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Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Decisions

Category: Democratic Governance

Courts of appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada have multiple judges deciding together on the same case. Sometimes there can be more than one decision included in the case. […]

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 Charter even apply? Section 32 of the Charter explains who

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 who feel they are being wrongfully detained. Upon application, the

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 other provinces. However, it is important to distinguish clearly between

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 declaring them. Some go on to designate their official languages

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 guaranteed, “subject only to such reasonable limits . . .

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 provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2

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 resources are sold largely in interprovincial and international markets. In

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 to live and work in a location of your choosing,

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 which the government of Quebec made a series of proposals

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 is an inclusive term, covering various peoples with ties to

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 a balance between two seemingly contradictory goals: predictability and flexibility.

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 of the Charter[1] protect procedural legal rights. These rights explain what state agents such

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 legislation. Both types of ‘judicial review’ are based on the

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