The Ontario Court of Appeal is set to hear a novel case this week about the power of the executive to override the will of the legislature. The case is Canada Christian College v Postsecondary Quality Assessment Board and most of the public discussion around it has been about the political controversy related to it rather than the fascinating and complex constitutional issues raised.

While the political controversy is certainly spicy, a key issue in the appeal relates to a fundamental question of constitutional principles regarding the role of the executive – in this case, refusing to implement legislation that has been passed and given royal assent. The implications of this case could be widespread and undemocratic. The Ontario government’s approach, if approved by the courts, would hand the executive a carte blanche to override the legislature.

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