Who Is Worthy of Constitutional Protection? A Commentary on Ewert v Canada

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Indigenous prisoners, corrections, Charter, Ewert v Canada, constitutional protection


On June 13, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) ruled in Ewert v Canada [2018 SCC 30] that by assessing the risk level presented by Indigenous prisoners with tools verified only on non-Indigenous individuals, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) failed to meet their statutory duty under s. 24 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) to utilize only accurate information in their risk assessments. The Court stated that CSC has a duty to account for the systemic discrimination Indigenous people undergo in the criminal justice system, in general, and in prisons, in particular. However, the SCC found that, despite utilizing tools that may be discriminatory towards Indigenous individuals, there was no violation of Charter rights. This result perpetuates an ugly truth about Canada’s democracy: constitutional protection does not apply the same to everyone.