Court Challenges Programme (CCP)
The objective of the Court Challenges Programme (the “CCP”) is to provide financial support to Canadians to bring test cases of national significance before the courts that aim to clarify and assert certain constitutional and quasi-constitutional official language rights and human rights.
The University of Ottawa is the independent organization that was selected by the government of Canada to be responsible for implementing and managing the new CCP. The Canadian Centre of the Court Challenges Program (the “CCCCP”) is the administrative unit integrated within the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ottawa created in 2018 by the University of Ottawa to administer the CCP.
Targeted rights of the CCP
The CCP will provide financial support to assert and clarify official language rights and human rights that are derived from the following:
- Official language rights protected by:
- sections 93 and 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867;
- section 23 of the Manitoba Act, 1870;
- sections 16 to 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”);
- any parallel constitutional provisions; and
- the linguistic aspect of freedom of expression in section 2 of the Charter when invoked in an official language minority case.
- Justiciable parts of the Official Languages Act, which include:
- certain sections of Part I (Proceedings of Parliament);
- certain sections of Part II (Legislative and Other Instruments);
- Part IV (Communications with and Services to the Public);
- Part V (Language of Work);
- Part VII (Advancement of English and French); and
- section 91 (Staffing).
- Human rights protected by the Charter under:
- section 2 (fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion, expression, assembly and association);
- section 3 (democratic rights);
- section 7 (life, liberty and the security of the person);
- section 15 (equality rights);
- section 27 (multiculturalism) – when raised in support of arguments based on equality rights; and
- section 28 (gender equality).
The CCP will provide funding in the following three areas:
- test case development;
- test case litigation; and
- legal interventions.
The decisions on granting funding will be made by two independent expert panels, the Official Language Rights Expert Panel and the Human Rights Expert Panel. Each panel will be comprised of seven members who will be appointed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The expert panels will establish the eligibility criteria and the application process and will have the exclusive responsibility to make funding decisions.
In order to support the management of the CCCCP, the University of Ottawa created a management committee who`s role is to define the CCCCP`s strategic orientation and ensure that the objectives of the CCP are met as defined in the contribution agreement between the University of Ottawa and the government of Canada. The members of the management committee are as follows:
- Jacques Frémont, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa – President of the committee
- Martine Lagacé, Full Professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Communication
- Pierre Foucher, Full Professor, Faculty of Law, Common Law
- Nicole Ouimette, Chief Administrative Officer, Faculty of Arts
- Jérémie Séror, Director of OLBI and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts – ex officio member
- Geneviève Boudreau, Director, CCCCP – ex officio member
- Richard Clément, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences – observer and resource person
The members of the management committee, with the exception of the Director of the CCCCP, do not have access to the files of the funding applicants received by the CCCCP in order to maintain neutrality and to not to interfere with the expert panels’ decision-making process.
The CCCCP will manage the active files of the former programs, meaning the cases that are still ongoing and were funded by the previous Court Challenges Program and the Language Rights Support Program. Once the CCCCP`s staff is in place, the beneficiaries of the active files of the former programs will receive instructions to ensure a smooth transition of their files to the new Program.
Information regarding the eligibility criteria and the funding application process will be available as soon as possible following the appointment of the members of the expert panels by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and of the panels’ first meetings. Thereafter, individuals or groups who wish to undertake a test case connected to the CCP’s targeted rights may apply for funding.
Visit the government of Canada web site to know more about the CCP and the appointment process of the members of the expert panels: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/court-challenges-program.html