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Reference re Employment Insurance Act (Can.), ss. 22 and 23, [2005] 2 S.C.R. 669

Facts:

At issue is the validity of maternity and paternity benefits.
Argue – that is falls w/in prop and civil rights of (16) generally all matters of a merely local or private nature – Fed says it fell w/in unemployment s.91(2A)

Issue(s):

What is the scope of the Fed power over unemployment insurance?

Ratio:

Have to construe the term (Unemployment Insurance) in the context of what it means today, not what it meant when it was enacted
**So there is room for further expansion of gov powers (living tree) – the classification of powers are live exercises

Analysis:

*Unemployment insurance must be interpreted generously and progressively
*Decision to offer women the possibility of receiving income replacement benefits when they are off work due to pregnancy is a social decision that is not incompatible with the concept of risk in the realm of insurance
*Maternity benefits are a mechanism for providing replacement income – consistent with the essence of fed jurisdiction

Holding:

Act was impugned
Maternity and parental benefits are supported by s.91(2A)

Comments:

After characterization comes classification: Where does this matter, or a law with this purpose, live?


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