Supreme court to decide on challenge to refusal to waive fees for poor people applying for refugee appeal

The Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC) have their fingers crossed for the Supreme Court to announce that it has done the right thing on Thursday November 3rd by agreeing to hear Nell Toussaint's appeal on the rights of poor people to access to justice and freedom from discrimination. This would be the first time the Court considers the critical issues of whether poverty is an analogous ground of discrimination and whether the constitutional principle of the rule of law/access to justice applies when poor people are denied access to administrative procedures in which fundamental rights are at stake. Many previous leave applications have been denied.

The Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI) intervened in the case at the Federal Court and at the Federal Court of Appeal. See Bonnie Morton's affidavit in support of Nell's application for leave to appeal at http://www.socialrights.ca/litigation/toussaint/H&C%20Appeal/CCPI%20Affidavit%20June%2022.pdf

The key documents and a case description are on the SRAC website, on the page http://www.socialrights.ca/pages/toussainth&c.htm

If they are denied leave, they will likely proceed to the UN Human Rights Committee (and the Women's Court of Canada). People living in poverty have waited too long for a hearing

Here's to Nell Toussaint, who as an undocumented migrant, a racialized woman with a serious disability, has braved deportation threats prior to every hearing, as well as vicious commentary, in response to media coverage.

Nell has also applied for leave to appeal to the SCC in another case, in which the Federal Court of Appeal found that the Federal Government had violated her right to life by refusing access to the Interim Federal Health Benefits program, and putting her life at serious risk - but that it is in accordance with principles of fundamental justice in Canada to deny access to healthcare on the basis of illegal immigration status! The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights has indicated that they will consider intervening in that case if it is granted leave, given the serious implications for Canada's compliance with international human rights. That case is described at http://www.socialrights.ca/index.html#toussaint-healthcare