Rights and Freedoms in Canada

Our Rights and Freedoms Under
the Charter in Canada
Law 12
MUNDY 2008
2a – Freedom of Conscience and
One can choose or choose not to have
religious beliefs
 One can practice their religious beliefs
 One can express their religious beliefs
 the Canadian Government cannot penalize or
hinder any of these rights through legislation
or policy
2a – Freedom of Conscience and
Any legislation created that has a trivial or
insubstantial effect on a person/group’s
freedom of religion IS NOT CONSIDERED A
 Legislation, therefore, has to infringe upon a
doctrine fundamental to a religion in order to
be considered to violate this right
2b – Freedom of Thought, Belief,
Opinion and Expression (and Press)
Applies to any form of expression: speech,
writing, art, film, dance, etc.
 Often used to ensure that journalists,
protesters and artists are not jailed for
criticizing government
2b – Freedom of Thought, Belief,
Opinion and Expression (and Press)
Limitations to the right to expression are:
Expression inciting hatred – if the individual’s
message intends to motivate people to
violence against others
Obscenity – may censor materials; prosecute
those communicating with prostitutes
Slander – lies against character of person
Reporting of Judicial Proceedings in Certain
Courts – where may affect fair trial
2c – Freedom of Peaceful Assembly
Means the right to hold a peaceful
demonstration in protest of a matter, or,
similarly, to picket a work location
 “Peaceful” is an important distinction here, for
if it becomes a riot, becomes illegal
2d – Freedom of Association
Means that people are allowed to join into
groups for common purposes
 One major example is the right to join a union
for the purposes of bargaining for collective
benefits on the job
 Also allowed to join political groups, interest
groups, etc. without being jailed for being a
member of such groups
3-5 – Democratic Rights
S3 - right of CANADIAN CITIZENS to vote in
federal and provincial elections and to run for
election in each of these
 S4 – limits to the duration of a Parliament or
legislative assembly to 5 years between elections
(to avoid a government hanging onto power
 S5 – insistence that Parliament/legislative
assemblies ‘sit’ or hold sessions at least once a
3-5 – Democratic Rights
Until the creation of the Charter, voting rights
could easily have been removed by any
government by law
 Although right to vote is for citizens,
restrictions have been allowed, such as
residency requirements, age, and role of Chief
Electoral Officer as non-voting
 Democratic rights cannot be limited by
application of Notwithstanding Clause
6 – Mobility Rights
Meant to ensure that provincial boundaries are
not closed to new residents
 Allows people to live and work in any province,
and to ensure that provincial governments do not
create legislation to limit influx of new people
 However, subsection 4 allows provincial gov’ts to
enact legislation limiting people from entering
province for work if their unemployment rate is
higher than rest of Canada
7-14 – Legal Rights
S7 – right of life, liberty and security of person
afforded to EVERYONE within Canada (even
those NOT citizens)
 Means that Canada accepts refugees, and will
not send citizens of other countries to face
trial if it uses the death penalty as punishment
7-14 – Legal Rights
S8-14 involves rights of people upon arrest, such as:
protection from unreasonable search and seizure (s8),
arbitrary detention/ imprisonment (s9),
rights upon arrest (s10-11),
Protection from cruel & unreasonable punishment (s12)
Right to immunity from self-incrimination when
testimony of witness could result in info that could be
used against them in a different criminal investigation
Right to have an interpreter when the trial is conducted
in a language accused does not understand (s14)
15 – Equality Rights
Subsection 1 details guarantee of EVERYONE
(not just citizens) to be equal under laws,
including protection from laws that may
discriminate against person on basis of:
National/ethnic origin
Mental or physical disability
Sexual orientation
15 – Equality Rights
Subsection 2 allows for the government to
create laws that would assist people listed in
subsection 1 in order to raise their conditions
to that of others
 One known example is “affirmative action”
programs that aim to help employment levels
in government workplaces to balanced levels
of women, people of different ethnic
backgrounds, physical disability, etc.
16-22 – Language Rights
S16-17 stress that English and French are the
official languages of Canada, and therefore
both allowed to be used equally in
government proceedings
 S18 expects all government documents and
records to be published in both languages
 S19 allows anyone to use either language in
court proceedings
16-22 – Language Rights
S20 guarantees services from the government
will be offered in both official languages, where
requested by individual asking for such service
23 – Minority Language Education
Offered in English or French only
 Offered only to Canadian citizens
 One of 3 criteria must be met to have right
offered in this section:
Must be mother tongue first learned and
 Must be the language the parents were educated
 Must be language other siblings received in their
23 – Minority Language Education
A limitation to this right is the “numbers test”,
in which a person/group requesting education
in their preferred language must be in
sufficient numbers for the province to offer it
in their area of residence
 However, “sufficient numbers” is not specific
and up to the province to decide what is
24 - Enforcement
Subsection 1 allows people the right to apply
to the courts for remedy if any right in the
Charter has been denied or violated
 Subsection 2 guarantees that evidence
collected in a manner that violates their
Charter rights cannot be admitted as evidence
in their trial, especially if allowing it would
cause public to lose trust in the police or
25 – Aboriginal Rights
Ensures that no law will be allowed to infringe
upon existing aboriginal treaty rights, such as:
Royal Proclamation of 1763, giving general land
claims to Rupert’s Land and hunting/fishing rights
 Any land claims negotiated
26 – Other Rights Allowed
This section stresses that the Charter rights
are not the only rights that would have to be
allowed in Canada for the benefit of the
27 – Multicultural Right
This section ensures that any interpretation of
the Charter will be done so in a way that
enhances and preserves our country’s
multicultural heritage
28 – Gender Right
This section ensures that all rights and
freedoms in the Charter will be equally
guaranteed to both women and men
29 – Separate Schools
This section allows for separate schools to
exist, despite any rights in the Charter that
might attempt to obstruct their operation
30 – Territories Included!
This section mentions that whenever the
Charter mentions a province or a legislative
assembly for a particular right or freedom, it
should also apply to the territories of Canada
and their governments as well
31 – Clarifying Powers
This section notes that no one should
interpret any section in this Charter as
allowing more power or authority to any
legislative body (federal, provincial or
32 – Charter Applies to...
Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments,
their agencies and services
33 – Notwithstanding Clause
This section allows a federal or provincial
government to enact legislation that is seen to
violate sections 2 or 7 through 15
 If notwithstanding clause is enacted, legislation
may remain despite violating the Charter for a
period of 5 years
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