Law of Canada

The Canadian legal system has its foundation in the English common law system, inherited from being a former colony of the United Kingdom and later a Commonwealth Realm member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The legal system is bi-jurisdictional, as the responsibilities of public (includes criminal) and private law are separated and exercised exclusively by Parliament and the provinces respectively. Quebec, however, still retains a civil system for issues of private law (as this domain falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces).

Both legal systems are subject to the Constitution of Canada. The federal government has jurisdiction over certain exclusive domains which are regulated exclusively by Parliament, as well as all matters and disputes between provinces. These generally include interprovincial transport (rail, air and marine transport) as well as interprovincial trade and commerce (which generally concerns energy, the environment, agriculture). The criminal law is an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction, and has its origins in the English common law. Prosecutions of most criminal offences are conducted by the provincial Attorneys General, acting under the Criminal Code.

Canada recognizes only three levels of government with sovereignty, arising from heritage, common law and the constitution: federal, provincial/territorial and indigenous. All other forms of government, including municipal governments, must receive their powers through delegation, making municipal, local and regional governments creatures of sovereign governments.

Constitution of Canada

British North America Act, 1867
Cover of the Constitution Act, 1867

Canada's constitution is its supreme law, and any law passed by any federal, provincial, or territorial government that is inconsistent with the constitution is invalid.[1]

The Constitution Act, 1982 stipulates that Canada's constitution includes that act, a series of thirty acts and orders referred to in a schedule to that act (the most notable of which is the Constitution Act, 1867), and any amendment to any of those acts.[2] However, the Supreme Court of Canada has found that this list is not intended to be exhaustive, and in 1998's Reference re Secession of Quebec identified four "supporting principles and rules" that are included as unwritten elements of the constitution: federalism, democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and respect for minorities.[3] While these principles are an enforceable part of Canada's constitution, Canadian courts have not used them to override the written text of the constitution, instead confining their role to "filling gaps".[4]

Because the Constitution Act, 1867 provides that Canada's constitution is "similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom",[5] which is considered to be an uncodified constitution, the Supreme Court has also recognized the existence of constitutional conventions. In 1981's Reference re a Resolution to amend the Constitution, the Court provided three factors necessary for the existence of a constitutional convention: a practice or agreement developed by political actors, a recognition that they are bound to follow that practice or agreement, and a purpose for that practice or agreement. It also found that, while these conventions are not law and are therefore unenforceable by the courts, courts may recognize conventions in their rulings.[6]

Every Canadian Needs A Copy
Copies of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Constitution Act, 1867 assigns powers to the provincial and federal governments. Matters under federal jurisdiction include criminal law, trade and commerce, banking, and immigration.[7] The federal government also has the residual power to make laws necessary for Canada's "peace, order and good government".[8] Matters under provincial jurisdiction include hospitals, municipalities, education (except education on First Nation reserves), and property and civil rights.[7][9]

The Constitution Act, 1867 also provides that, while provinces establish their own superior courts, the federal government appoints their judges.[10] It also gives the federal Parliament the right to establish a court system responsible for federal law and a general court of appeal to hear appeals of decisions of both federal and provincial courts.[11] This last power resulted in the federal Parliament's creation of the Supreme Court of Canada, which is, despite its role as supreme arbiter of all Canadian law, a creation of simple, rather than constitutional, statute.[12]

The Constitution Act, 1982 created a mechanism by which Canada's constitution could be amended by joint action of federal and provincial governments; prior to 1982, it could be amended only by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[13] It also created the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which grants individual rights which may not be contravened by any provincial or federal law.[14]

Legislation

Acts passed by the Parliament of Canada and by provincial legislatures are the primary sources of law in Canada. Sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 enumerate the subject matters upon which either level of government (federal and provincial) may legitimately enact legislation.

Laws passed by the federal government are initially announced in the Canada Gazette, a regularly published newspaper for new statutes and regulations.[15][16] Federal bills that receive Royal Assent are subsequently published in the Annual Statutes of Canada. From time to time, the federal government will consolidate its current laws into a single consolidation of law known as the Revised Statutes of Canada.[17] The most recent federal consolidation was in 1985.

