Charter of Rights and Freedoms “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 circumstances 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 whole 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 argued 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: Objective: 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 individuals Proportionality (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.