Supreme Court of Canada guarantees voting rights for expats — CBC News

Colin Feasby

Jan 11, 2019

Colin Feasby, Managing Partner of Osler’s Calgary office, tells CBC News that the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling that assures voting rights for expats makes a key statement that “every citizen counts.” In her article, author Kathleen Harris explains the decision in which the majority of justices ruled that voting is fundamental to democracy and is a political right. Colin, legal counsel for the Canadian Expat Association which intervened in the case, explains the implications.

“The majority explained that we live in a community defined by citizenship, not residency and that Canadians who live abroad are just as Canadian as those who live in Canada," Colin tells CBC News.

"The majority also rejected the philosophical 'social contract' argument advanced by the attorney general to limit voting rights and made it clear that a compelling justification presumably supported by evidence will be required to limit important charter rights in the future."

The article also explains the background and context for the decision, including how previous legislation enacted in 1993 “barred non-residents from voting if they lived outside the country for more than five years.”

For more information, read author Kathleen Harris’s article “Supreme Court of Canada guarantees voting rights for expats” in CBC News.