The Conservative government is once again dealing with a disappointing court decision over one of its policies after the Federal Court of Canada ruled Friday that cuts to health care for rejected refugee claimants were "cruel and unusual."
The government has already said it will appeal the ruling to the Federal Court of Appeal.
The sharply worded decision, which gave the government four months to reverse the changes introduced in 2012, is just the latest in a string of key legal defeats for the government. Here's a look at some other recent setbacks:
June: Supreme Court upholds privacy rights
The court's ruling that internet service providers must not disclose names, addresses and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials without a warrant is expected to force the government to change bills on cyberbullying (C-13) and digital privacy (S-4) currently before Parliament.
April: Feds can't go it alone on Senate reform
Senate reform has been one of Stephen Harper's signature political causes, one that has become all the more urgent against a festering Senate expenses scandal. But the government's attempt to gain some clarity about its powers to change — or failing that, abolish — the upper chamber ran into a constitutional brick wall. The court ruled that reforms, including term limits or Senate elections, or abolishing the Senate altogether, could only be done with the consent of at least seven provinces representing at least half of the population.
April: Judges have discretion on sentencing
In a unanimous ruling, the high court affirmed that offenders can receive extra credit for time spent in custody before they are sentenced, a blow against the government's Truth in Sentencing Act, which attempted to curb the practice by allowing it only in "exceptional" circumstances. The ruling, which was precedent-setting but did not strike down the law, gave judges the right to apply the extra credit for time served but did not reject the government's limit of a 1.5 credit.
March: Medical marijuana users win injunction
A Federal Court judge granted an injunction to medical marijuana users with a personal production licence to allow them to continue to grow their own marijuana at home until their constitutional challenge of the government's new system of medical marijuana distribution can be heard. The government is appealing the court's decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.
March: Early parole abolition repealed
Another blow to the Conservatives' law-and-order agenda came with the Supreme Court ruling against the retroactive abolition of accelerated parole for offenders who had already been sentenced. That violated the offenders' charter rights, the court ruled in striking down section 10(1) of the Abolition of Early Parole Act.
March: Marc Nadon rejected by Supreme Court
Perhaps the most embarrassing defeat came with the Supreme Court's rejection of Harper's choice to fill a vacant seat on the court. The court ruled that Justice Marc Nadon was not eligible to represent Quebec on the bench because he was appointed from the Federal Court and not a Quebec court or directly from the Quebec bar as dictated by the Constitution and the Supreme Court Act. The government was compelled to seek a ruling from the court after a legal challenge by Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati, who has since challenged another judicial appointment as well as the government's new citizenship bill. The Nadon decision later touched off an unprecedented public exchange of comments between Harper and Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.
December 2013: Court strikes down prostitution laws
In a landmark unanimous decision, the court struck down Canada's 25-year-old prostitution laws that prohibited brothels, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating in public with clients and gave the government a year to come up with a new law. The government introduced new legislation in June that makes it a crime to buy sex not sell it, unless minors are present.
November 2013: No mandatory minimums for guns
Ontario's highest court ruled that a three-year mandatory minimum sentence for possessing a loaded prohibited gun is unconstitutional, striking down a section of the Conservatives' 2008 omnibus bill as "cruel and unusual punishment" for a first offence. The decision came in the case of a man found taking pictures of himself in his underwear holding a loaded gun to post on Facebook.
September 2011: Supervised injection clinic remains open
A landmark ruling from the Supreme Court ordered the federal minister of health to grant a Vancouver supervised injection clinic an exemption under Canada's drug laws so it can remain open. The ruling gave the minister discretion to approve or deny future requests for exemptions, but required the government to balance public safety and charter rights when making the decision.