What It Means
Section 1 guarantees and limits the rights and freedoms set out in the Charter. The rights and freedoms include:
- fundamental freedoms (freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of association)
- democratic rights (the right to vote and hold office)
- the right to live or work anywhere in Canada
- the right to life, liberty and personal security
- equality rights
- the official languages of Canada
- minority language education rights
- multiculturalism, and
- Aboriginal rights.
These rights are not absolute. Under section 1, these rights can be limited to protect other rights or values important to Canadian society.
For a Charter right to be limited, the limit must be
- prescribed by law
- justifiable in a free and democratic society
For more information about how section 1 affects a Charter right, see Regina v. Oakes in Case Law.