Social Studies 10F‎ > ‎Human Rights‎ > ‎

What protects Canadians' rights?

If we have guaranteed human rights in Canada, how do we know what they are?
  1. 1867-1960
    • Common Law or Case Law
    • Rights are protected by decisions made by courts over the years.
    • For new cases, precedents are looked for. New cases are judged by the results of similar past cases.
    • If there is no similar past case, court effectively makes the law.
    • "Implied Bill of Rights"
      • Since Canada's government was based on Great Britain, it is argued that we have similar freedoms protected like free speech, freedom of the press etc.
      • Essentially based on convention.
  2. 1960
    • Bill of Rights
    • Introduced by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker
    • Called for by Jehovah's Witnesses who had been persecuted under Padlock Law.
    • Guaranteed:
      • Freedom of Speech
      • Freedom of Religion
      • Equality Rights
      • Rights to Life, Liberty, Security of the Person
      • Right to Fundamental Justice
      • Property Rights
    • Everything was to be interpreted in accordance with this law.
    • Only applies to Federal jurisdiction
    • Easy to amend, change.
  3. 1982
    • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    • First part of Constitution Act, 1982.
    • freedom of conscience,
    • freedom of religion,
    • freedom of thought,
    • freedom of belief,
    • freedom of expression,
    • freedom of the press
    • freedom of peaceful assembly
    • freedom of association
    • right to life, liberty, and security of the person
    • Judicial Rights
      • right from unreasonable search and seizure
      • freedom from arbitrary detainment or imprisonment
      • right to legal counsel and the guarantee of habeas corpus
      • presumed innocent until proven guilty
      • right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment
      • rights against self-incrimination
      • rights to an interpreter in a court proceeding
    • the right to use either official language in Parliament
    • rights for certain citizens belonging to French or English-speaking minority communities to be educated in their own language
    • Hard to change.
      • 7 out of 10 provinces have to agree, representing 50% of population.
    • Limits to even this: "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."