What human rights protection does Canada offer?

Human rights are an important part of Canadian law.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects human rights in Canada.

The Charter is part of the Canadian constitution. This means the federal government cannot easily make changes to it. It is also stronger than any laws the provinces or territories create.

The Charter guarantees fundamental freedoms for everyone in Canadian society, such as:

  • Freedom of conscience and religion;
  • Freedom of thought, belief and expression, including freedom of the press and other media;
  • Freedom of peaceful assembly (e.g. protest); and
  • Freedom of association.

The government can restrict these freedoms under certain circumstances. For example, they might temporarily restrict freedom of assembly in a time of war.

The Charter also guarantees the equality of all persons before and under the law.

The Charter also states that it should always be interpreted in a way that helps preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of Canadians.

Canadian Human Rights Act

The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on a person's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or a conviction for which a pardon has been granted.

If you suffer discrimination based on any of these grounds from a federally-regulated employer, union or service provider, you can get assistance from the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)

The CHRC investigates complaints of discrimination against federally-regulated organizations.

If the CHRC believes that more investigation is needed, and a resolution between the parties cannot be made, it refers the case to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a formal hearing.

Contact the CHRC to make a complaint or to get more information at 1-888-214-1090.

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Last updated: October 28, 2015 4000354