Government decisions that give rise to a health risk to the public at large may have a very real impact on the right to life, liberty and security of the person of individuals and the public at large. Surprisingly, there has been comparatively little litigation examining whether s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms places limits on the ability of government that create or authorize such health risks. After a review of the relevant Canadian court decisions, decisions from other jurisdictions with similar constitutional provisions and relevant international instruments, the author concludes that the scope of s. 7 does extend to protecting members of the public against government decisions that create a serious public health risk.
Public Health Hazards and Section 7 of the Charter
January 1, 2004