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Key Terms
Charter Application

Category: The Charter

The Charter protects certain human rights and freedoms. Before considering whether a Charter right or freedom has been violated, there is a threshold question that must be answered: does the […]

Key Terms
Habeas Corpus

Category: The Charter

Existing since the 13th century, habeas corpus is both a free-standing right and, more recently, a right protected under section 10(c) of the Charter.[1] Habeas Corpus translates to “produce the body”.[2] A habeas corpus application is used by persons […]

Key Terms
Opting Out

Category: Federalism

The term ’opting out’ in Canadian constitutional discourse refers broadly to any action by which a province, of its own volition, is excluded from a measure that applies to the […]

Key Terms
Official Languages

Category: The Charter, Official Languages of Canada (Sections 16-22)

‘Official language(s)’ refer to the language(s) in which states normally conduct their business and communicate with their citizens. Many of the world’s constitutions privilege particular languages as ‘official’ by so […]

Key Terms
Oakes Test

Category: The Charter

The Oakes test was created by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1986 case of R v Oakes.[1]  The test interprets section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that rights are […]

Key Terms
Notwithstanding Clause

Category: The Charter

33. (1) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a […]

Key Terms
Natural Resources

Category: Federalism

By contrast to the manufacturing economies of Ontario and Quebec, the economies of the western provinces have traditionally emphasized primary production of oil, gas, wood, minerals and grains. These natural […]

Key Terms
Mobility Rights

Category: The Charter, Mobility Rights (Section 6)

At their most basic, mobility rights allow individuals to move from place to place, largely free from government intervention. In a country as large and diverse as Canada, the ability […]

Key Terms
Meech Lake Accord

Category: Federalism

Quebec’s refusal to accept the patriation package in 1981 caused it to feel somewhat alienated from the Canadian ’constitutional family.’ This led to renewed constitutional discussions, beginning around 1985, in […]

Key Terms
Aboriginal

Category: Aboriginal Rights

Through its mention in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the term “Aboriginal” has surged to heavy usage both in the legal sphere and in general Canadian English.[1] Aboriginal […]

Key Terms
Living Tree Doctrine

Category: Democratic Governance

The “living tree” doctrine refers to a method of constitutional interpretation that allows for Canada’s Constitution to change and evolve over time while still acknowledging its original intentions.[1] The doctrine achieves […]

Key Terms
Legal Rights

Category: The Charter, Legal Rights (Sections 7-14)

The legal rights section of the Charter guarantees the rights held by anyone investigated, detained or criminally charged, or who is faced with legal restrictions of any kind. Sections 8 through 14 […]

Key Terms
Judicial Review

Category: Democratic Governance

In Canada, as well as in many other constitutional democracies, there are two types of ‘judicial review’ – judicial review on administrative acts, and judicial review on the constitutionality of […]

Key Terms
Judicial Independence

Category: Democratic Governance

Introduction The judiciary is one of three branches of government in Canada: executive, legislative and judicial. Each of these branches has responsibilities rooted in Canada’s Constitution and history. Judicial independence is foundational […]

Key Terms
Watertight Compartments

Category: Federalism

This article was written by a political sciences student for the general public. ‘Watertight Compartments’ ‘Watertight compartments’ is an expression used to describe a particular vision of federalism. Also known […]

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