Sauvé v. Canada (Attorney General) [1993] 2 S.C.R. 438: Right to vote -- Prisoners -- Canada Elections Act provision disqualifying prisoners from voting unconstitutional

Present: Lamer C.J. and La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major JJ.

ON APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEAL FOR ONTARIO
ON APPEAL FROM THE FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Right to vote -- Prisoners -- Canada Elections Act provision disqualifying prisoners from voting unconstitutional -- Canada Elections Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. E-2, s. 51(e) -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 1, 3.

IACOBUCCI J. -- We are all of the view that these appeals should be dismissed.

The Attorney General of Canada has properly conceded that s. 51(e) of the Canada Elections Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. E-2, contravenes s. 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms but submits that s. 51(e) is saved under s. 1 of the Charter. We do not agree. In our view, s. 51(e) is drawn too broadly and fails to meet the proportionality test, particularly the minimal impairment component of the test, as expressed in the s. 1 jurisprudence of the Court.

Accordingly, the first constitutional question is answered in the affirmative and the second constitutional question is answered in the negative.

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