For graduate students, the course number is LAW7722HF.

Course Location: Please see the "Intensive Course Schedule" under Schedules and Timetables

Note: Students may enroll in an intensive course that conflicts with a regular course as an exception to the general rule that students may not take courses which conflict on the timetable. Attendance at intensive courses is mandatory for the duration of the course and takes precedence over regular courses.

From the skeletal regime of language rights in the 1867 Constitution, through legislative changes resulting from the work of the Bilingualism and Biculturalism Commission in the 1960s, to the further entrenchment and expansion of language and cultural rights in the Charter, Canada’s legal history has been marked by linguistic and cultural pluralism. But how well do we understand the principles that have been invoked to justify this? And is the work of reflecting Canada’s linguistic diversity done?

The Supreme Court has said that, ‘language rights are a particular kind of right, distinct from the principles of fundamental justice.’ (R. v Beaulac [1999]) But in what ways? Do they not aim to secure interests that are matters of justice? Are they in some sense ‘group rights’ rather than individual rights? Are they sensitive to numbers of claimants, or to broad considerations of public policy—features that, according to some, have little place in fundamental rights? Or are protections for linguistic and cultural difference not matters of principle at all, but only a temporary and contingent compromise among conflicting political forces? Is there a justification for confining constitutional protections to French and English, or should we do more? Which languages might be considered eligible for inclusion as official languages? What should Canada’s language policy for the 21st century be?

Canada’s sesquicentennial year is an occasion for reviewing these central themes in our legal and political history, and imaging the future.

Students will be required to write a paper of 2500 to 3000 words. Papers must be delivered to the Records Office by 4:00 p.m. on November 23, 2016.

At a Glance

First Term



15 JD


Monday, October 24, 2016: 10:30 - 12:20
Tuesday, October 25, 2016: 2:10 - 4:00
Wednesday, October 26, 2016: 8:50 - 10:20
Thursday, October 27, 2016: 2:10 - 4:00
Friday, October 28, 2016: 10:00 - 11:50
Monday, October 31, 2016: 8:50 - 10:20
Tuesday, November 1, 2016: 4:10 - 6:00
Wednesday, November 2, 2016: 10:30 - 12:20