June 29, 2018

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is one part of the Canadian Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of Canada.

The Charter sets out those rights and freedoms that Canadians believe are necessary in a free and democratic society.  Some of the rights and freedoms contained in the Charter are:

 

Freedom of religion is protected because of its deep connection to individual liberty and self-fulfillment. For many people, religion plays a key role in how they choose to live their lives, perceive the world, and interact with others.

Freedom of religion is also related to the guarantee of equality since many religious freedom cases involve attempts to protect a minority group.

To learn more about the protection provided by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for freedom of religion, read our Freedom of Religion 101 guide!

 


Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms makes it very clear that every person in Canada is equal under the law.

The courts have had a hard time coming up with one clear and obvious explanation for equality and discrimination. That’s because the law sometimes does treat people differently, and this is not always discrimination. For example, the government gives driver’s licenses to people who pass the driving test, but not to those who fail it; it provides certain benefits to people who lose their jobs, but those same benefits are not available to those who are employed – each of these scenarios is an example of different treatment – but are they examples of discrimination?

Learn more about equality in our Equality Rights 101 primer!


Freedom of expression is protected in our Constitution to ensure that everyone can share their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, no matter how unpopular they may seem. Such protection is, in the words of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “fundamental” because in a free and democratic society, both individuals and communities benefit from access to a diversity of ideas and opinions.

Check out our short introduction to this complicated topic, Freedom of Expression 101.

And remember, you can use CCLET’s Acorn Test to help you think about the way to think through challenging situations where equality, free expression, and freedom of religion conflict with one another. To help you navigate difficult discussions where your opinions and thoughts may clash with what other’s think, we’ve also created a useful guide called “How to Disagree.”