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Top Five 2002: Falkiner v Ontario

Each year at OJEN’s Toronto Summer Law Institute, a judge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario identifies five cases that are of significance in the educational setting. This summary, based on these comments and observations, is appropriate for discussion and debate in the classroom setting.

Falkiner v Ontario (2002), 59 OR (3d) 481 (CA)

In 1995, the government of Ontario changed the definition of the word “spouse” in legislation affecting the payment of income assistance benefits. The applicants argued that this new definition of spouse disadvantaged women and was thus a violation of the Charter’s equality guarantee.  The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed, concluding that this new definition unjustifiably discriminated against women on the basis of their marital status and sex. The full decision is available here.


Date Produced: 2002

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