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Chapter: Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

Topic: The Rights of a Canadian Citizen

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The Rights of Canadian Citizens

The rights of every Canadian citizen can be traced to 1215 during the signing of the Magna Carta – a royal charter of rights also referred to as (The great Charter of Freedoms). This marked the beginning of an 800-year-old ordered liberty tradition enjoyed by Canadians. The rights include;

  • Freedom of religion and conscience
  • Freedom of opinion, belief, thought, and expression. Includes freedom of speech and freedom of the press
  • Freedom of association
  • Freedom of peaceful assembly
  • Right to challenge unlawful arrest and detention

Habeas corpus. The origins can be traced to English common law.


In 1982, the Canadian constitution was amended to include the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms which stresses on the significance of religious traditions and human dignity in Canadian society. The amendment acknowledges the fact that Canada is founded on principles cognisant about God’s supremacy and rule of law. The Charter of Rights & Freedoms summarizes fundamental freedoms and highlights additional rights, the most notable being;

Multiculturalism: A significant characteristic of Canadian identity and heritage. Canadians celebrate one another and respect pluralism. They also go to great lengths to live in harmony.


Mobility Rights: All Canadians have the right and freedom to visit, live and work anywhere in Canada. They have the right to acquire a Canadian passport and leave/enter Canada freely.


Aboriginal Peoples’ Rights: Aboriginal peoples have certain rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms. These rights can’t be adversely affected by any other rights, treaties or freedoms of others/Aboriginal peoples.


Official Language & Minority Language Rights: English and French have the same status throughout government and in parliament.