Laws passed by the provinces follow a similar practice. The Acts are pronounced in a provincial gazette, published annually and consolidated from time to time.

The Revised Statutes of Canada is the federal statutory consolidation of statutes enacted by the Parliament of Canada. In each Canadian province, there is a similar consolidation of the statute law of the province. The Revised Statutes of British Columbia, Revised Statutes of Alberta, Statutes of Manitoba, Revised Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1978, Revised Statutes of New Brunswick, Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, Statutes of Prince Edward Island, Consolidated Statutes of Newfoundland and Labrador, Revised Statutes of Ontario, and Revised Statutes of Quebec are the statutory consolidations of each Canadian province. They contain all of the major topic areas and most of the statutes enacted by the governments in each province. These statutes in these provinces do not include criminal law, as the criminal law in Canada is an exclusive jurisdiction of the federal Parliament, which has enacted the Criminal Code, which is included in the Revised Statutes of Canada.

Legal traditions

Common law

All provinces and territories within Canada, follow the common law legal tradition.[18] Equally, courts have power under the provincial Judicature Acts to apply equity.

As with all common law countries, Canadian law adheres to the doctrine of stare decisis.[19] Lower courts must follow the decisions of higher courts by which they are bound. For instance, all Ontario lower courts are bound by the decisions of the Ontario Court of Appeal and, all British Columbia lower courts are bound by the decisions of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. However, no Ontario court is bound by decisions of any British Columbia court and no British Columbia court is bound by decisions of any Ontario court. Nonetheless, decisions made by a province's highest court (provincial Courts of Appeal) are often considered as "persuasive" even though they are not binding on other provinces.[20]

Only the Supreme Court of Canada has authority to bind all courts in the country with a single ruling.[21] The busier courts, such as the Court of Appeal for Ontario, for example, are often looked to for guidance on many local matters of law outside the province, especially in matters such as evidence and criminal law.

When there is little or no existing Canadian decision on a particular legal issue and it becomes necessary to look to a non-Canadian legal authority for reference, decisions of English courts and American courts are often utilized.[22] In light of the long-standing history between English law and Canadian law, the English Court of Appeal and the House of Lords are often cited as and considered persuasive authority, and are often followed.[22] If the legal question at issue relates to matters of constitutional or privacy law, however, decisions of United States courts are more likely to be utilized by Canadian lawyers because there is a much greater body of jurisprudence in U.S. law than English law in these areas.

Decisions from Commonwealth nations, aside from England, are also often treated as persuasive sources of law in Canada.

A major difference between U.S. and Canadian common law is that Canada does not follow the doctrine of Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins (1938), and this is so taken for granted that the Supreme Court of Canada has never needed to actually rule upon the question.[23] In other words, there is no distinction in Canada between federal and provincial common law, and the Supreme Court can and does dictate common law directly to the provinces on all matters traditionally encompassed by common law (to the extent not superseded by legislation).[23] From the American perspective, Canadian federalism is thus relatively incomplete, since Canada continues to operate as a unitary state with respect to common law (and is truly federal only as to statutory law).[23]

Due to Canada’s historical connection with the United Kingdom, decisions of the House of Lords before 1867 are technically still binding on Canada unless they have been overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, and Canada is still bound by the decisions of the Privy Council before the abolishment of appeals to that entity in 1949.[24] In practice, however, no court in Canada has declared itself bound by any English court decision for decades, and it is highly unlikely that any Canadian court will do so in the future.[24]

Criminal offences are found only within the Criminal Code and other federal statutes; an exception is that contempt of court is the only remaining common law offence in Canada.[25]

Civil law

For historical reasons, Quebec has a hybrid legal system. Private law follows the civil law tradition, originally expressed in the Coutume de Paris as it applied in what was then New France.[26] Today, the jus commune of Quebec is codified in the Civil Code of Quebec. As for public law, it was made that of the conquering British nation after the fall of New France in 1760, that is the common law. It is important to note that the distinction between civil law and common law is not based on the division of powers set out in the Constitution Act, 1867. Therefore, legislation enacted by the provincial legislature in matters of public law, such as the Code of Penal Procedure, should be interpreted following the common law tradition. Likewise, legislation enacted by the federal Parliament in matters of private law, such as the Divorce Act, is to be interpreted following the civil law tradition and in harmony with the Civil Code of Quebec.

