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Rights for all

The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

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The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external website in a new window. sets out the fundamental values to which all of Québec society is committed to. This quasi-constitutional law unanimously adopted by the National Assembly in 1975, recognizes that all human beings are equal in worth and dignity.

The rights guaranteed in the Charter include, among others, the right to life, and to personal security, inviolability and freedom, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association and the right to respect for his private life. These are fundamental rights and freedoms.

Political rights (for example, the right to vote); judicial rights (for example, the right to be represented by a lawyer) social and economic rights (for example, the right to free public education) as well as the right to equality, the prohibition to discriminate all are rights protected under the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter also protects disabled persons and the elderly against all forms of exploitation.

 
 
 

The right to equality

The Charter recognizes that all human beings are equal in worth and dignity, and are entitled to equal protection of the law. Not withstanding their personal characteristics:

The right to equality protects all individuals from discrimination or discriminatory harassment.

 
 

No right is more important than another

One right does not trump another one in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which means there is no hierarchy of rights.

Thus, the right to equality between women and men has the same legal value than the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of conscience. Making one right more important than another would shatter the balance of rights. Human rights and freedoms are universal, indivisible and interdependent and make the Charter a coherent whole.

When there is a conflict between two rights (between the right to freedom of religion and gender equality, for example), courts consider the particular circumstances to strike a balance in line with the values of Charter.

Did you know?

Gender equality is affirmed in 3 different sections of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms: in its preamble, in section 10 and in section 50.1. However Québec society has yet to achieve real equality between men and women.

 
 

The scope of the protection of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

The Charter protects: 

  • Anyone in Québec, and not only those who have citizenship;
  • People in their interactions with institutions, businesses and service providers AND in their interactions with others.

For example a restaurant owner cannot turn away a client because he or she uses a wheelchair. Nor, can someone repeatedly insult his neighbour on account that he is a homosexual. All individuals are required to respect the rights of others in their social interactions.

Moreover, all fundamental rights and freedoms stated in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms must be interpreted taking into account:


This information complements the Commission’s comments published on October 17, 2013.

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