CH. 5: The Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms
What is a Charter of Rights?
• CA 1982: Canada acquired a constitutionally entrenched charter of rights.
◦Charter of Rights: device that prevents democratic majorities from violating the
How the Charter Works
• Hunter v. Southam (1984): Combines Investigation Act: Combines = form of
Accused Southam Press fought constitutionality of the Combines
Investigation Act citing Sect. 8 of the Constitution “resisting
unreasonable search / seizure.”
Court concluded that the Act was in violation of the charter.
• The government has no authority to act on laws deemed unconstitutional by
supreme court decisions.
o Handled in Schachter vs. Canada, adoptive parents case.
Adoption of the Charter
• Already existed in the political union, not fundamentally new.
o Duplessis Gov in Quebec passed laws that were struck down by
Supreme Court for oppression of individual rights.
o Federal gov confined Japanese Canadians to detention camps
o Poor protection of Canadian Aboriginal people.
• Eventually followed more closely after the US Bill of Rights model.
o 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights lacked potency as it was only a Federal
o Eventually the entrenched charter was written, holding accountable all
levels of government.
Opposition to the Charter
• Manitoba’s Premier Stirling Lyon attacked the Charter because it was against