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Supreme Court Grants Leave in Monumental Mobility Rights Case

Updated: May 2

On Thursday, April 25, 2024, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal in Canadian Civil Liberties Association, et al. v. His Majesty the King in Right of Newfoundland and Labrador, et al., 2024 CanLII 35287 (SCC).

The issue before the Supreme Court of Canada will be whether Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the right under s. 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to move freely across provincial borders.

In May 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kimberly Taylor, a Canadian citizen and resident of Nova Scotia, was denied entry into Newfoundland and Labrador (“NL”) to attend her mother’s funeral.

The Chief Medical Officer of Heath of NL had issued a travel restriction pursuant to s. 28(1)(h) of the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act, which closed the borders of the province to all non-residents of the province, save those specifically exempted.

Ms. Taylor and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (the “CCLA”) challenged the constitutional validity of the travel restriction in an application to the Supreme Court of NL (General Division). The application judge dismissed the application. He found that the travel restrictions infringed Ms. Taylor’s mobility rights under s. 6 of the Charter, but that the province of NL had demonstrated under s. 1 of the Charter that the circumstances of the pandemic justified the infringement.

Pape Chaudhury LLP was retained by the CCLA as pro bono appellate counsel.

The Newfoundland Court of Appeal declined to hear the appeal on the basis that it was moot because the travel restrictions had been repealed.

Paul Pape appeared on CBC to discuss the case. Watch his interview here:


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