1. The legislative forerunner to the Charter was the Bill of Rights. What were its limitations? Is the
Bill of Rights still relevant legislation today?
The Bill of Rights was a significant legislative precursor to the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. Enacted in 1960, the Bill of Rights aimed to protect fundamental rights and freedoms,
including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to a fair trial. However, the Bill of
Rights had limitations that led to the creation of the more comprehensive Charter of Rights and
Freedoms in 1982.
Limitations of the Bill of Rights:
Limited Scope: The Bill of Rights only applied to federal laws and actions, leaving provincial laws
and actions outside its purview. This meant that provincial governments were not bound to
uphold the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Lack of Enforceability: Unlike the Charter, the Bill of Rights lacked the "supreme law of the land"
status. This meant that courts could not strike down laws that contradicted the Bill of Rights.
While courts could indicate that a law was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights, they couldn't
Absence of Remedies: The Bill of Rights did not provide clear remedies for individuals whose
rights were violated. This limited its effectiveness in safeguarding rights.
Relevance of the Bill of Rights today:
While the Bill of Rights has been largely overshadowed by the Charter, some of its principles and
concepts have influenced Canadian law and jurisprudence. Some provisions from the Bill of Rights,
such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion, continue to be protected by the Charter.
Moreover, the Bill of Rights played a crucial role in shaping the country's commitment to human
rights and laying the foundation for the more robust protections provided by the Charter.
6. What is the significance of section 35 - Aboriginal Rights - being situated outside of the Charter
provisions? Does this mean that government cannot infringe on Aboriginal rights?
The placement of section 35 - Aboriginal Rights - outside of the Charter provisions holds significant
legal and symbolic implications. This section recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and treaty
rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Its location outside the Charter reflects the distinct nature of
these rights and the unique relationship between the Canadian government and Indigenous
Significance of Section 35:
Recognition of Indigenous Rights
: Section 35 explicitly acknowledges the rights that Indigenous
peoples had prior to European contact. It recognizes their historical and ongoing presence on the
land and their distinct cultural, social, and political identities.
Protection from Infringement
: While section 35 does not provide an absolute prohibition against
government actions that might infringe on Aboriginal rights, it requires that any infringement be
justified according to a strict legal test. This test includes considerations of the government's
fiduciary duty towards Indigenous peoples and the goal of reconciliation.
: Section 35 reflects Canada's commitment to reconciliation and
partnership with Indigenous communities. It highlights the government's duty to consult and,