulation, senior, rights, vulnerability


This article builds the case for expanding s. 7 of the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms to apply to prison regulations and decisions in the specific context of an aging prison population. As original empirical data shows, prisons are highly insensitive to age-related problems, and inappropriate or insufficient medical treatment receives official sanction from a wide range of correctional documents. The stark inadequacies of the current system endanger older prisoners' security of the person, and sometimes their lives, in ways that violate their rights under s. 7, since the deprivations they suffer result from legislative policies and state conduct that are by turn arbitrary, overbroad, and grossly disproportionate. While s. 7 has not been used to review such administrative documents or actions before, such a review is both feasible and highlydesirable given the current lack of substantial access to justice by prisoners, their heightened vulnerability, and the evolution of the section 7jurisprudence.