Font size:

Top Five 2003: Halpern v Canada

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.

Halpern v Canada (AG), 65 OR (3d) 161 (CA)

The Ontario Court of Appeal was asked to determine whether the exclusion of same-sex couples from the common law definition of marriage breached the equality guarantee in the Charter.  The Court found that the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage violated the dignity of persons in same-sex relationships, and thus violated the Charter.  The Court further held that that this violation of the equality guarantee was not justified, and therefore, the Court reformulated the common law definition of marriage as, “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others.” The full decision is available here.


Date Produced: 2003

Resource type

Grade level

Subject area

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep up-to-date with news from OJEN!

OJEN has cleaned its email list in accordance with CASL legislation. If you used to receive our publications, please enter your email address into the box below to check if you are still subscribed.

Your address was not found on our list.

You are already subscribed to OJEN’s newsletter, thank you.