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The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

People who live in Canada also have certain rights that are protected by a law called the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter). Some of these rights and freedoms are:

  • They can follow their religion
  • They can speak freely
  • They can join any social or political groups
  • They can talk to a lawyer if they are arrested
  • If they are charged with a criminal offence, they will get a fair trial and are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty
  • They will not be given a cruel or unusual punishment if they go to jail
  • They will be treated equally under the law, without discrimination. This means that they cannot be discriminated against because of their age, their sex, the place they were born, their religion, their sexual orientation (like gay, bisexual, or straight), their marital status (single, married or living together), or if they have a mental or physical disability

The Charter is very important in criminal law. It affects all areas of criminal law, like how the police investigate a crime, making sure the trial is fair, and giving reasonable sentences.