The complainants were at a hunting lodge. The police arrived to arrest one member for alleged assault. The person who they were investigating was ordered out of the cabin and arrested. The other members of the hunting party were also ordered out and were not allowed to dress. Outside they were told to lie on the ground, ridiculed and forced to lie there not properly dressed in sub-zero weather. After approximately half an hour they were let go. The complainants took their complaint to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for violation of their rights under s.7 of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.
- Does the provincial government have the jurisdiction and power to pass s.7 of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code?
- Is a Board of Inquiry is able to adjudicate complaints against RCMP officers?
Appeal allowed with costs.
The majority held that when one is arrested under the Criminal Code, application of the section is ultra vires the province as only the federal government has power over criminal matters under s.91(27) of the Constitution Act. Human rights legislation in a province is valid only if it protects aspects independently valid under s.92.
The dissent held that there were civil consequences under s.92(13) or s.92(14) flowing from arbitrary arrest and detention powers and therefore s.7 was within provincial jurisdiction. As there was nothing in the section which would interfere with criminal law powers of the federal government, the section should stand.
Provincial human rights legislation can only be upheld insofar as it is within the power of the province to pass such legislation.