Legal Tensions Are Rising


Published: Winter 2021    |    By:  Nathalie Des Rosiers and Zoe Sebastien  |    Volume 69, No.9



The pandemic has imposed a multitude of challenges on democratic societies – including legal ones. The challenges extend to issues at the border but at the core are efforts to ensure that the courts continue to exercise an accountability function and that legal doctrines of Charter compliance and reasonability prevail. This essay identifies and discusses five key legal challenges that have been brought about by COVID-19 which are likely to persist even after the pandemic is conquered.

About the Authors

Nathalie Des Rosiers is Principal of Massey College and the co-editor, with Peter Oliver and Patrick Macklem, of the Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution (2017). She taught “Pandemics and the Law” at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto and Trinity College earlier this academic year.  Previously, she has been Dean of Law, (Common Law and Droit Civil) at the University of Ottawa, President of the Law Commission of Canada and the General Counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Zoe Sebastien is a JD candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and will be articling next year at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Ms. Sebastien worked as a summer student at the Superior Court of Justice in the Office of the Chief Justice after her first year of law school. Prior to law school, Ms. Sebastien completed a SSHRC-funded MA and BA with honours in philosophy at the University of Toronto. Zoe is currently co-authoring two forthcoming undergraduate textbooks on law and society, one with Rock’s Mills Press and another with Oxford University Press.