Canadian Civil Liberties Association lawyers ‘intervene’ in Kingston encampment hearing

People rally outside of Frontenac County Courthouse on July 10, 2023, ahead of the start of the court hearing the City of Kingston’s application for an order to remove the encampment at Belle Park. File photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has announced it is ‘intervening’ in the currently ongoing hearing of the City of Kingston’s appeal to the Superior Court of Ontario for an order to remove the encampment established in Belle Park.

Just before noon on the second day of the hearing, being held at the Frontenac County Courthouse here in Kingston, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association announced that pro bono lawyers representing the Association would be appearing today at the hearing “to make arguments” in the “encampment eviction case.”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is a Toronto-based Canadian human rights organization, founded in 1964, which is “committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.”

As Kingstonist readers will recall, the City of Kingston announced its application before the Superior Court to remove the Belle Park encampment in June of this year. Since then, Kingston Legal Clinic, which is representing those living at the encampment before Judge Ian Clark, has publicly made known its objections to the City’s position, and rallies took place outside the courthouse as the parties began the court action on the hearings in July. Yesterday, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, was the first of two days scheduled for the parties to present their arguments and supportive case law.

As the hearing was adjourning for lunch, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association foreshadowed its intentions in the hours to come in the hearing. As “an intervenor in the case,” the organization is arguing that forced evictions violate the right not to be deprived of shelter, which is guaranteed under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and “constitute a deprivation of life, liberty and security of the person.”

“Enforced evictions of unhoused individuals, who are among the most vulnerable members of society, are inhumane,” said Harini Sivalingam, Director of the Equality Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in a statement.

“Shelter is one of the most basic human needs, and state enforced deprivation of shelter is a violation of Charter rights and Canada’s international legal obligations.”

According to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, pro bono legal counsel will be provided by Alexa Biscaro and Erika Anschuetz of Norton Rose Fullbright Canada LLP, who will represent the association in the case.

Kingstonist reporter Michelle Dorey Forestell is sitting in on the hearings for Day 2. Kingstonist will provide further coverage of the day’s events later in the day.

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