Your rights under the Charter

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This video in French presents the Charter of Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external website which may present barriers to accessibility..

The Charter is a fundamental law that takes precedence over all laws in Québec.

Its main purpose is to foster harmonious interactions between people in Québec and between individuals and their institutions, including the Government.


The Charter guarantees to each individual in Québec:

  • You have the right to life, to personal security, integrity and freedom.

    For example, you have the right to be protected from threats and acts of aggression, whether physical or psychological.
  • You have the right to freedom of conscience and of religion.

    For example, you have the right to practice the religion of your choice or not to adhere to any belief or religion. Freedom of religion also means that the State cannot impose a religion on the population or favour one religion over another.
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  • You have the right to freedom of assembly and association.

    For example, you have the right to take part in a peaceful demonstration and you have a right to be a member of a union or an association.
  • You have the right to the safeguard of your dignity, of your honour and your reputation.

    For example, a person cannot publish false information about you.
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  • You have the right to have your privacy respected.

    For example, you have the right to protect your privacy as it relates to your home or your physical integrity, whether this involves the search of your home or the taking a blood sample without your consent.
  • You have a right to have information you provide to certain professionals, as part of their jobs, kept confidential.

    For example, information you provide to your doctor during a medical consultation are protected by professional secrecy.
                                      
                                      
                                           
                                           

You have the right to equality, which means that you cannot be excluded or treated differently than others because of your personal characteristics. That is discrimination.

For example, you cannot be denied employment, access to public transit or rental of an apartment based on the 14 prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Charter.

 

This same right to equality applies in cases of discriminatory harassment.

For example, the owner of your apartment cannot harass you because you are Black or a single parent.

 

                                               
                                               

You are protected against discrimination and discriminatory harassment based on these personal characteristics:

                                               
                                               
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  • You have the right to vote and to be a candidate in an election (as provided by law).

    For example, if you are 18 or over, a Canadian citizen and have been living in Québec for at least 6 months, you have the right to vote for your member at the National Assembly.
  • You have the right to present your views and demands in a petition to the National Assembly.

    For example, you have a right to sign a petition asking that a law you find unfair is changed or revoked.
                                           
                                           
  • You have a right to a fair and equitable trial if you are sued or accused of a crime.

    For example, the judge presiding your case must be impartial and unbiased. Except in specific cases, such as to protect children, hearings are public.
  • You cannot be subjected to unreasonable searches or your home searched without a warrant.

    For example, a police officer cannot search your purse without reason nor can he or she enter your home without a warrant.
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  • If you are arrested or detained, you must be treated with humanity and respect.

    For example, a police officer cannot use excessive force to arrest you.
  • You have the right to know why you are being arrested and the specific offence with which you are charged.

    For example, a police officer must inform you in a language you understand, why you are being arrested or detained.
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  • You have a right to be represented by a lawyer and to let your family know if you are arrested or detained.

    For example, as soon as you are arrested, a police officer must advise of your rights, including your right to be represented by a lawyer.
  • You have the right to a trial before the appropriate tribunal within a reasonable time if you are accused.

    For example, if your trial is unduly postponed or delayed, a judge could, depending on the circumstances, acquit you.
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  • If you are charged, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty and you have the right to remain silent during your trial..

    For example, a court will be required to acquit you if you have not been proven guilty. In addition, you have the right not to testify during your trial.
  • You have the right to be represented or assisted by a lawyer before a court and the right to ensure your full and complete defense, including the right to examine and cross-examine witnesses.

    For example, you have the right to know all the evidence against you before the trial begins and you or your lawyer have the right to ask questions to the witnesses of the prosecution.
                                           
                                           

These are examples. There are more judicial rights. To find out more, please see Chapter 1 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external website.

                                           
                                           
  • For example, you have a right to sign a petition asking that a law you find unfair is changed or revoked .

    For example, all decisions concerning a child must be based on his best interest to meet his or her moral, psychological, physical or economic needs.
  • Your child has a right to free public education (as provided by law).

    For example, until the age of 18, and 21 in case of disability, children and youth have the right to attend primary and secondary schools as well as colleges, free of charge.
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  • As a parent you have the right to give your children the religious and moral education in keeping with your convictions and with regard for the rights of your children and their interest.

    For example, your child can receive religious education from a priest, an imman or a rabbi.
  • As a member of an ethnic group, you have the right to develop your own cultural interests with members of your community.

    For example, you and other members of your ethnic group have the right to get together to celebrate a traditional holiday.
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  • You have the right to financial assistance and social measures provided by law if you are in need These measures must allow you to have a decent standard of living.

    For example, you have a right to support measures to ensure that your family has sufficient food and adequate clothing and housing.
  • You have the right to fair and reasonable working conditions.

    For example, your working conditions must comply with the laws and respect your health as well as your safety.
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  • You and your spouse, whether married or in a civil union, have the same rights, duties and obligations.

    For example, together you and your spouse must provide for the material and financial needs of your family. Together you have the right to choose the names of your children or to consent to the medical care they require.
  • Elderly people or people with disabilities have a right to be protected from exploitation.

    For example, you cannot take advantage of the vulnerability of elderly or disabled people by taking their money, isolating them or cause them physical or psychological injuries.
                                           

These are examples. There are more economic and social rights. To find out more, please see Chapter 4 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external website. or this information page.

                                           
                                           

Another law, the Canadian Human Rights Act This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. applies to situation involving federal institutions, such as:

  • The federal public service
  • Banks
  • Telecommunication companies such as the CBC, CTV, etc.
  • Air, rail or sea transportation services such as Air Canada, Via Rail, etc.

In a case of discrimination involving one of these institutions, contact the Canadian Human Rights Commission This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window..

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