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R v Big M Drug Mart, [1985] 1 SCR 295


Lords Day Act made it an offence for anyone to engage in or carry on business on Sunday. This Act was challenged under s.2(a) of the Charter


Freedom of religion is about being free from state coercion. This freedom at least includes freedom of religious speech, including "the right to entertain such religious beliefs as a person chooses, the right to declare religious beliefs openly and without fear of hindrance or reprisal, and the right to manifest religious belief by worship and practice or by teaching and dissemination."


Either an unconstitutional purpose or unconstitutional effect can invalidate legislation.
Legislations purpose is the initial test of constitutional validity. If legislation fails purpose test there is no need to consider further its effects.
The effects test will only be necessary to defeat legislation with a valid purpose. Effects can never be relied upon to save legislation with an invalid purpose.
The guarantee of freedom of conscience and religion prevents the government from compelling individuals to perform or abstain from performing otherwise harmless acts bc of the religious significance of those acts to others.


Struck down Lords Day Act as violating s.2(a) of the Charter

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