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Supreme Court of Canada unanimously grants public interest standing to CCD

Date Closed

June 23, 2022

Lead Office


On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court of Canada, in a unanimous judgment, ruled that Council of Canadians with Disabilities ("CCD") has public interest standing and confirmed that an individual co-plaintiff is not needed to establish standing.

CCD is challenging British Columbia’s laws regarding involuntary psychiatric treatment as B.C. is the only place in Canada where patients with involuntary status, including fully competent patients, are “deemed” to consent to all forms of psychiatric treatment, without safeguards.

From 2019 to 2022, CCD's case was delayed while the Attorney General argued that CCD lacked standing to litigate. The Attorney General argued that CCD needed to sue with an individual with present or former involuntary status.

This ruling will control who can challenge discriminatory and other unconstitutional laws in court. Additionally, it sets out a clear framework for allowing others, including particularly public interest groups, to bring challenges, and emphasizes that such challenges can proceed even if no affected individual is willing to sue.

CCD, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an accessible and inclusive Canada.

McCarthy Tétrault acted as pro bono counsel to the CCD with a team including Michael Feder, Katherine Booth, Connor Bildfell and Kirsten Marsh (Litigation). 

We have some of the brightest legal minds in Canada at McCarthy Tétrault. Putting that expertise to work in pro bono matters allows us to do what we do best for the individuals and communities that need it most.