Rights, Freedoms, and
Canadian Charter of Rights and
• Right: a legal, moral, or social entitlement
that citizens can expect, mainly from the
• Freedom: the right to conduct one’s affairs
without governmental interference.
• Inalienable rights: guaranteed
entitlements that cannot be transferred from
one person to another.
Do You Know Your Rights?
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNnKPUyg
Civil Rights
• In Canada, our civil rights are set out in an
important part of our constitution called the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
• Civil Rights protect us from unfair treatment by
the government.
• They are different from Human Rights, which
protect us from discrimination by other people.
Sources of our Civil Rights and
• In 1960 the Canadian Government passed the
Canadian Bill of Rights. It was later added
to the Constitution in 1982 in the Constitution
• In order to change the Constitution of Canada
two-thirds of the provinces representing 50
percent of the population must vote to make a
The Supremacy of Parliament
• In our system of government, legislative bodies
(Parliament and the provincial legislatures) are
the supreme lawmakers. So our system is based
on the supremacy of Parliament.
• The Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives power
to the Canadian court system to strike down any
law that is seen as violating the rights of
Canadians. Therefore the Supreme Court has
the final say on laws that affect our rights.
The Notwithstanding Clause: Section
• Under certain circumstances Parliament or a
provincial legislature can pass a statute (law)
that violates a right guaranteed by the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.
• The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
protects you and your rights from discrimination
from the Government and it’s agencies and
• The Charter does not protect your rights if
discrimination or other injustices (wrongs)
occur that do not involve the government.
• The Supreme Court of Canada – guardian
of the Constitution.
• The Supreme Court of Canada has 9 justices
(judges) that make up the court and are
responsible for interpreting and enforcing the
• To determine whether a rights case should be heard
in the Supreme Court of Canada, the following
questions are considered…
1. Was the right infringed or violated by government
or its agencies?
2. Is the right in question covered under the Charter?
3. Is the violation or infringement within a
reasonable limit?
Limiting Our Civil Rights
• There are reasonable limits set on our rights in
Canada. It means the court will not strike down
legislation that limits our rights.
• The criteria for “reasonable limits” are…
1. The reason for limiting the right must be important
enough to justify overriding a constitutionally
protected right
2. The measure carried out to limit the right must be
reasonable and logically
3. The right must be limited as little as possible
4. The more severe the rights limitation, the more
important the objective must be
Fundamental Freedoms
• Freedom of conscience and religion.
• Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and
• Freedom of peaceful assembly
• Freedom of association.
Freedom of Conscience and Religion
• People in Canada have the freedom to worship
or not worship as they choose.
• The religious beliefs of the majority cannot be
imposed on the minority.
Freedom of Thought, Belief, Opinion
and Expression
• A person in Canada has the right to express their
opinion however there are certain limits to
which this can occur.
• For example a person yelling “fire” in a public
movie theatre could cause panic and injury to
those around them and therefore could be
Freedom of Assembly
• In Canada we have the right to assemble and
protest things we disagree with under the
condition that it remains peaceful.
Freedom of Association
• In Canada we are allowed to join different
groups such as political parties, unions, church
groups etc.
• These groups however cannot undertake illegal
Limitation on Rights
• Section 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.
• Translation: Your rights are guaranteed but sometimes there
are limits placed on our rights for the benefit of society.
• Section 15
▫ Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the
right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without
discrimination and, in particular without discrimination based
on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or
mental or physical disability.
Democratic Rights
• Right to vote
• Right to run in an
• Right to elect a new
government every
five years.
Mobility Rights
• Right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada.
• Right to live and work wherever you wish.
Legal Rights
• Right to enjoy life, liberty and
• Right to be protected against
unreasonable search, arrest,
detention or imprisonment.
• Right to be informed if you
have been charged with an
• Right to be advised and
represented by a lawyer if you
have been charged.
• Right to a fair trial.
Equality Rights
• Right to live and work and be protected by the
law without discrimination based on race,
national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex,
age, or mental or physical ability.
Language Rights
• Right to communicate with and receive services
from, any federal government office in either
English or French.
• Right to use either English or French in any
federal court.
• Right to have your children educated in either
English or French where numbers warrant.