TORONTO – A constitutional challenge to Canada’s segregation laws scheduled to be heard in September should be put on ice in light of proposed legislation and policy changes that will address the issues raised, the federal government argued on Thursday.
In seeking the adjournment in Ontario Superior Court, a government lawyer insisted the courts should defer to Parliament and allow the legislative process to proceed.
“Parliament is now considering improvements to the statutory framework,” lawyer Peter Southey told Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco. “The attorney general asks you to adjourn this application, while parliament carries out its legislative responsibilities.”
At issue is the practice known as administrative segregation that civil liberties groups, who opposed the adjournment request, argue can amount to indefinite solitary confinement. The isolation is frequently used to manage difficult inmates, especially those whose safety may be at risk in the general population.
Two years ago, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and