Bench Press 39-4: The Charter Protects Proms - LawNow Magazine

Bench Press 39-4: The Charter Protects Proms

Bench PressTwo graduating high school students in Ontario launched a Charter challenge to their school principal’s decision to have a mandatory breathalyser test at their prom. They argued that the mandatory test was a violation of their s. 8 Charter right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure. Justice Himel of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice first decided that the Charter does apply to school events, ruling that the school authorities were carrying out a “quintessentially government function to which the Charter should apply.” Then, she decided that the students were not in a position to give informed consent to the breach of their Charter right, given that they had no meaningful choice between consenting to the test and missing a significant event in their lives. Finally, she ruled that students have a reasonable expectation of privacy over their breath samples and this was violated by the blanket imposition of the test. She concluded that the use of a blanket breathalyser test was highly intrusive and disproportionate given the nature of the suspected breaches.

Simon Gillies et al v. Toronto District School Board, 2015 ONSC 1038 (CanLII)



Teresa Mitchell
Teresa Mitchell
Teresa Mitchell is the former Editor and Legal Writer for LawNow at the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

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