Canadian Rights & Freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms just had a very important birthday recently. The Charter is the envy of the world and ensures Canada’s continued development of democratic principles and legislation which protects all Canadian citizens including minority groups.
I’m always amazed at how many people don’t know about our Charter. If we don’t know about it, how can we protect it and keep it for years to come, lest we forget and take it for granted. It is a gift, one that has been bestowed on us here in Canada and has paved the way for so many of our societal values. It has protected refugees when the Immigration Refugee Protection Act says otherwise, yes it is the Charter that has prevented unlawful confinement as Chief Justice McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada held that certain aspects of the scheme contained within the IRPA for the detention of permanent residents and foreign nationals on the grounds of national security violate s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by “allowing the issuance of a certificate of inadmissibility based on secret material without providing for an independent agent at the stage of judicial review to better protect the named person’s interests.”
Chief Justice also concluded that “some of the time limits in the provisions for continuing detention of a foreign national violate ss. 9 and 10(c) [of the Charter] because they are arbitrary.” The Government of Canada responded by introducing a revised security certificate regime in the IRPA that includes the use of special advocates to review a summary of the evidence without being able to share this information with the accused. The bill to amend the IRPA was passed by Parliament with support from the Conservative and Liberal caucuses and received royal assent in 2008.
Some newcomers may not know that in the event that Immigration Law doesn’t protect you or serve you, that Canada’s Charter of Rights & Freedoms holds up in a Canadian Court of Law and is the backbone of all we hold dear and can protect you where you need extra support and a sound argument to plead your case.
You can find the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its entirety here:
I enclose the “Legal Rights” section of the Charter for your benefit.
Life, liberty and security of person: 7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Search or seizure: 8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Detention or imprisonment: 9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Arrest or detention: 10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention:
- to be informed promptly of the reasons therefore;
- to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
- to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Proceedings in criminal and penal matters: 11. Any person charged with an offence has the right:
- to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
- to be tried within a reasonable time;
- not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
- to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
- not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
- except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
- not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
- if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
- if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.
Treatment or punishment: 12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Self-crimination: 13. A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.
Interpreter: 14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.
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