Sauvé v Canada (Chief Electoral Officer)

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Sauvé v Canada (Chief Electoral Officer)
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: December 10, 2001
Judgment: October 31, 2002
Full case name Richard Sauvé v The Attorney General of Canada, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada and the Solicitor General of Canada; Sheldon McCorrister, Chairman, Lloyd Knezacek, Vice Chairman, on their own behalf and on behalf of the Stony Mountain Institution Inmate Welfare Committee, and Clair Woodhouse, Chairman, Aaron Spence, Vice Chairman, and Serge Bélanger, Emile A. Bear and Randy Opoonechaw v. The Attorney General of Canada
Citations [2002] 3 S.C.R. 519; 2002 SCC 68
Prior history Appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Beverley McLachlin
Puisne Justices: Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, Charles Gonthier, Frank Iacobucci, John C. Major, Michel Bastarache, Ian Binnie, Louise Arbour, Louis LeBel
Reasons given
Majority McLachlin C.J. (paras. 1-64), joined by Iacobucci, Binnie, Arbour, and LeBel
Dissent Gonthier (paras. 65-208), joined by L’Heureux‑Dubé, Major and Bastarache

Sauvé v Canada (Chief Electoral Officer), [2002] 3 S.C.R. 519 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court held that prisoners have a right to vote under section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court overturned the prior decision of the Federal Court of Appeal and held that s. 51(e) of the old Canada Elections Act, which prohibited prisoners from voting, was unconstitutional. They made the law that any inmates serving more than 2 years in prison can not vote. Section 51(e) had been repealed before the date of the Court's judgment, but the decision applied equally to substantially the same provision found in s. 4(c) of the new Act. The Court decided that the provision violated section 3 of the Charter and could not be saved under section 1.

As a result of the decision, all adult citizens living in Canada are now able to vote, save the top two officials of Elections Canada.[1] As Parliament has not amended the Canada Elections Act to reflect the Court's decision, the provision is still part of the Act,[2] even though it is of no force or effect.

See also[edit]


  1. ^, "Voter Toolkit," Canada Votes 2006. URL accessed 23 January 2006.
  2. ^ Canada Elections Act, 2000, c. 9, Section 4 (c), [1]. Accessed 20 February 2007.

External links[edit]