Prohibiting discrimination is a noble political statement. What does it mean as economic policy? Applying a neoclassical framework, the article examines how Canada’s human rights laws affect society and marginalized groups from a welfare perspective. The article offers several practical reforms to improve the efficiency of current laws such as uncapping damage awards, removing criminal sanctions, and allowing non-profits to participate in remedies so as to compensate marginalized groups for systemic effects of discrimination. It also discusses bolder market-based options, including the taxing and licencing of discrimination for instances where our great project towards equality might be better served by redistribution than prohibition.
Reagan Seidler, The Economics Of Canadian Anti-Discrimination Laws (2020) 57-3 Alberta Law Review 839.