• 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.
    • R v. Oakes
      • Lower courts reference this case
      • Sets precedent for whether or not judges should change the law
  • Section 2: Fundamental rights
    • Fundamental freedoms can be understood as rights so basic and essential to the quality of life that they can only be infringed upon by the government in the most dire of circumstances, or when their exercise threatens the fundamental freedoms of others. This section protects:
      • Freedom of conscience (s. 2(a))Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression (s. 2(b))Freedom of peaceful assembly (s. 2(c))
      • Freedom of association (s. 2(d))
  • Section 3-5: Democratic Rights
    • These sections set out the rights and provisions concerning the Canadian political process and the exercise of democracy for Canadian citizens. These include:
      • The right of citizens to vote and run for government office (s. 3);
      • The guarantee that no legislative body or the House of Commons will be in power for more than five years without a democratic election, except in very limited circumstances (s. 4); and
      • The guarantee that Parliament and every other legislature will be working for a set period (a “sitting”) out of every 12 months (s. 5).
  • Section 6: Mobility Rights
    • Mobility rights concern the freedom of Canadian citizens to be and move within, Canada. Citizens have the right to:
      • Travel in any province or territory;Work in any province or territory; andEnter, remain in, and leave Canada.
    • Note that while the latter applies only to Canadian citizens, the provisions for travelling and working in Canada also apply to permanent residents. In some professions, such as teaching and practicing law, provincial standards and certifications vary, and individuals must meet these to work in these jurisdictions.
  • Section 7-14: Legal Rights
    • Legal rights refer to the ways in which persons in Canada are protected in encounters with the justice system. Covering eight individual sections of the Charter, these are multifaceted and complex. Among other protections, everyone has the right:
      • To life, liberty and security of the person, and to not be deprived of these except under special circumstances (s. 7);
      • To be secure against unreasonable search or seizure (s. 8);
      • To not be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned (s. 9);
      • To retain and instruct a lawyer to represent them in justice proceedings (s. 10);
      • To have a trial within a reasonable time period (s. 11(b));
      • To be innocent until proven guilty (s. 11(d));
      • To not be subjected to any cruel or unusual treatment or punishment (s. 12).
  • Section 15: Equality Rights
    • Individuals in Canada have a right not to be discriminated against by the government or government agents based on grounds relating to being members of certain communities and social identity groups. Many of these groups were originally included in this section (enumerated grounds), while others have since been added by the courts (analogous ground).
    • Enumerated Rights include race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age and mental or physical disability. Analogous grounds currently include sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship and Aboriginality residence.
  • Section 16-22: Official Languages
    • These sections guarantee the use of both English and French in federal government institutions and set out special provisions relating to the use of both official languages in New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially bilingual province.
  • Section 23: Minority Language Education Rights
    • This provides a right for speakers of either official language to having their children receive primary and secondary instruction in that language, even if they are a linguistic minority in their community. Furthermore, wherever an official linguistic minority community comprises a large enough proportion of students, that community has the right to have that education paid for by public funds.
  • Section 24 and 25: Enforcement of Guaranteed Rights and Freedoms
    • Section 24 allows parties to bring forward a claim to the courts when they feel their rights are being violated, and s. 52 states that the Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the land, meaning that “any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect”.

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