Course description This course will introduce you to the jurisprudence, doctrines and literature that elaborate Canada's Constitution. Our twelve classes explore how the Constitution establishes the institutions of government, invests those institutions with power and dictates how that power may and may not be used.
In the first half of the course, you’ll explore the written constitution, unwritten constitutional principles, constitutional conventions, the separation of powers, the rule of law, Canadian federalism, and delegation. In the second half of the course, you’ll explore the division of legislative powers between Parliament and the provincial legislatures.
Readings are assigned for each class according to the schedule below. You must read the assigned materials before class and be prepared to discuss them in class.
Classes are interactive. You’ll be asked to participate actively to enhance learning. Class involves whole-class discussions, Socratic-style dialogues, small-group learning experiences, simulations, peer feedback, and visual demonstrations.
Course prerequisite Before the end of this course, you should review http://www.pointfirstwriting.com/.
The reason for this is that 5% of your final exam mark will depend on you putting your answer in the form of a legal memo. This means having the following sections in your response: (1) Memo heading; (2) Introduction; (3) Facts; (4) Issue statement; (5) Brief answer; (6) Discussion; (7) Conclusion; (8) Recommendation. If your exam is handwritten, your brief answer can be left until the end of your response.
Learning essentials During this course, you will learn about:
the structure and substance of Canada’s Constitution, excluding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
the literature expounding the Constitution, including case law, doctrine, and commentary;
techniques for identifying constitutional issues; and
methods of analysis which involve the Constitution in resolving legal problems.
General learning outcome By the conclusion of this course, you should be able to provide legal advice on a constitutional law fact pattern in the form of a legal memo.
Specific learning outcomes In order to do this, you should be able to:
recognize the constitutional issue(s)in a fact pattern;
identify which facts are legally relevant;
identify which legally relevant facts are missing;
identify all arguments relating to the issue(s) that a court may find persuasive;
analyze all arguments relating to the issue(s), applying the law to the facts;
advise your client about what a court is likely to decide concerning the issue(s), explaining why;
advise your client on what action(s) s/he might consider taking; and
communicate these specific learning outcomes in the form of a legal memo.
Administrivia Website Materials are onwww.tolgayalkin.com. Familiarize yourself with it and its contents.
Questions Follow me on twitter @tolgayalkin. If you have a question, tweet it to me. If you cannot condense it to 140 characters, email it to me. I’ll either tweet or blog my answer.
Class exercises We’ll do an exercise in every class. Come prepared to participate, discuss, and answer.
Evaluation Your final mark for this course depends 100% on your final examination.
You will have one final exam. It will be open book, three hours, and computerized or written.
If you choose to type your exam, you’ll have to pay a yearly licensing fee of $30. Academic Affairs will hold information and software download sessions for you. It’s your responsibility to follow up with them about these.
Exam times and locations can be found here: http://www.commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/academics-affairs/exams/exams.html
The exam will consist of:
2 fact patterns
5 short answer
You must answer both fact patterns. But, you only need to answer 4 of the 5 short answer questions.
Accordingly, each fact pattern is worth 35% of your final mark on the exam, and each short answer is worth 7.5% of your final mark on the exam.
Fact patterns test your ability to carry out the seven skills above; short answers test mastery of the materials studied.
NB: University regulation 9.0 on feedback prior to the drop period does not apply to this course because of the timing of the law school’s drop/add period early in the academic term.
Required materials Joseph Magnet, Constitutional Law of Canada (9th edition), Vol. I. (Edmonton:Juriliber, 2007) (“Text”).
Bring the Text to every class. If there are other materials required for a given class, bring them as well, in either electronic or hard copy.
Access & Equity Services If you require accommodations or academic support because of a physical or learning disability, or any condition that affects your ability to learn, register with the University’s Access Service:
You can meet with an Access Service specialist to identify your individual needs and to discuss appropriate strategies. All information you provide to Access Services and all accommodations received will remain strictly confidential.
For additional information about Access Services, you may contact Jessica Simon in Student Services at email@example.com or at 613.562.5800 x 8891.
Academic fraud Academic fraud is serious and is not tolerated. If you have not already done so, before you start this course, review the University’s Academic Integrity Web Site.
Introduction: Revision of the Basics
Three Branches of Government
Constitution Act, 1982
Constitution Act, 1867
Text: pp. 1–7
Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982
The Three Branches of Government: Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch, Executive Branch.
Adam Dodek, The Canadian Constitution (Toronto: Dundurn, 2013) – Chapter 3 (pages 119–125).
Beverley McLachlin, “Remarks of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C. Respecting Democratic Roles” Conference on the Law and Parliament (22 November 2004), online: Supreme Court of Canada .
Michael Dewing, William Young & Erin Tolley, “Municipalities, the Constitution, and the Canadian Federal System” Parliamentary Information and Research Service (May 2006) online: Library of Parliament .
Aileen Kavanagh, “The Idea of a Living Constitution” (2003) 16 Can JL & Juris 55 (HeinOnline).
Ian Binnie, “Charles Gonthier and the Unwritten Principles of the Canadian Constitution” A Symposium in honour of Charles D Gonthier (20 May 2011), online: Centre for International Sustainable Development Law .
