Human Rights

Oxfam Canada

Like many organizations working in the area of international development, human rights and poverty alleviation, Oxfam Canada has found itself under increased scrutiny by the federal government.

Oxfam was required to file articles of continuance to comply with the federal Not for Profit Act before October 17, 2014, a general requirement for all federal not for profit corporations. While reviewing Oxfam's submission in the summer of 2014, the charities directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) told Oxfam that to keep its charitable status, Oxfam can work to “alleviate” poverty but not “prevent” it. CRA reportedly wrote that "Relieving poverty is charitable, but preventing it is not," and that, "Preventing poverty could mean providing for a class of beneficiaries that are not poor."

Canadian Citizenship (Bill C-24)

In June 2014, the Harper government amended the Citizenship Act, making citizenship in Canada harder to get and easier to lose. Key provisions of the amending legislation, which has already been approved by Parliament, will be coming into force at a later date. Under the new amendments, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may revoke the citizenship of Canadians convicted abroad of terrorism, treason, or spying, or who are or may have been part of an organization considered to be at war with Canada.

Interim Federal Health Program

21 February, 2016—The Government of Canada has announced that the Interim Federal Health Program, which provides medical services for refugee claimants, will be fully restored to its pre-2012 levels by April 1, 2016.

The Supreme Court of Canada

In May of 2014, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s integrity was called into question by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and by Justice Minister Peter McKay, over a phone call Justice McLachlin made to the Minister of Justice regarding the purported appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada.  

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice is being slowly starved of research capacity, lawyers and expertise. Successive budget and personnel cuts have hit the DOJ harder than many federal departments.

Childcare Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC)

Amidst numerous government cuts to groups that campaign on women’s issues, the Childcare Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC) saw its advocacy and lobbying funding decreased first in 2006, and its entire budget eliminated in 2009.


In April 2011, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revoked the charitable registration of IRFAN-Canada. IRFAN-Canada challenged the revocation and its appeal was scheduled to be heard before the Federal Court of Appeal in May 2014. 

Edgar Schmidt

Edgar Schmidt

In December 2012, Edgar Schmidt sued Harper’s Conservative government for failing to take adequate steps to verify whether proposed bills violate the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care

Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care

Health care and professional services organizations across Canada opposed to the cuts formed the group Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care in the spring of 2012.

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

In April 2012, the Public Health Agency of Canada severely cut funding from the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS, turning down 16 out of 20 activities proposed by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network on the basis that it might produce resources that co