Human Rights

Our Legal Action

CCD advances disability rights through our involvement in equality rights cases at all levels of court. When a case has the potential to change the law to reduce discrimination against people with disabilities, we consider whether we have the resources to become involved. CCD is only able to take on cases that will have the greatest impact on disability rights in Canada.

CCD has participated in many important cases that have helped establish disability rights in Canada. 

Below please find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our litigation and work in the courts.

Litigation FAQs

How does CCD choose a case?

CCD understands that there are many cases that are important to the promotion of disability rights. However, as a non-profit organization with limited capacity, we are not able to take on all cases. We try to choose a case that will have a broad and significant impact on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Who chooses the cases?

The cases are selected by our Disability Justice Litigation Initiative, which is made up of human rights lawyers and people with lived disability experience.

What kind of litigation does CCD do?

CCD’s litigation focuses on the human rights of persons with disabilities. It uses both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights legislation to support its litigation. It chooses cases that are likely to make big changes to laws, policies and systems. There are two ways we get involved in cases: interventions and test case litigation.

What is an intervenor/intervention?

Sometimes the court allows an organization to participate in a case as an intervenor or friend of the court which is called an intervention. As an intervenor, CCD attempts to provide a disability rights perspective on the case. It does not represent the plaintiff or defendant. Our purpose is to be of help to the court in deciding the case.

What is a test case?

A test case usually involves an important issue that CCD believes should be decided by the court. CCD will either take the issue forward on its own or look for a plaintiff to bring the case forward. Test cases are very expensive, take a long time to resolve and may not always get a good result. As a result, most of CCD’s litigation is done as an intervener.

Can CCD represent me in my case?

CCD is not a legal clinic and cannot provide direct services to the public. Nor can it provide legal advice to individuals. CCD only takes on cases that will have a significant impact on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Which Canadian human rights laws protect equality rights?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) protects the equality rights of Canadians with disabilities. The Charter forms part of our Constitution – the highest law in all of Canada.  The Government of Canada describes the Charter as “a powerful force for progress, protection, and fairness with the power to influence our society by interpreting laws and policies.”

Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. 
Section 15, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Human rights legislation, including the Canadian Human Rights Act and provincial and territorial legislation also protect Canadians with disabilities from discrimination in matters related to employment and the provision of goods, services, facilities and accommodation.

Where can I learn more about disability rights?

Empower U is online training created by Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities to help people disabilities take effective action to ensure that their human rights are respected. CCD collaborated on a larger project that developed the Disability Rights Online website.