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On May 11, 2020, CCLA sent a letter to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador stating our position that Bill 38 was unconstitutional for a number of reasons. We asked that they review the new measures put in place and offered our assistance in the process. The government eventually replied, dismissing our concerns.

On My 20, 2020, CCLA partnered with Kim to take the Newfoundland government to the province’s Supreme Court over the travel ban and the restrictive measures in Bill 38.

CCLA asked the Court to declare Bill 38 in violation of s. 6 (mobility rights), as well as other Charter rights because it allows for various investigative steps including detention and removal of individuals from the province without due process. We argued that the law cannot be saved by s. 1, which says that limits on rights must be reasonable and demonstrably justified, but the restrictions on rights in this case are not. CCLA also asked that the travel ban be rescinded.

The province’s Supreme Court rendered a decision in September of 2020 and while the Court found that the travel ban violated the section 6 Charter right to mobility, it found it could be justified under section 1. CCLA pursued this case before the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal first considered whether it should hear the appeal since the ban is no longer in place. However, all parties in the case urged the Court to hear and decide the appeal on its merits despite it being technically moot, since the case raises important issues about the status of the law in Newfoundland. The case raises novel questions about the scope of mobility rights in Canada and the extent to which government can limit Canadians’ rights to move freely around the country.

On August 14th, the Court of Appeal for Newfoundland handed down its decision on the issue of mootness – finding that the issues in the case were moot because there was “no longer a live controversy” for the Court to resolve.

About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

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Tashi Alford-Duguid

Tashi is CCLA's itinerant staff lawyer, supporting work in each of its advocacy programs. Tashi comes to CCLA with a diverse background in law and policy. His experience includes strategic litigation in South Africa, housing and justice policy in Yukon, and legislative development across Canada. Before joining CCLA, Tashi received a Master's Degree in Philosophy from the University of Toronto and a Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.

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