Fundamental Freedoms - The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
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Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms, section 1.
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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
  • reasonable
  • 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.

John Diefenbaker, 1960. I am a Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe woring, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and for all mankind.
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