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History of the Charter | CDPDJ

History of the Charter

History of the Charter

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In the early 70s, Québec has no law to protect rights and freedoms. At the time, the Civil Code was used to defend human rights while several Canadian provinces had already started to develop specific legislation to address these issues. Founded in 1963, the Ligue des droits de l’homme — known today as the Ligue des droits et libertés This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. — campaigned and pressed the government to adopt legislation protecting rights and freedoms.

Several academics, including Paul-André Crépeau, Jacques-Yvan Morin, and Frank Scott, took part in drafting the bill.

  • On October 29, 1974, Justice Minister Jérôme Choquette responded to the Ligue des droits de l’homme’s requests and tabled Bill-50 before the National Assembly.
  • On June 27, 1975, the National Assembly voted unanimously to adopt the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The Charter established the Commission des droits de la personne.
  • On June 28, 1976, the Commission opened its doors and the Charter came into force.

International Instruments

International declarations and covenants setting forth the rights and freedoms of all human beings, have largely inspired the Québec Charter.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Adopted in 1948, in the wake of the Second World War, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)  This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. is regarded as the founding text of international human rights. Throughout its 30 sections, the UDHR universally recognizes the inherent fundamental rights and freedoms of every human being. It has also inspired numerous texts on rights and freedoms, including the Québec Charter.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Since its adoption in 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. recognizes the “classic” rights and freedoms protecting individuals against interference of the State. These rights and freedoms include the right to life, the right to equality, judicial rights, and freedom of expression. This covenant also gave rise to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. was adopted in 1966. Under this covenant, States have an obligation to act for the well-being of individuals through measures that ensure their rights to work, to housing to education and to higher standard of health. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights monitors the implementation of this covenant.

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Did you know?

We celebrated the 40th anniversary of the coming into force of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms in June 2015. To underline this event, a dedicated section was created on our site  and a special website CThis link will redirect you to an external website. presents 40 human rights defenders honoured by the Commission to mark this anniversary. (in French only)

In June 2003, the Commission released a report taking stock of the first 25 years of the Charter and made recommendations for the future:

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