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ISBN: 9781459406612

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The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

30+ years of decisions that shape Canadian life

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms has transformed Canadian life since it was adopted as part of the Canadian constitution in 1982. The Charter requires judges to make decisions on a wide range of issues that affect all Canadians. In doing so, the courts play a major role in citizens lives. Because of the Charter:

– The law against prostitution was struck down.

– The Harper government"s treatment of child soldier Omar Khadr was found to violate his rights.

– Vancouvers Insite safe injection site was kept open, overriding a federal government decision requiring it to shut down.

Ian Greene is a political scientist, and his focus in this book is to highlight the many significant ways the Charter shapes Canadian life. After providing background on the creation and implementation of the Charter, he describes its impact on a wide range of issues aboriginal affairs, voting rights, freedom of religion, the right to strike, and language rights, among others. Greene describes key decisions in these areas and comments on the often-conflicting views of the judges deciding them. Even though the Charter is a legal document, debated by lawyers and decided by judges, Greene approaches his subject with an eye on the political impact the Charter has on governments and ordinary citizens.

Public discussion of the Charter is often framed around the question of who should make these important decisions elected politicians or unelected judges. This book provides a clear understanding of how the Charter works and how ordinary citizens have succeeded or failed to win change from the courts. It offers information that people on every side of public discussion can use regarding the role of the Charter in Canadian life.


Ian Greene

IAN GREENE was a professor of political science at York University, where he served as Dean of Arts and Science. He has written widely about judges, judging, and the Canadian court system. His other books include Honest Politics (with David P. Shugarman) and Judges and Judging (with Peter McCormick). Ian lives in Toronto.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price


Provides the background of the author, proviced an overview of the arguments and content presented in each chapter 7 $0.70


Chapter 1 considers the nature of human rights and civil liberties. It also recounts some human rights issues in Canada prior to the Charter era, including some leading Canadian Bill of Rights … 44 $4.40


In chapter 2, the events leading to the creation of the Charter are summarized, and the links between the Charter and other human rights legislation (such as the Bill of Rights) are pointed out. … 47 $4.70


Chapter 3 focuses on the section of the Charter that encompasses the “fundamental freedoms”: freedom of religion, expression, assembly, and association. The Supreme Court’s … 71 $7.10


Chapter 4 deals with judicial decisions regarding the “democratic rights” — for example, whether prisoners can vote, whether the Charter might force a more equitable … 44 $4.40


The Supreme Court’s controversial decision to strike down Canada’s abortion law is reviewed in chapter 5, which centres on the “legal rights” sections of the Charter. Also … 72 $7.20


Chapter 6 deals with the Charter’s “equality rights,” perhaps the most challenging section of the document. Beginning in 1989, the Supreme Court set out a test for the … 64 $6.40


Chapter 7 reviews the Charter’s effect on the status of the official languages of Canada and minority-language education rights. The chapter focuses on Supreme Court decisions that … 37 $3.70


Chapter 8 is on Aboriginal rights. Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 — the section affirming Aboriginal rights — is the first section after the Charter of Rights. Although not … 37 $3.70


The concluding chapter assesses the effect of the Charter and s. 35 on the general respect for human rights in Canada. It argues that while the Charter itself may have had only limited success in … 24 $2.40