The Bilateral Amending Formula as a Mechanism for the Entrenchment of Property Rights

Dwight Newman

Abstract


Moves are once again underway to seek to constitutionally entrench property rights, with discussion occurring on the idea in a variety of contexts. In early 2011, federal Member of Parliament (MP) Scott Reid and Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Randy Hillier announced their intention to introduce private member’s bills in their respective legislative assemblies that would entrench property rights.1 They proposed to do so via the legal mechanism of using the bilateral amending formula in s. 43 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which allows for a constitutional amendment "in relation to any provision that applies to one or more, but not all provinces" to be made by just the affected province(s) and Parliament.2 Thus, if both had been adopted, their bills would have entrenched property rights in Ontario through the addition of a new subsection in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although these particular bills were not introduced or adopted there is every reason to think that efforts to do so will continue.


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