The purpose of section 21 is to protect language rights that already exist in other parts of the Constitution. For example, section 133 of the Constitutional Act, 1867 gives the people of Quebec the right to use English or French in the Legislative Assembly of Quebec and in any of the courts of that province. It also provides the right to have provincial laws printed and published in English and French. The Manitoba Act, 1870 (confirmed in the Constitution Act, 1871) affirms the same rights for the people of Manitoba. Anyone accused of breaking the law is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must prove beyond any doubt that the person committed the crime before it can be convicted. The trial must also be conducted fairly before a tribunal that is impartial and independent of any political or other influence (ยง 11 d). A fair trial ensures that the rights of the accused are adequately protected. The Charter of Canada does not have much to say, at least explicitly, about economic and social rights. On this point, it contrasts sharply with the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Some believe that economic rights should be read in the rights to security of the person (section 7) and equality rights (section 15) in order to make the Charter similar to the Covenant. [24] The reason for this is that economic rights refer to a decent standard of living and can help civil rights flourish in a livable environment. [24] However, Canadian courts have hesitated in this area, holding that economic rights are political issues, adding that economic rights as positive rights are of questionable legitimacy.

[24] Under the Charter, persons physically present in Canada enjoy many civil and political rights. Most rights can be exercised by any corporation (the Charter does not define the Corporation as a “corporation”)[1]:741-2, but some of the rights belong exclusively to individuals or (as in sections 3 and 6) only to citizens of Canada. The rights are enforceable by the courts under section 24 of the Charter, which allows the courts to grant remedies to those whose rights have been denied. This section also allows courts to exclude evidence from court proceedings if the evidence was obtained in a manner contrary to the Charter and could damage the reputation of the judicial system. Section 32 confirms that the Charter is binding on the federal government, the territories under its authority and the provincial governments. In some cases, competing legal claims may include code grounds and other legal claims. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has several parallels with the Canadian Charter, but in some cases the Covenant goes further in terms of rights in its text. For example, a right to legal aid has been included in section 10 of the Charter (right to a lawyer), but the convention explicitly guarantees that the defendant does not have to pay “if he does not have sufficient resources”. [1]: 233-4 In general, courts have adopted a focused interpretation of Charter rights. This means that since early cases such as Hunter v.

Southam (1984) and R v. Big M Drug Mart (1985), they focused less on the traditional and limited understanding of what each right meant when the Charter was adopted in 1982. Rather, the focus has been on changing the scope of rights accordingly in order to achieve their broader purpose. [1]: 722, 724-25 This is related to the generous interpretation of rights, since the purpose of the Charter provisions is to strengthen the rights and freedoms of individuals in various circumstances at the expense of government power. For example, a number of decisions dealing with the submission of medical or other sensitive records in court proceedings have taken into account the relationship between privacy and equality rights, as well as the right to a full answer and defence, all of which are protected by the Charter. In R. v. O`Connor, a case in which the defendant was charged with a number of sexual offences, the Supreme Court of Canada established a procedure to determine when a victim`s medical and therapeutic records, belonging to third parties such as doctors, must be turned over to the defendant for a full and meaningful response and defense. [19] After the supremacy of the Charter was confirmed by section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the courts continued their practice of removing unconstitutional statutes or parts of statutes, as they had done in previous jurisprudence on federalism.

However, section 24 of the Charter has also given the courts new powers to enforce creative remedies and exclude more evidence from court proceedings. Since then, the courts have rendered many important decisions, including in R. v. Morgentaler (1988), which struck down Canada`s abortion law, and Vriend v. Alberta (1998), in which the Supreme Court found that the province`s exclusion of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination violated equality rights under section 15.