In an effort to make its proceedings more accessible to ordinary Canadians, the Supreme Court of Canada is sitting outside of Ottawa for the first time in its nearly 145-year history.
The Court is visiting Winnipeg over four days, from September 23 to 27, and will hear two cases – a criminal trial rights case and a language education rights case for French speakers in British Columbia.
The event is public and open to everyone, and all nine judges will be visiting various communities throughout the week, according to a release.
“At the Supreme Court of Canada, we hear important cases from all parts of the country,” Chief Justice Richard Wagner said in a video message posted online. “It’s important for us to be accessible to all Canadians, because the Supreme Court is your Court. The decisions we make affect your life, and that of your family and community.”
Over the years, Canada’s highest court has made sure that Canadians can watch its proceedings on television and online and follow the court’s activities on social media, Wagner said.
“Still, there is nothing quite like watching a hearing in the courtroom, seeing the arguments unfold right in front of you,” Wagner said. “We want as many Canadians as possible to have that opportunity.”
In taking its proceedings outside the capital, Canada’s Supreme Court joins other high courts such as the ones in the U.K., Australia and France, as well as some provincial courts that regularly visit other cities, Wagner said.
— Supreme Court of Canada (@SCC_eng) 22 September 2019
With files from The Canadian Press