Areas of law

Aboriginal law

Aboriginal law is the area of law related to the Canadian Government's relationship with its Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit). Section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 gives the federal parliament exclusive power to legislate in matters related to Aboriginals, which includes groups governed by the Indian Act, different Numbered Treaties and outside of those Acts.[27]

Administrative law

Canadian administrative law is the body of law that addresses the actions and operations of governments and governmental agencies.[28]

Contract law

Individual provinces have codified some principles of contract law in a Sale of Goods Act, which was modeled on early English versions. Outside of Quebec, most contract law is still common law, based on the rulings of judges in contract litigation over the years. Quebec, being a civil law jurisdiction, does not have contract law, but rather has its own law of obligations.[29]

Constitutional law

Constitutional law is the area of Canadian law relating to the interpretation and application of the Constitution of Canada by the Courts.[30] This is represented in the Constitution Act, 1867, Constitution Act, 1982 and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Copyright law

Copyright law of Canada governs the legally enforceable rights to creative and artistic works under the laws of Canada.[31]

Criminal law

CanadianCriminalCases2
Canadian Criminal Cases collection

Criminal law in Canada falls under the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the federal government. The power to enact criminal law is derived from section 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867.[32] Most criminal laws have been codified in the Criminal Code, as well as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act, and several other peripheral Acts.

The provinces are responsible for the administration of justice, including criminal trials within their respective provinces, despite their inability to enact criminal laws.[33] Provinces do have the power to promulgate quasi-criminal or regulatory offences in a variety of administrative and other areas, and every province has done so with myriad rules and regulations across a broad spectrum.[34]

Evidence law

The Canada Evidence Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada, first passed in 1893, that regulates the rules of evidence in court proceedings under federal law.[35] Each province also has its own evidence statute, governing the law of evidence in civil proceedings in the province.

Family law

Family law in Canada concerns the body of Canadian law dealing with family relationship, marriage, and divorce.[36] The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over the substance of marriage and divorce. Provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over the procedures surrounding marriage. Provinces also have laws dealing with marital property and with family maintenance (including spousal support).

Human Rights Law

There are currently four key mechanisms in Canada to protect human rights: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and provincial human rights laws and legislation.[37]

Immigration and refugee law

Canadian immigration and refugee law concerns the area of law related to the admission of foreign nationals into Canada, their rights and responsibilities once admitted, and the conditions of their removal.[38] The primary law on these matters is in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Indigenous Legal Traditions

Canada was founded on the original territories of over 900 different Indigenous groups' countries, each using different Indigenous legal traditions. Cree, Inuit, Blackfeet, Métis, Mi'kmaq and numerous other First Nations will apply their own legal traditions in daily life, creating contracts, working with governmental and corporate entities, ecological management and criminal proceedings and family law. Most nations maintain their laws through traditional governance alongside the elected officials and federal laws.[39] The legal precedents set millennia ago are known through stories and derived from the actions and past responses as well as through continuous interpretation by elders and law-keepers–the same process by which near all legal traditions, from common laws and civil codes, are formed.

While the many legal traditions appear similar in that none were codified, each country has quite different sets of laws. Many laws stem from stories which in turn may stem from writings or markings, such as geographic features,[40] petroglyphs, pictographs, wiigwaasabakoon and more. Inuit Nunangat's governance[41] differs quite markedly from its many-nationed neighbour Denendeh, as Denendeh's diverse Dene Laws[42] differ quite markedly from laws governing Lingít Aaní,[43][44] Gitx̱san Lax̱yip[45] or Wet'suwet'en Yin'tah;[46] and, as those countries' laws differ from Haudenosaunee's,[47] Eeyou-Istchee's or Mi'kma'ki's. One thing most First National legal and governance traditions have in common is their use of clans such as Anishinaabek's doodeman (though most are matrilineal like Gitx̱san's Wilps[48]).

Inheritance law

Inheritance law in Canada is constitutionally a provincial matter. Therefore, the laws governing inheritance in Canada are legislated by each individual province.

