ISAC represented three individuals in a class action Charter challenge to the mandatory deduction of $100 each month from social assistance recipients who had been sponsored to come to Canada.
The challenge was to be based on the argument that the mandatory deductions denied all sponsored immigrants the equal benefit of the law, as guaranteed by section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because the regulations discriminated on the basis of national origin, race, and immigration status. The regulations violated the dignity and self-worth of sponsored immigrants, as they were based on negative stereotypes of immigrants, perpetuate negative attitudes towards immigrants, and did not correspond to the actual needs of sponsored immigrants who are forced to rely on social assistance. Indeed, one of the effects of the deductions was to force sponsored immigrants into utter poverty and deprivation, which demonstrated that the deductions could not be justified in a free and democratic society under section 1 of the Charter. Containing program costs through these mandatory deductions could not be upheld where it places the physical integrity and the sense of dignity of sponsored immigrants in such extreme jeopardy.
On December 15, 2004, Ontario changed the OW and ODSP rules that required the mandatory deductions.
– September 12, 2014