CCLA’s Equality Program addresses a broad range of issues and concerns. We work on equality rights in relation to mental health, disability, gender, youth, immigration, refugees, race, poverty, and LGBTQ rights. The Equality Program is in a unique position not only to explore each issue on its own, but to take a broad perspective on the way these disadvantages intersect, and the impact of unfair treatment.
Discrimination can be overt. It can also be systemic, coming not from any deliberate act or rule, but from behaviours, practices or structures. CCLA’s Equality Program is concerned with all these forms of discrimination, and seeks to promote fairness and equality in Canada.
Fundamental Freedoms for us includes those rights and freedoms considered essential to the functioning of a democracy. They allow individuals and groups to express themselves, to believe and practice what they choose, and to exercise their right to vote. For example, freedom of religion, speech, and conscience are fundamental freedoms. It is almost impossible to imagine how a democracy could work without protection for these most basic rights and freedoms, and yet–in Canada–they continue to be under attack in many ways.
CCLA has spoken out on the most important issues affecting fundamental freedoms: censorship, religion in schools, the right to vote and the facilitation of peaceful protest. Our more recent work strives to ensure that communication technologies, which can greatly democratize expression, do not become tools for censorship or invasions of personal privacy.
In the wake of September 11, 2001, Canada joined the international community in introducing security measures aimed at countering terrorism. Soon after, it became apparent that these measures betrayed Canada’s foundational values of human dignity, liberty, equality and fairness.
CCLA’s National Security Program was created to counter these disturbing developments. CCLA believes that promoting security and defending individual rights are not mutually exclusive goals. A steadfast commitment to fundamental justice will ultimately keep Canadians more safe, not less. High priority issues include racial profiling, arbitrary and indefinite detention, complicity in torture, and the use of secret evidence. The CCLA has taken on a prominent role in emerging global debates on issues like illegal government spying and fair trial rights.
- Discrimination, Listing and Profiling
- Due Process and Counter-Terrorism
- Privacy and Surveillance
Policing and Public Safety
Government has an important role to play in protecting public safety. However, the promotion of public safety and the protection of civil liberties must be considered as mutually reinforcing objectives.
The CCLA’s Public Safety Program promotes the importance of civil liberties in relation to policing and the criminal justice system. The CCLA monitors the legal and policy frameworks that govern policing and the administration of justice in Canada to ensure that our civil liberties and the rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are respected.