The Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms
The Charter……
defines the relationship between people,
organizations and companies and the
 has 34 sections
 Includes the legislative executive and
administrative branches of govt as well as
Crown corporations, banks and other
institutions regulated by the federal
The Charter…..
Is enforced by the Supreme Court
 Allows people who believe their rights and
been infringed or violated by Government
to challenge the government in Court
The Supreme Court asks three
main questions when
considering a Charter case…..
 Was the right violated by the
 Is
the right covered by the
 Is the violation or infringement
within a reasonable limit?
What is a “reasonable limit”??
There are four criteria:
 Must be important enough to justify
overriding a constitutionally protected right
 Must be reasonably and logically connected to
the objective for which it was enacted
 The right must be limited as little as possible
 The more severe the limitation, the more
important the objective must be
Freedom of Conscience and
Section 2(a)
 You have a right to entertain the religious
beliefs you choose, to declare those
beliefs openly without fear and to express
you religious beliefs though practice,
worship, teaching and spreading of ideas.
Freedom of Thought and
Section 2(b)
 You are free to think and believe what you
want and to publicly express your opinions
through writing, speech, painting,
photography and other means.
 Regarded as one of the key freedoms in a
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and
Section 2(c)
 Freedom to assemble for peaceful purposes such
as demonstrating against a government action
or in support of a cause
 Abilty to connect with other people or groups
such as unions, political parties, cultural groups,
educational organizations or sporting groups
Democratic and Mobility Rights
Democratic Rights
Sections 3,4 and 5 of the Charter
guarantee democratic government
 Section 3—the right to vote (subject to
reasonable restrictions)
 Section 4—the right to elect new
governments every 5 years (except under
extraordinary circumstances)
 Section 5—governments must hold at
least one session per year
Mobility Rights
Section 6 of the Charter protects the right
of citizens to move in and out of the
country and between provinces
 Section 6(1)—Extradition—accused
persons can be sent to countries to face
trial (Except if they face death penalty)
 Some restrictions/differences are
allowed—ex: social services programs
require a minimum time of residency
Legal and Equality Rights
Sections 7-11 of the Charter cover areas
of criminal law: investigating a crime,
procedural fairness, use of evidence, etc
Life, Liberty and Security of Person
Section 7
 Every person has the right to life, liberty
and security of the person and cannot be
deprived of these rights
 Controversial in terms of abortion rights,
assisted suicide
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
The police must have a good reason for
searching the person , home or belongings
of an accused
 The search must be conducted fairly
Arbitrary Detention or
People cannot be held for questioning,
arrested or kept in jail without good
Rights While Under Arrest or
Section 11
 Sets out important rules that protect
anyone charged with an offence
 Presumed innocent until proven guilty
 Trial conducted fairly
 Right not to be denied bail
 Right to trial by jury for serious charges
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Section 12
 Governments cannot treat or punish
individuals in an unnecessarily harsh
 Some controversy over what this means
 Supeme Court considers: gravity of the
offense, personal characteristics of
offender, circumstances of case
Right of Witnesses in Court
Guarantees that testimony cannot be used
against you.
 Also guarantees the right of an interpreter
if necessary
Equality Rights
Section 15
 Every individual is considered equal and
government cannot discriminate in its laws
or programs
Section 15
There are three basic parts:
 Every citizen is equal under the law
 Every citizen has the right to equal
protection and benefit of the law
 These rights are to applied equally and
without discrimination
The government is allowed to set up
programs which improve conditions for
disadvantaged groups even though they
are discriminatory to the minority—eg:
handicapped parking!
Language and General Rights
Language Rights
Section 16-22
 English or French can be used in
 Laws, govt publications etc must be in
both languages
 Federal offices must be bilingual
 Either language can be used in court
 Equal status of both languages in NB
Language Education Rights
In the nine English provinces parents have the
right to have their children educated in French
1)Their first language is French OR
2)They received their own primary (k-2)
schooling in French OR
3)They have another child already in French
This is opposite in Quebec—except #1 does not
Aboriginal Rights
Section 25
 Protects the culture, customs, traditions,
languages and other rights or freedoms of
aboriginal peoples
Multicultural Rights
Section 27
 Respect and preservation of the cultural
differences of Canadians