December 20th, 2017
On December 18, 2017, in a victory for civil liberties, Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco of the Ontario Superior Court struck down Canada’s solitary confinement laws as unconstitutional. The Court declared that the current regime’s lack of any independent review of decisions to keep inmates in confinement is unconstitutional, and made important findings regarding the harms caused by keeping inmates in confinement. Indeed, the Court recognized that in light of the voluminous evidence before the Court, there can be “no serious question the practice is harmful” and “quite capable of producing serious permanent observable negative mental health effects” that “can manifest in as little as 48 hours”.
The constitutional challenge to Canada’s solitary confinement laws was launched by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in early 2015. Lawyers for the CCLA were Jonathan Lisus, Larissa Moscu and Fahad Siddiqui of LOLG, with co-counsel from McCarthy Tetrault. A copy of the decision can be found here: Corp of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association v HMQ 121117