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Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

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Presentation on theme: "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms"— Presentation transcript:

1 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Supreme Court is guardian Anyone can challenge gov’t in court if their rights or freedoms have been infringed (Section 24) If Charter violated, maybe exclude criminal evidence

2 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
When handing down a judgment, the court (under s.52) has several options: Dismiss the appeal (uphold law) Allow the appeal (law gone) Read down (law generally Ok but not in this case) Read in (law generally Ok, but needs “tweek” by court)

3 Section 1 – Reasonable Limits Clause – Oakes Test, SCC, 1986
Two-part Test… 1. The limit deals with a pressing and substantial social problem 2. The gov’t’s response to the problem is reasonable and demonstrably justified It enforces an important gov’t objective The limitation of individual rights or freedoms is minimal The law is clear and sets precise standards

4 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The main rights and freedoms that form the Charter fall into the following 7 categories: 1. Fundamental Freedoms (s.2) 2. Democratic Rights (ss. 3-5) 3. Mobility Rights (ss. 6) 4. Legal Rights (ss. 7-14) 5. Equality Rights (ss. 15) 6. Official Language Rights (ss. 16 – 22) 7. Minority Language Rights (ss. 23)

5 Section 2 – Fundamental Freedoms
Everyone has the following Fundamental Freedoms are sometimes referred to as civil liberties (a) freedom of conscience and religion (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression: press and media (c) freedom of peaceful assembly (d) freedom of association Tradition and laws have reflected these freedoms but now they are constitutionally protected

6 Sections 3 – 5 Democratic Rights
Section 3 – Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election and to run for office Subject to restrictions on age, mental capacity, residence and registration No members of judiciary can vote

7 Sections 3 – 5 Democratic Rights
Section 4 – Canadians are allowed to elect a new government (federal and provincial) every 5 years, except under circumstances such as war or national emergencies Section 5 – parliament and legislative assemblies must sit at least once every 12 months

8 Section 6 – Mobility Rights
Section 6 - all Canadians are free to come and go as they please, including inter-provincially, or leaving the country Includes ability to look for work or set-up business Exception to free movement are criminal and extradition laws and licensing/trade qualification requirements Can have waiting period for social programs

9 Section 7 – Legal Rights Section 7 guarantees everyone “the right to life, liberty and security of the person” that will not be taken away except in accordance with “the principles of fundamental justice”

10 Section 8 – Legal Rights Section 8 protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure; that is, the police cannot enter people’s homes without a valid reason Controlled Drug and Substances Act gives police right for warrantless search for drugs if not principle residence

11 Sections 9 to 14 – Legal Rights
Sections 9 to 11 include: the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned (s.9) the right to a counsel (s.10) (but Singh) the right to be tried within a reasonable time and (s.11(b)) the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty (s.11(d)) s.12 – no cruel or unusual punishment

12 Section 13 – Right Against Self-Incrimination
Witnesses who give evidence in court cannot have their testimony used against them in other proceedings Exception: Perjury Different than U.S. “Fifth amendment” where someone can refuse to testify

13 Section 14 – Right to an Interpreter
Parties, accused or witnesses who are deaf or do not understand or speak the language being spoken in court have the right to be assisted by an interpreter (any language)

14 Section 15 – Equality Rights
Everyone has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, mental or physical disability, or age Equality rights can be restricted reasonably, ex. You must be a certain age to drive, vote or sign a contract

15 Language Rights – Sections 16-23
Sections 16 to 22 of the Charter guarantee both French and English as the two official languages of Canada Applies to government publications, debates, other proceedings, dealing with Federal Offices Section 23 protects right of English and French minorities to have their children educated in their language if the parent’s own primary education was in that language

16 Section 25 - General Recognized the rights of Aboriginal peoples (Indian, Metis , Inuit) in order to protect the culture, customs, traditions and language of Aboriginal peoples Other rights in the Charter must not interfere with the rights of Aboriginal peoples Aboriginal peoples are entitled to special benefits under treaties, other persons who do not enjoy those benefits cannot argue that they have been denied the right to be treated equally under s. 15

17 Section 32 – Application of Charter
Section 32(1) - Charter only applies to gov’ts and not to private individuals, businesses or other organizations Section 32(2) – s.15 equality provisions came into force three years after the rest of the Charter to give the gov’ts a chance to amend their laws to bring them into line with the right to equality

18 Section 33 – Application of Charter
Notwithstanding Clause Balance the rights and freedoms of Canadians with a government’s need to create laws that are exempt from certain sections of the Charter Section 2 – fundamental freedoms Section 7-14 – legal rights Section 15 – equality rights

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