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Eldridge v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1997] 3 SCR 624


Challenge that failure to publicly fund sign language interpreters for children receiving public medical services violated s.15 of Charter. The statutes accorded this decision making authority to the Medical Services Commission (Medical and Health Care Services Act) and the hospitals (Hospital Insurance Act). Neither decided to provide funding to cover this service.


When a clearly non-governmental entity makes decisions (services eligible for public funding) pursuant to statutory authorization, is it subject to the Charter?


If an entity’s act is truly governmental in nature, that entity will be under Charter scrutiny only with respect to that act - not all of their private activities.


*Since legislatures cannot enact laws that infringe Charter, cannot authorize/empower another person or entity to do so – however, they can give power to bodies not subject to Charter (power of incorporation).
**This happens when legislature does not entrust them to implement gov. policy
*Private entity may be subject to Charter wrt certain “inherently governmental actions” – when they act in furtherance of a specific program or policy
**1. May be determined that entity is itself “government actor” as per s.32
**2. Can attract Charter scrutiny with respect to a particular governmental activity/function
*An entity performing a public function isn’t necessarily “government” as per s.32
*[Para 49] Hospital Insurance Act is providing services to the public, and government dictates the policies to be used and possible beneficiaries. The lack of funding is connected to the medical delivery system and thus is tied to the legislation & under Charter scrutiny
**Acts that are tied to broader governmental goals are the ones subject to Charter

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