Legal fight against solitary confinement continues

TORONTO, Ont. – The legal fight against Canada’s solitary confinement laws continues today, with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) filing an appeal before Ontario’s highest court.

On December 18, 2017, Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco of the Ontario Superior Court released his decision, striking down Canada’s solitary confinement laws as unconstitutional. While CCLA welcomed the Court’s decision and its recognition of the devastating harms caused by the practice of solitary confinement, the CCLA remains concerned about the Court’s reluctance to impose more robust safeguards to prevent continued abuse.

Today, CCLA is appealing the decision of Associate Chief Justice Marrocco on several grounds, and it will argue that sections 31-37 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act violate section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because the confinement of inmates with mental illness and young inmates in administrative segregation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Michael Rosenberg of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, counsel to CCLA, explained that “Associate Chief Justice Marrocco’s condemnation of the practice of solitary confinement is a victory for all Canadians. However, CCLA will continue to fight until it obtains broader protections for vulnerable inmates, because fundamental freedoms are still at stake”.

CCLA is represented by counsel Jonathan Lisus, Larissa Moscu, and Fahad Siddiqui of Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP and Michael Rosenberg and Charlotte-Anne Malischewski of McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

Read CCLA’s factum before the Court of Appeal here.

Fighting freedoms for over fifty years, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is Canada’s leading national organization on civil liberties.

Caroline Hill
Communications Officer

Caroline Hill