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Human Rights in Canada

Human Rights in Canada

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Human Rights in Canada

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  1. Topics to Know by end of Chapter : *Development of Canadian human rights from English common law to the Canadian Bill of Rights and then the Charter of Rights and Freedom *The protections provided by federal and provincial human rights legislation Examples: Canadian Human Rights Act, Ontario Human Rights Code) *The historical and contemporary barriers to the equal enjoyment of human rights faced by individuals and groups in Canada and the effects of these barriers. * Human Rights in Canada

  2. General Meaning of “Rights” • Rights are concepts of freedoms or entitlements which we feel belong to us. • Every citizen in Canada is given the same “rights” in society and court cases under The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom

  3. Summary: Canada’s Former Ties to Britain • 1. Until 1892, when Queen Elizabeth II of Britain formally signed a Canadian Constitution which removed any barriers from Canada governing itself, Canada had ties to the English Common Law. • 2. However, Canada continued to base its laws from the British System until the late 20th century. • 3. Human rights based on the British system held the idea that a person had the freedom to do whatever the law did not prohibit. • 4. Canadians did not have a single legal document to look at in order to understand their rights until the late 20th century, when Canada started practising their own rights legislation.

  4. Summary: The Canadian Bill of Rights-1960 • 1. In 1960, all Canadian Provinces passed their own human rights legislation • 2. The federal government also enforced The Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960, but it was not part of the constitution.

  5. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, 1982 • 1. The Charter is a part of the Constitution Act, 1982; all of which is in the Canada Act, 1982. The guarantee of rights and freedoms in the Charter became part of the supreme law of the land. • 2.Having a Charter of Rights and Freedoms in our Constitution has brought Canada in line with other liberal democracies in the world, all of whom have bills of rights that can be enforced by the courts.

  6. Rights Legislation: Provincial and Federal Government • 1. The provincial government has the authority to pass rights legislation related to activities and agencies under its authority. • 2. The federal government has the same right with regard to federal agencies and powers. • 3. Remember, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as part of the Constitution Act, is part of the supreme law of Canada and applies to all levels of government.

  7. Federal Government Legislation • *Military and Defense *Aboriginal Peoples • *Postal Service *Navigation and Shipping • *Currency *Copy Rights • Unemployment Insurance *Marriage and Divorce • Census and Statistics *Banking • Pensions • Criminal Law • Coinage • Provincial Government Legislation • *Hospitals *Shop, Saloon, and Tavern Licenses • Marriage Ceremonies *Property Rights • Education *Incorporation of Municipal Institutions • Matters of Local Nature *Charities • Forestry *Asylums

  8. Try this link to test and explore the responsibilities under the Federal and Legal Government.

  9. Canadian Human Rights Act 1977 • 1.The Canadian Human Rights Act is a statute originally passed by the Canadian government in 1977. • 2. Purpose of the Act: to ensure equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination in federal jurisdiction. • 3. The idea behind the Act is that people should not be placed at a disadvantage simply because of their age, sex, race or any other ground covered by the Act. That is discrimination and is against the law. Federal

  10. The Ontario Human Rights Code, 1961 • 1. The Ontario Human Rights Codeis a provincial law that seeks to protect rights and to end discriminatory behaviour in a number of specific areas. • 2.The Code protects people in Ontario against discrimination in employment, accommodation, goods, services and facilities, and membership in vocational associations and trade unions. • 3. There are fifteen grounds of discrimination under the Code: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, marital status family status, receipt of public assistance) and record of offences Provincial

  11. Main Historical Barriers to Canadian Human Rights • 1. Past and some current issues with Aboriginal Peoples and the government (land ownership, rights). • 2. “Ku Klux Klan Kanada”: A white supremacy group beginning in 1865. Some current “members” may exist still to this day. • 3. Issues from former World Wars and past events lead to stereotypes to specific groups and discrimination. Today, prejudgements are still made against certain races, religions, etc..

  12. Current Barriers to Canadian Human Rights • 1. Despite laws to address racial discrimination having existed for over 60 years, racial discrimination and racism still exists in Canada. • 2. The Ontario Human Rights Code received a significant number of complaints of racial discrimination and harassment when it was handling complaints. On average, about 30% to 40% of the complaints filed cited race and related grounds. • 3. Certain “groups” experience disproportionate poverty, over-representation in the prison population, under-representation in the middle and upper layers of political, administrative, economic and media institutions and barriers to accessing employment, and housing and health. Courts have recognized that racism exists today in Canada.

  13. References *Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom *Provincial and Federal Laws • *Contemporary and Historical Racism All other information from course website: