Emerging Issues in Canadian Public Law–Ottawa, ON

University of Ottawa

The Public Law Group of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law presents its fifth annual Conference on Emerging Issues in Canadian Public Law on May 22, 2015. Proposals were due Dec. 1, 2014.

We have chosen two specific themes for the conference. Both themes fit into the Public Law Group’s broader focus in 2014-2015: celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and reflecting on the current state of the rule of law in Canada.


The Snowden Affair highlights that intelligence agencies such as the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA), Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSEC), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK appear to regularly access our telecommunications, sometimes with the cooperation of the private sector. Police also routinely request telecommunications companies, internet service providers (ISPs) and online service providers (OSPs) to disclose private subscriber information. We invite panelists to present papers related to this general area, including but not limited to the following areas:

· The likelihood of establishing effective oversight systems for state collection of such data

· The appropriate balance between national security and individual privacy rights

· The application and translation of rule of law principles to privacy protection

· Possible lessons for Canada from other jurisdictions


In a number of recent high-profile public law cases, the Supreme Court of Canada appeared to make the concept of “Constitutional architecture” a critical part of their reasoning. According to the Court, “[t]he notion of architecture expresses the principle that ‘[t]he individual elements of the Constitution are linked to the others, and must be interpreted by reference to the structure of the Constitution as a whole” (Reference re Senate Reform, 2014 SCC 32). However, in the Senate Reference, the Court also utilized the notion of “animating principles of the Constitution”. There are legitimate questions as to whether the two concepts are similar, identical or different. We welcome papers exploring the idea of Constitutional architecture, its meaning, its limits and possible applications, from a variety of perspectives including:

· Constitutional law

· Aboriginal law

· Administrative law

· Parliament, Government and other public institutions

About the author

Reference librarian, University of Washington School of Law