Insolvency law of Canada

The Parliament of Canada has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate matters relating to bankruptcy and insolvency, by virtue of s.91 of the Constitution Act, 1867. It has passed some statutes as a result, i.e., The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act ("BIA") and the Winding-Up and Restructuring Act (which essentially applies only to financial institutions under federal jurisdiction). In applying these statutes, provincial law has important consequences. Section 67(1)(b) of the BIA provides that "any property that as against the bankrupt is exempt from execution or seizure under any laws applicable in the province within which the property is situated and within which the bankrupt resides" is not divisible among their creditors.[49] Provincial legislation under the property and civil rights power of the Constitution Act, 1867 regulates the resolution of financial difficulties that occur before the onset of insolvency.

Labour and employment law

Canadian labour law is that body of law which regulates the rights, restrictions obligations of trade unions, workers and employers in Canada. Canadian employment law is that body of law which regulates the rights, restrictions obligations of non-unioned workers and employers in Canada.[50] Most labour regulation in Canada is conducted at the provincial level by government agencies and boards. However, certain industries under federal regulation are subject solely to federal labour legislation and standards.

Patent law

Canadian patent law is the legal system regulating the granting of patents for inventions within Canada, and the enforcement of these rights in Canada.[51]

Procedural law

The functioning of the Courts is regulated by the laws of civil procedure which are codified in each province's civil procedures rules.

Property law

Property law in Canada is the body of law concerning the rights of individuals over land, objects, and expression within Canada. It encompasses personal property, real property, and intellectual property.[52]

Tort law

Tort law in Canada concerns the treatment of the law of torts within the Canadian jurisdiction excluding Quebec, which is covered by the law of obligations. [53]

Trademark law

Canada's trademark law provides protection for distinctive marks, certification marks, distinguishing guises, and proposed marks against those who appropriate the goodwill of the mark or create confusion between different vendors' goods or services.[54]

Judicial system

Canada Court System
Canadian court system (Source Canadian Department of Justice)

Under the Constitution Act, 1867, the federal Parliament and the provincial legislatures both have the constitutional authority to create courts: Parliament under s. 101, and the Provinces under s. 92(14).[55] However, the federal power to create courts is much more limited than the provincial power. The provincial courts have a much more extensive jurisdiction, including the constitutionally entrenched power to determine constitutional issues.

The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. Parliament created it by Act of Parliament in 1875, as a "general court of appeal for Canada".[56] Prior to 1949, cases could be appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, and some cases bypassed the Supreme Court of Canada entirely.[56]

Other than the Supreme Court, the Canadian court system is divided into two classes of courts:[57] superior courts of general jurisdiction, and courts of limited jurisdiction, sometimes referred to as inferior courts. The superior courts, created and maintained by the provinces, are divided into superior courts of original jurisdiction and superior courts of appeal. These courts are sometimes also referred to as "Section 96" courts, in reference to s. 96 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which grants the federal government the power to appoint the judges of these courts.[10] As courts of general jurisdiction, the provincial superior courts of original jurisdiction have jurisdiction over all matters, under both federal and provincial law, unless the matter has been assigned to some other court or administrative agency by a statute passed by the appropriate legislative body. The superior courts of original jurisdiction have an extensive civil jurisdiction, under both federal and provincial laws. Under the Criminal Code, a federal statute, they have jurisdiction over the most serious criminal offences, such as murder.[58] They also hear appeals from the Provincial Courts in criminal matters and some civil matters. A further appeal normally lies to superior court of appeal, the highest court in each province.[59]

The provinces also can establish courts of limited jurisdiction, whose jurisdiction is limited solely to what is included in the statutory grant of jurisdiction. These courts are often called "Provincial Courts", even though the superior courts established by the provinces are also provincial courts. The Provincial Courts have an extensive criminal jurisdiction under the Criminal Code, a federal statute, and also typically have a limited civil jurisdiction in matters under provincial jurisdiction, such as small claims and some family matters. The judges of the Provincial Courts are appointed by the provincial governments.[60]

There are also additional federal courts established by Parliament, which have a specialised jurisdiction in certain areas of federal law. These courts are the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Tax Court of Canada, and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada.

