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Health law

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Use this page for leads to subject headings, secondary titles and legislation relevant to the public health law issues.

Public health law

Public health law addresses state, societal and collective actions regarding health issues affecting the population as a whole or specific populations. Matters of regulation and autonomy, prevention of disease and personal responsibility are among those that arise in public health law.

Selected secondary materials about public health law

Downie, chapter 12.

T. Bailey, T. Caulfield, N. Ries, eds., Public health law and policy in Canada (Markham: LexisNexis, 2008) KE3575 P82 2008 (Priestly Reserve), Third edition KE3575 P82 2013, Fourth edition KE3575 P82 2019

J. Knight and L. Karabulut, Public health in the workplace (Toronto: Carswell, 2010) HD7659 O6K65 2010 (McPherson)

Case law and legislation applicable to public health law

Because a key element of public health law is state regulation, many pieces of federal and provincial legislation are of interest. Here are a few, along with links to judicial consideration of them via CanLII:

Public Health Agency of Canada Act, SC 2006, c 5 and citing cases

Tobacco Act, SC 1997, c 13 and citing cases

Emergencies Act, RSC 1985 (4th Supp), c 22 and citing cases

Hazardous Products Act, RSC 1985, c H-3 and citing cases

Food and Drugs Act, RSC 1985, c F-27 and citing cases

Quarantine Act, SC 2005, c 20 and citing cases

Public Health Act, SBC 2008, c 28 and citing cases

Tobacco Control Act, RSBC 1996, c 451 and citing cases

Emergency Program Act, RSBC 1996, c 111 and citing cases

Because of the interaction between autonomy and regulation in public health law, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 1 of the Constitution Act 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act, 1982 (UK), 1982 c 11 is also relevant.

Concerns about possiblity of or liability for communicable disease is addressed in cases such as R. v Cuerrier, [1998] 2 SCR 371, R. v Williams, [2003] 2 SCR 134, Canadian AIDS Society v Ontario, 1995 CanLII 7116, 25 OR (3d) 388 (SC), and Fitzerald v Tin, 2003 BCSC 151. Citing cases can be searched in CanLII, for example.

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