The first 35 years of Charter jurisprudence has largely been devoted to defining the limits of Charter freedoms in relation to government action. That is to say, most cases have concerned claims that the government has infringed a Charter right. Thus, the Supreme Court has devoted much of its jurisprudence to defining the scope and content of rights largely (although not exclusively) in isolation from other values. In recent years, however, the Court has been confronted with cases in which two private parties make claims that bring different provisions of the Charter into conflict. Although the Court frequently attempts to “reconcile” competing rights, it seems clear that future cases will likely involve direct collisions. Using the Trinity Western cases as a starting point, this paper will explore the ways in which the Supreme Court might approach collisions of rights in future cases.
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