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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

  • Sharpe, R. & Roach, K., The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Irwin Law, 2021). KF 4483 .C519 S53 2021e / 2nd floor Practice Collection; also available on vLex in the library

Used independently or in tandem with the debates, this text complements 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.

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. 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.

  • Laskin, J. & Greenspan, E., Canadian Charter of Rights Annotated (Canada Law Book Inc., 1982). KF 4483. C518 C3198 1982e / 2nd floor Practice Collection; also available on Proview in the library

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 through to enactment.

Section & Subject-specific Resources

  • Gold, A., Lacy, M. & Metcalfe, L., A Practical Guide to the Charter: Section 10(b) (LexisNexis Canada, 2020). KF 9646 G65 2020e / 2nd floor Practice Collection; also available on Lexis+™ in the library
    • Same authors have analogous guide to s. 11(b), in print and online

CPD Materials

  • Atkinson, P. & Laidlaw, C. (Chairs), 21st Annual Charter Conference (OBA CPD, 2022). KF 4483 .C519 O583 2022 / 1st floor Stacks; digital version available in the library (see staff)

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. 

‚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.