By Nnaemeka Ezeani
and Dwight Newman
Government restrictions on various forms of gathering have bothered many Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While freedoms are subject to limits for appropriate policies to protect life and health, there is a lingering sense that some of these policies have gone astray. But many find it hard to pin down exactly why.
There is an underlying reason for this struggle. The parts of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protect activity involving assembly and association have long been neglected. Freedom of assembly and freedom of association are both in the Charter. But there has been limited case law and scholarly work on them. In many ways, they are part of a broader problem we have both written about, in so far as they became “forgotten freedoms.”