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Getting Started: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

A guide to help form a basic understanding of the legislative pathway the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms underwent to be enacted as well as to help locate and identify legislative intent.

Secondary Sources

The Great Library has a significant collection of secondary source material relating to the Charter and the 1982 Constitution Act which may serve as solid platforms for substantive research. Here are a few sources we have found most helpful in conducting Charter research:  

Texts / Loose-leafs

This item acts as a helpful guide to the many documents involved with the patriation of Canada, the Constitution Act of 1982—Charter included—and the history of its amendments. Covering materials onward from 1960, this item examines the meaning of the language and provisions of the Charter in all its forms. Comprised of original documents, this item allows a chronological snapshot of the meetings, correspondence and drafts that were produced during the constitutional negotiation which spanned over two decades.

KF 4483 .C519 C48 2018 (1st Floor, Stacks)

Used independently or in tandem with the debates, this text acts as a helpful guide to the Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada. It provides context to the debates by outlining the historic process of patriation in Canada and by breaking down and analyzing the major topics discussed.

KF 4483. C518 C3198 (2nd Floor, Practice Collection)

Not only does this text provide an annotation to the Charter, it also annotates other related legislation such as: the Canadian Bill of Rights, the American Bill of Rights and various international conventions. This text also provides a legislative history of the 1982 Constitution Act from its beginnings to enactment.

CPD Materials

  • Krajewska, E. & Simmons, N. (Chairs). 17th Annual Charter Conference (OBA CPD, Charter Conference, 2018)

       KF 4483 .C519 O583 2018 (1st Floor, Stacks)

This CPD series is produced annually by the Ontario Bar Association and explores essential updates concerning the Charter. More specifically, the Charter Conference series provides overviews of recent developments in Charter jurisprudence and practice. Some highlights of the 17th Annual Charter Conference include: articles concerning the notable Charter cases of the year and recent developments in freedom of religion, pay equity and search and seizure in the Digital Age.

  • McInnes, J. & Presser, J. (Chairs). Criminal Law and the Charter (LSUC CPD, 2016)

KF 9620 .ZA2 L393 2016b (1st Floor, Stacks)

‚ÄčThis CPD program produced by the Law Society of Upper Canada reviews recent developments in relation to the Charter and criminal law. Program topics include: alternative section 24(1) Charter remedies, court sanctioned unreasonable delay and the procedure surrounding Charter motions.