Lorne Sossin& Adam M Dodek, “When Silence Isn’t Golden: Constitutional Conventions, Constitutional Culture, and the Governor General” in Peter Russell & Lorne Sossin, eds, Parliamentary Democracy in Crisis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009) 91.
Text: pp. 67–115
Reference re Secession of Quebec,  2 SCR 217 at paras 43-44, 55–60 (CanLII).
Reference re Senate Reform, 2014 SCC 32 at paras 15, 29-32 (CanLII).
Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, 2014 SCC 21 at paras 1-6, 46-62, 88-95 (CanLII).
Adam Dodek, The Canadian Constitution (Toronto: Dundurn, 2013) – Chapter 1 (pages 17–33).
Johanu Botha, “All you need to know about Canadian federalism” Spectator Tribune (16 April 2013), online: Spectator Tribune Media Company .
Wolfgang Koerner, “The Foundations of Canadian Federalism” Library of Parliament (December 1988), online: Government of Canada Publications .
Marc Chevrier, “Canadian federalism and the autonomy of Québec: A historical viewpoint” The Library (1996), online: Assemblée nationale du Québec .
Jean LeClair, “The Supreme Court of Canada’s Understanding of Federalism: Efficiency at the Expense of Diversity” (2003) 28 Queen’s LJ 410 .
Peter Hogg & Wade Wright, “Canadian Federalism, the Privy Council and the Supreme Court: Reflections on the Debate About Canadian Federalism” (2005) 38 UBC L Rev 329 (HeinOnline).
Roderick A Macdonald & Steven Szilagyi, “Constitutional Hockey: Canadiens and Habitants in the Imaginaire of Quebec” (2005) 38 UBC L Rev 451 .
Marc-Antoine Adam, “The Spending Power, Co-operative Federalism and Section 94” (2008) 34 Queen’s LJ 175 (HeinOnline).
Doug Brown, “Cooperative versus Competitive Federalism: Outcomes and Consequences of Intergovernmental Relations on Climate Change Issues in Canada” (2012) 32 ZKS 1.
Text: pp. 116–138
Peter W Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, 2013 Student Edition (Toronto: Carswell, 2013)on “Delegation”
Coughlin v The Ontario Highway Transport Board,  SCR 569p 573–576(CanLII).
Margaret Fairweather, “The Attitude of the Supreme Court of Canada toward Delegation: Coughlin v Ontario’s Highway Transport Board” (1970) 5 U Brit Colum L Rev 43 (HeinOnline).
Elizabeth Weir, “Delegated Legislation: The Weak Link of Parliamentary Accountability?” (1997) 20 Can Parl Rev 2 .
Michael Taggart, “From Parliamentary Powers to Privatization: the Chequered History of Delegated Legislation in the Twentieth Century” (2005) 55 UTLJ 575 (HeinOnline).
The Rule of Law
Authority of government officials
Separation of powers
Judicial review of laws: s. 52(1)
Reading in and down
Judicial review of official acts: s. 24(2)
Text: pp. 155–226; Secession Reference: pp. 35–37 (paras 70–78).
British Columbia (AG) v Christie, 2007 SCC 21 at paras 18–28 (CanLII).
Corbière v Canada (Min Indian and Northern Affairs),  2 SCR 203 at paras 106–126 (CanLII).
Canada v Hislop, 2007 SCC 10at paras 78–164 (CanLII).
R v Ferguson, 2008 SCC 6 at paras 33–75 (CanLII).
GVTA v Can Fed of Students, 2009 SCC 31 at paras 81–90(CanLII).
Joseph Raz, “The Rule of Law and Its Virtue” (1977) 93 LQR 195 (BlackBoard).
Peter Hogg & Cara Zwibel, “The Rule of Law in the Supreme Court of Canada” (2005) 55 UTLJ 715 (HeinOnline).
Sir Anthony Mason, “Judicial Independence and the Separation of Powers – Some Problems Old and New” (1990) 24 UBC L Rev 345 (HeinOnline).
Luc Tremblay, “Legitimacy of Judicial Review: Special or General?” (2002) 21 Windsor YB Access Just 505 (BlackBoard).
Pith and substance
Ancillary powers doctrine
Double aspect theory
Text: pp. 275–324
Reference re Securities Act, 2011 SCC 66 at paras 63–67 (CanLII).
Gregoire Webber, “The Ancillary Power Doctrine: An Analogy with Section 1 of the Charter” (2002) 36 RJT 121 (HeinOnline).
W Lederman, “The Concurrent Operation of Federal and Provincial Laws in Canada” (1963) 9 McGill LJ 185 .
Text: pp. 324–343; 353–387
Quebec (AG) v Canada (HRSD), 2011 SCC 60 at paras 17–34 (CanLII).
Quebec (Attorney General) v Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, 2010 SCC 39 at paras 25–61, 79–93 (CanLII).
Canada (Attorney General) v PHS Community Services Society, 2011 SCC 44 at paras 57–73 (CanLII).
Quebec (AG) v Lacombe, 2010 SCC 38,  2 SCR 453 (CanLII). [judgment issued concurrently with Canadian Owners and Pilots Association]
McKay v The Queen,  SCR 798 (CanLII).
Eric Colvin, “Legal Theory and the Paramountcy Rule” (1979) 25 McGill LJ 82 .