Reasonable Limits Clause

Charter of Rights and
“1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it
subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by
law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and
democratic society.”
 rights and freedoms are not absolute
 rights and freedoms may be limited under certain
Reasonable Limits Clause
In a democracy, there has to be some give
and take in order to ensure that everyone's
interests are balanced.
Section 1 allows governments to pass laws
that may infringe a Charter right, but in a way
and for a reason that works for society as a
What does it mean?
prescribed by law  must be written in
either legislation or regulation
demonstrably justifiable in a free and
democratic society the state must
provide good cause or reason for violating a
Charter right
Oakes Test
Developed by courts
Legal test to determine whether or not the
state has provided appropriate justifications
for limiting a Charter right.
Based on balance of probabilities between
individual and society
Oakes Test Continued
Used every time a Charter infringement is
Burden of proof on complainant  show that
a right was infringed
Burden of proof on state  show that
infringement is justified
To pass the Section 1 test, a
law has to:
Have an objective important enough to
justify overriding a constitutionally
protected right or freedom
 If you are going to infringe the law, you
should have a very important reason
Proportionality: Use means that are
proportional to the ends
The means for achieving the objective must
be reasonably justified.
 Weigh interests of society against those of
(a) The means must be “rationally connected” to
the objective
(b) the measures should impair the right as little
as possible.
(c) the effects of the impairment must be
proportionate to the objective  Should not
have harmful effects that outweigh the benefits.