Human Resources – Chapter 3: The Legal Environment: Equality and Human Rights
The foundation for the Canadian legal systems is set forth in the constitution Act, 1867. It is the
supreme law of the country.
3 major governing bodies: the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
The legislative branch of the federal government consists of the Parliament of Canada, which
includes the House of Commons, which is elected; the Senate, which is appointed and the Queen
and her representative, the governor general.
The Charter applies only to government action and actors, not directly to private individuals,
businesses or other organizations.
Discrimination is a restriction, preference or distinction based on a prohibit ground, which
results in unequal treatment and denies an individual his or her right to the equal protection and
benefit of guaranteed human rights and freedoms.
There are 3 types of discrimination. 1) Direct discrimination 2) Adverse-effect or constructive
discrimination 3) systemic discrimination
Direct discrimination is a rule, practice, preference or restriction that on its face treats a person
differently or unequally based on a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Adverse-effect discrimination is a rule, practice, preference or restriction that is neutral on its
face, but which inadvertently or indirectly operates in a manner that discriminates against an
employee or group of employees on a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Adverse-effect discrimination demonstrates that equal treatment does not necessarily mean
treating all individuals the same.
Systemic discrimination is unintentional discrimination that arises from a pattern of behavior
that is rooted in established stereotypes, attitudes and value systems that perpetuates the relative
disadvantage of a protected group.