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We Know That Canada’s Constitution Takes Precedent Over Statute & Common Law... But what exactly is Canada’s Constitution??

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Presentation on theme: "We Know That Canada’s Constitution Takes Precedent Over Statute & Common Law... But what exactly is Canada’s Constitution??"— Presentation transcript:

1 We Know That Canada’s Constitution Takes Precedent Over Statute & Common Law... But what exactly is Canada’s Constitution??

2 Remember CONFEDERATION? In 1867 – Canada becomes a separate political entity within the British Empire with the passing of the BNA Act.

3 The BNA Act Established: Canada was an independent colony Canada had a federal system of government The monarch was the head of state Canada would follow the Rule of Law The division of power for the federal and provincial governments (see p.54 or 67) Canada could not make it’s own laws independent of Great Britain!

4 Residual Powers Residual powers gives the federal government responsibility to make laws in legislative areas not assigned to the provinces. Section 91 of the BNA Act It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons to make laws for the Peace, Order, and Good Government of Canada. W HAT MIGHT THIS COVER ?

5 Jurisdiction: the authority to pass/enforce laws or to decide a case Intra Vires: within the power of government to pass laws Ultra Vires: beyond the power of the government to pass laws Read example on p.55 OR p.69 NOTE: I will always put the old text page number first

6 Statute of Westminster 1931 Allowed Canada to make its own laws independent of Great Britain. Canada was no longer subject to the laws of Great Britain BUT.... Canada could still not amend or add to its own Constitution without approval from the British Parliament.

7 Patriating the Constitution Patriate: to bring legislative power under the authority of the country to which it applies Pierre Elliott Trudeau & Queen Elizabeth II

8 Constitution Act, 1982 Included the BNA Act (1867) AND added 5 key elements: A principle of equalization A clarification for responsibility for natural resources A formula for making amendments to the Constitution A Charter guaranteeing individual rights and freedoms The rights of Aboriginal people were recognized and affirmed


10 Rights & Freedoms RIGHT: Something we are entitled to because we are human beings FREEDOM: The ability to conducts one’s affairs without interference

11 Magna Carta (1215) Established the Rule of Law First step in establishing basic individual rights for the people of England

12 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Passed by the United Nations

13 L OOK AT THE TIMELINE ON P.78 OR 94 Evolution of Rights in Canada Write down 4 human rights abuses in Canadian history Write down 4 things that increased human rights in Canada Write down 2 things that surprised you

14 Canadian Bill of Rights (1960) Statute enacted by Parliament in 1960 Recognized: The rights of individuals to life, liberty, security of the person, and enjoyment of property Freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and association Freedom of the press The right to counsel and the right to a fair hearing READ “The Bill of Rights had its limitations” on p. 80 or p.96

15 Canadian Human Rights Act (1977) Applies to federal departments, Crown corporations, and businesses and industries that are regulated by the federal government. Prohibits grounds for discrimination based on 10 factors. See p.113 OR p.134

16 Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) Entrenched rights and freedoms in the Constitution of Canada How does this deal with some of the limitations of the Canadian Bill of Rights?

17 Jurisdiction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms only applies in situations that involve the government! (All branches and levels of government, Crown corporations, banks, etc...) Other violations of rights and freedoms are covered under provincial human rights acts.

18 Looking At The Charter Complete: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms scavenger hunt The worksheet “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” Resources Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms found at the back of your textbook Reading about each section of the Charter found on p. 86-102 OR p.102-120 Your notes

19 Guardian of the Constitution The Supreme Court uses these questions to determine if a rights case has merit: 1. Was the right infringes 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?

20 Exceptions and Limitations Our rights are not absolute. There are times that they are limited. Can you think of any of those times? Section 1 of the Charter outlines the “Reasonable Limits Clause” (see Charter) The Oake’s Test has been developed to assess when a right should be subject to limitations Write down the criteria of the Oake’s Test p.85 OR p.100

21 R. v. Sharpe, [2001] 1.S.C.R. 45 1. Read the case R.v. Sharpe on p.106 or 124. 2. Complete the Oake’s Test for this case by explaining how each of the 4 criteria apply (or do not apply) to this case. You may complete this activity through discussion in a small group, but each member must write down their own explanation in their own words.

22 S.33: The Notwithstanding Clause Allows government to override a fundamental freedom or right (to pass legislation that goes against the Charter) for a period of 5 years at a time. Only applies to s.2 and ss.7 to 15. What parts of the Charter cannot be overrode with the Notwithstanding Clause? (see your Charter) Has not been used very many times.

23 Provincial Human Rights Acts Remember: The Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms only applies to situation that involves the government or their agencies. All other violations of Human Rights fall under the Provincial Human Rights Acts.

24 Nova Scotia Visit: your-human-rights and answer the following questions. your-human-rights NS prohibits discrimination based on how many characteristics? What areas are protected?

25 PODCAST LISTEN to the CBC The Current podcast “Should Employers Accommodate Shift Workers with Childcare Needs?” from Monday March 11, 2013 Answer the questions and be prepared to complete the writing assignment at the bottom of the page.

26 Next: We will be preparing for our unit test which will cover everything we have studied in LAW 12 up to this point. You should begin reviewing your notes, textbook, and assignments, updating your glossary, and writing down any areas of where you have questions, concerns, or need clarification.

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