Human Rights in Canada and the Effects of the Charter

Human rights laws were introduced in Canada by the 1960s following various bills that focused on creating more inclusive measures to ensure the rights of Black people and others in accommodation and hiring. Each change to the human rights laws creates some improvements for everyone, but society is changing all the time, so these laws need to be updated regularly. Human rights commissions carry out investigations of human rights complaints.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) is a list of the basic human rights of every Canadian. Article 15 states that every individual is equal by law without discrimination based on race or colour, among other items. It also recognizes that we do not all begin from the same place, as our backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyles vary. What the Charter has done is to incorporate a substantive equality approach. This means that before a new law is made, social problems such as disadvantage (eg. poverty or exclusion) and oppression (eg. racism or sexism) have to be taken into consideration. It also means that lawmakers must try to determine if any stereotypes are forming the basis of a new law, and that if there is a legal challenge from someone seeking equality under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that their life experience, their feelings about how this will affect them, be considered. The idea is that by taking many factors into consideration in our changing, multicultural society, no Canadian will have their rights or freedoms removed or reduced.

National Council of Visible Minorities
The NCVM is a voluntary organization of federal public service employees who are working with other Canadians to build a representative and inclusive Federal Government.

Action Plan Against Racism
About the Government of Canada's Action Plan Against Racism.

Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies
The website for CASHRA, the national association of Canada’s government agencies charged with administering provincial and territorial human rights legislation.

Black History Month
This site is devoted to the annual celebration of Canada’s Black History Month. See profiles of notable Black Canadians and videos that highlight many of the Black community's outstanding contributions to our shared history and heritage. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Human Rights in Canada
About equality and human rights in Canada. From the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
A brief article about the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Human Rights
A historical overview of federal and provincial human rights legislation in Canada. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Is racial equality real?
About racial equality issues in Canada. From the University of Toronto’s Edge Magazine.