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Ontario did not violate Constitution by downsizing wards during Toronto’s 2018 municipal election

October 01, 2021

The Lawyers Daily talks to Geetha Philipupillai about the Supreme Court’s split decision in the Bill 5 municipal election challenge

On September 30, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the Ford government did not violate the Charter of Rights or the unwritten constitutional principle of democracy when it slashed the number of Toronto wards from 47 to 25 in the middle of the 2018 municipal election.

You can read about the background to the case here.

The Lawyers Daily spoke to Geetha Philipupillai about the Supreme Court’s decision:

Geetha Philipupillai of Toronto’s Goldblatt Partners LLP, co-counsel for the intervener Canadian Civil Liberties Association with Steven Barrett and Simon Archer, said the question of whether a claim is a positive or negative rights claim divided the courts below, “and it is significant that the Supreme Court is also seriously divided on this issue.”

Philipupillai, whose client intervened in support of the City, added “Justice Abella’s dissent, and her foregrounding of the role the Charter should play in protecting fair elections, healthy democracy and reciprocal political discourse, is a very compelling and perceptive set of reasons which may very well have a more significant impact on jurisprudence and policy-making in the long run, as compared to the majority’s reasons.”


Geetha Philipupillai

Practice Areas

Constitutional Law