Pending SCC Decision to Determine Expat Voting Rights

January 10, 2019

Partner Andrew Bernstein has told the Canadian Press a looming SCC decision that will affect the voting rights of long-term Canadian expats is interesting because it will determine whether legislatures get to impose a limit on citizens’ voting rights.

The SCC will hand down its decision in Frank v Canada on January 11. The case was brought on by two Canadian citizens who have lived in the United States for more than five years. They challenged the part of the Canadian Elections Act that said those who had lived abroad for more than five year lost their right to vote, despite the constitution saying they were entitled to.

Speaking with the Canadian Press in a story that was published in the National Post, and other mastheads, Andrew said all eyes would be on the SCC on Friday.

“What makes this case so interesting is that the Constitution sets no limits on citizen’s voting rights, so does that mean legislatures get to impose one?” he said.

“Do the reasons why someone has moved make a difference? How strict will the court be when the government seeks to justify an infringement?”

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