The support of the Legal Defence Fund enables CCCC to intervene in legal cases that involve or affect our members. An intervener does not take sides, but rather shares an expert perspective to help the court understand the potential impact of its decision. Intervening allows CCCC to represent the interests of our members before the courts.
- The Aga case concerns the ability of a church to deal with internal theological disputes without fearing judicial review. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada after the Ontario Supreme Court ruled that membership constituted a legal contract with tithes being equated to “consideration.” CCCC was permitted to file a written submission, and to attend the (virtual) hearing of the case, which was held on December 8. We expect a decision sometime in 2021. Given the Supreme Court’s willingness to hear the case, and the probing questions asked during the hearing, it appears the Court is aware of the importance of religious autonomy in doctrinal matters.
- The BCM case involves the Canada Summer Jobs issue, in which the government required agreement with partisan values on sexuality and abortion in order to receive funding. Having advocated for Christian charities on this topic since the controversy began in 2018, the Legal Affairs team applied jointly to intervene in the case. Although CCCC’s application was not accepted by the Federal Court, one of our co-applicants has been granted leave to submit a written brief when the case is heard in 2021. We are pleased that our shared concerns will still be brought before the court, and we are hopeful that the outcome will affirm the right of Christian charities to operate in accordance with their faith.
- The Trinity Western University cases from 2014 to 2018 involved the Christian university's bid to open a law school. Three provincial law societies opposed the school based on its "Community Covenant Agreement" which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. CCCC intervened in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, and before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). Ultimately, the SCC upheld the decision of the law societies to deny accreditation.
- The Wall case (2018) involved judicial review of a church's decision on membership. The SCC recognized that the courts did not have jurisdiction to interfere in internal, theological church matters.
- In Loyola High School (2015), the Catholic school sought the freedom to teach Catholicism from a religious (rather than neutral) perspective. The court held that the school should be permitted to teach the provincial curriculum in accordance with its religious beliefs.