Appendix C: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
JOHN HUMPHREY SOCIETY YOUTH GUIDE
Section 1: In Canada the government must prove it is being reasonable when it is limiting our rights and freedoms.
Section 2: Canadians have the freedom to believe what they choose, to express their values, and to form associations.
Section 3: Every citizen has the right to vote in public elections.
(1) No parliament or legislative assembly can continue to stay in office for longer than five years.
(2) Only under extraordinary circumstances, such as war or a national emergency, may a government stay in office for longer than five years.
Section 5: There will be a meeting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every year.
(1) Every citizen can enter, stay in, and leave Canada as they wish.
(2) Every person who is considered a permanent resident of Canada can:
(a) Move to and live in any province.
(b) Find a job in any province.
(3) Provinces can decide who they give social benefits to.
(4) If its employment rate is below the national average, a province can create programs that favour its own residents.
Section 7: Every Canadian has the right to life, freedom and personal security, which cannot be taken away except after following certain legal steps (for example, after holding a trial).
Section 8: Every Canadian has the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e., anyone acting on behalf of the government must have a warrant before entering someone’s home).
Section 9: Everyone has the right not to be arrested and held in custody without good reason.
Section 10: If arrested, everyone has the right to:
(a) Know why they have been arrested.
(b) Seek legal advice from a lawyer.
(c) Challenge the fairness of the arrest.
Section 11: Any person who is charged with an offense has the right to:
(a) Be told right away exactly what they are being charged with.
(b) Have his/her trial take place in a reasonable amount of time.
(c) Not testify in his/her own trial (they cannot be called as a witness).
(d) Be considered innocent unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
(e) Not be denied bail without a good reason.
(f) Trial by jury if the charges are serious.
(g) Not be charged with a crime unless what they did was against the law at the time they did it.
(h) Only be charged with a crime once, whether they are found innocent or guilty.
(i) Be sentenced under the more lenient of two laws, if a change of law occurs before you have been sentenced.
Section 12: No one should be subjected to cruel or unusual punishment (the punishment must not be too harsh for the crime).
Section 13: Witnesses are protected from having information given in their testimony used against them.
Section 14: Anyone involved in trial has the right to an interpreter if they do not understand the language, or they are deaf.
Section 15: Every person in Canada (regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour, sex, age, or physical or mental disability) is to be considered equal, and is not to be discriminated against.
Official Languages of Canada
Section 16: Both French and English are official languages, and given equal status.
Section 16.1: The English and French speaking communities of New Brunswick have equal rights, and the government must protect those rights.
Section 17: Everyone has the right to use English or French in any debate or proceeding of parliament.
Section 18: All federal laws and those of New Brunswick must be published in both English and French.
Section 19: Either English or French may be used in pleadings of federal courts (including the Supreme Court) and the courts of New Brunswick.
Section 20: Everyone has the right to communicate with the federal government in either French or English.
Section 21: All language rights in other parts of the constitution must be protected.
Section 22: The government is allowed to offer services in languages other than French or English.
Section 23: Canadian citizens have the right to have his/her children educated in either French or English.
Section 24: Any person who feels that his/her rights or freedoms have been violated by the government can go to court and ask for a remedy.
Section 25: The Charter recognizes the rights of Aboriginal people of Canada in order to protect the culture, traditions, and languages of Aboriginal people.
Section 26: The Charter is not the only source for protection of individual rights. Parliament and the legislatures can create laws that protect rights beyond the ones listed in the Charter.
Section 27: The courts and governments must interpret the Charter in a way that recognizes Canada’s multicultural diversity.
Section 28: The rights and freedoms in the Charter are guaranteed to males and females equally.
Section 29: Religious and separate schools have the right to choose their teachers and students based on their religion.
Section 30: The Charter applies equally to all provinces and territories within Canada.
Section 31: Nothing in the Charter changes the sharing of responsibilities or the distribution of powers between the provincial and federal governments.
Application of the Charter
(1) This charter must be applied by both federal and provincial governments.
(2) Governments were allowed three years to bring their laws into line with Section 15 of the Charter. This meant that this section came into effect on April 17, 1985.
Section 33: The Federal Government and any provincial or territorial government is able to pass laws that take away some rights in the Charter (with clear reasons and acceptance of full responsibility for the consequence of its actions).
Section 34: The official name of this part of the Constitution is called the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Constitution Act, 1982, section 52: The Charter is the supreme law of Canada.