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Landmark Case: Equality Rights and Access to Health Care – Auton v. British Columbia (Attorney General)

Each OJEN Landmark Case includes a case summary, classroom discussion questions and worksheets that encourage students to explore both the legal and societal importance of the case.

The parents of several autistic children brought an action against the British Columbia government for failing to fund a form of treatment for autistic children. They argued that in not providing funding, the government had violated the equality rights of their children as guaranteed by s. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously held that the denial of funding for such a treatment did not infringe the children’s equality rights. The court ruled that the the Health Act only guarantees funding for core services, of which the particular autism treatment was not one. The full decision is available here.

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