See also

References

  1. ^ Richard W. Bauman; Tsvi Kahana (2006). The Least Examined Branch: The Role of Legislatures in the Constitutional State. Cambridge University Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-139-46040-8.
  2. ^ Craik 94
  3. ^ Craik 96
  4. ^ Craik 98
  5. ^ Frederick Lee Morton (2002). Law, Politics and the Judicial Process in Canada. University of Calgary Press. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-55238-046-8.
  6. ^ Craik 105
  7. ^ a b OECD (2007). Linking Regions and Central Governments Contracts for Regional Development: Contracts for Regional Development. OECD Publishing. p. 173. ISBN 978-92-64-00875-5.
  8. ^ Munroe Eagles; Larry Johnston (2008). Politics: An Introduction to Modern Democratic Government. University of Toronto Press. p. 262. ISBN 978-1-55111-858-1.
  9. ^ Craik 125
  10. ^ a b Patrick N. Malcolmson; Richard Myers (2009). The Canadian Regime: An Introduction to Parliamentary Government in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-4426-0047-8.
  11. ^ Craik 127
  12. ^ Craik 127–128
  13. ^ Craik 131
  14. ^ Craik 119
  15. ^ Statutory Instrument Act
  16. ^ "Canada Gazette - About Us". Gazette.gc.ca. 2010-06-09. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  17. ^ Legislation Revision and Consolidation Act
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  24. ^ a b Frederick Lee Morton (2002). Law, Politics and the Judicial Process in Canada. University of Calgary Press. p. 389. ISBN 978-1-55238-046-8.
  25. ^ A Compendium of Law and Judges
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  29. ^ Simon N. M. Young (2009). Civil Forfeiture of Criminal Property. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-84844-621-2.
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  32. ^ Michelle G. Grossman; Julian V. Roberts (2011). Criminal Justice in Canada: A Reader. Cengage Learning. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-17-650228-7.
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  35. ^ Canada; James Crankshaw (1910). The Criminal Code of Canada and the Canada Evidence Act as Amended to Date. Carswell Company. p. intro.
  36. ^ Malcolm C. Kronby (2010). Canadian Family Law. John Wiley and Sons. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-470-67647-9.
  37. ^ Alan Price (2007). Human Resource Management in a Business Context. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 391. ISBN 978-1-84480-548-8.
  38. ^ John Powell (2009). Encyclopedia of North American Immigration. Infobase Publishing. p. 362. ISBN 978-1-4381-1012-7.
  39. ^ Aseniwuche Winewak Nation; University of Victoria Law; Indigenous Bar Associations; Law Foundation of Ontario; Truth and Reconciliation Commission. "Accessing Justice and Reconciliation: A Cree Legal Summary". Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  40. ^ Ignace, Marianne; Ignace, Ronald E (October 2017). Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws - Yerí7 re stsq̓ey̓s-kucw. Secwepemcúl̓ecw, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 624. ISBN 9780773551305.
  41. ^ "Who We Are". Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᐱᕇᑦ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ. Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᐱᕇᑦ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  42. ^ Smith, Shirleen (1999). "Dene Treaties, Anthropology and Colonial Relationships". University of Alberta Department of Anthropology. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  43. ^ "Tlingit Law, American Justice and the Destruction of Tlingit Villages". Vimeo. Sealaska Heritage InstituteP. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  44. ^ Williams, Jackie. "Lingit kusteeyì: What my Grandfather taught me". Taku River Tlingit Place Names. Taku River Tlingit First Nation. Retrieved 24 December 2018. A Tlingit history as recounted by Jackie Williams, Wolf Clan Leader, Taku River Tlingit First Nation
  45. ^ "Our Way: The Traditional System Today". Gitxsan. Gitx̱san Nation. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  46. ^ "Wet'suwet'en People". Unist'ot'en Camp. Unist'ot'en. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
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  48. ^ "Our Way: The Wilp". Gitxsan. Gitx̱san Nation. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  49. ^ http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/b-3/page-23.html#h-26
  50. ^ "Acts and Regulations". Archived from the original on 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  51. ^ Thomas F. Cotter (21 March 2013). Comparative Patent Remedies: A Legal and Economic Analysis. Oxford University Press. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0-19-984065-6.
  52. ^ Stuart C. McCormack (1999). Intellectual Property Law of Canada. Juris Publishing, Inc. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-57823-070-9.
  53. ^ Jean Louis Baudouin; Allen M. Linden (2010). Tort Law in Canada. Kluwer Law International. ISBN 978-90-411-3373-1.
  54. ^ Borden Ladner Gervias LLP (2011). Trade-Mark Practice in Canada. Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-9730750-5-2.
  55. ^ Augustus Henry Frazer Lefroy (2005). Canada's Federal System: Being a Treatise on Canadian Constitutional Law Under the British North America Act. The Lawbook Exchange. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-58477-591-1.
  56. ^ a b Ian Bushnell (1997). The Federal Court of Canada: A History, 1875-1992. University of Toronto Press. pp. 234–237. ISBN 978-0-8020-4207-1.
  57. ^ Peter H. Russell (2007). Canada's Trial Courts: Two Tiers Or One?. University of Toronto Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-8020-9323-3.
  58. ^ Michel Proulx; David Layton (2001). Ethics and Canadian criminal law. Irwin Law. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-55221-044-4.
  59. ^ International Business Publications, USA (2008). Canada Company Laws and Regulations Handbook. Int'l Business Publications. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-4330-6959-8.
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Bibliography

