OTTAWA: On Thursday, November 5, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada released the decision in Quebec (Attorney General) v 9147-0732 Quebec Inc., a case that asked whether corporations have a right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment in the form of high fines.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) was an intervenor in the case, and argued in favour of finding that corporations have a right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The CCF also argued that constitutional interpretation requires the court to examine both the text and context of a Charter right in order to determine its purpose.
While the court concluded that corporations are not within the scope of the Charter’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment, they did adopt the CCF’s textualist approach to constitutional interpretation.
“While the court did not ultimately grant corporations Charter protection against cruel and unusual punishment, this case is nevertheless a huge victory for the role of legislative text in Canadian constitutional law,” said CCF Executive Director Joanna Baron.
“The court agreed with our submissions that constitutional analysis must begin with the text. This is an affirmation of the arguments that we made before the Supreme Court, which is based on consistent precedent. The court’s adoption of a textualist approach will be helpful in guiding the court in a predictable and practical method of constitutional interpretation in future cases.”
For the original version of this release see here.