  • Craik, Neil; Forcese, Craig; Bryden, Philip; Carver, Peter; Haigh, Richard; Ratushny, Ed; Sullivan, Ruth, eds. (2006). Public Law: Cases, materials, and commentary. Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited. ISBN 1-55239-185-X.

Further reading

External links

Canadian Bill of Rights

The Canadian Bill of Rights (French: Déclaration canadienne des droits) is a federal statute and bill of rights enacted by the Parliament of Canada on August 10, 1960. It provides Canadians with certain rights at Canadian federal law in relation to other federal statutes. It was the earliest expression of human rights law at the federal level in Canada, though an implied Bill of Rights had already been recognized in the Canadian Common Law.The Canadian Bill of Rights remains in effect but is widely acknowledged to be limited in its effectiveness because it is a federal statute only, and so not directly applicable to provincial laws. These legal and constitutional limitations were a significant reason that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was established as an unambiguously-constitutional-level Bill of Rights for all Canadians, governing the application of both federal and provincial law in Canada, with the patriation of the Constitution of Canada in 1982. Since patriation, its usefulness at federal law in Canada is mostly limited to issues pertaining to the enjoyment of property, as set forth in its section 1(a)]—a slightly-broader "life, liberty, and security of the person" right than is recognized in Section Seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (French: La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés), in Canada often simply the Charter, is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of the government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights. The Charter was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II of Canada on April 17, 1982, along with the rest of the Act.

The Charter was preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights, which was enacted in 1960. However, the Bill of Rights is only a federal statute, rather than a constitutional document. As a federal statute, it can be amended through the ordinary legislative process and has no application to provincial laws. The Supreme Court of Canada also narrowly interpreted the Bill of Rights and the Court was reluctant to declare laws inoperative. The relative ineffectiveness of the Canadian Bill of Rights motivated many to improve rights protections in Canada. The movement for human rights and freedoms that emerged after World War II also wanted to entrench the principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The British Parliament formally enacted the Charter as a part of the Canada Act 1982 at the request of the Parliament of Canada in 1982, the result of the efforts of the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

One of the most notable effects of the adoption of the Charter was to greatly expand the scope of judicial review, because the Charter is more explicit with respect to the guarantee of rights and the role of judges in enforcing them than was the Bill of Rights. The courts, when confronted with violations of Charter rights, have struck down unconstitutional federal and provincial statutes and regulations or parts of statutes and regulations, as they did when Canadian case law was primarily concerned with resolving issues of federalism. The Charter, however, granted new powers to the courts to enforce remedies that are more creative and to exclude more evidence in trials. These powers are greater than what was typical under the common law and under a system of government that, influenced by Canada's parent country the United Kingdom, was based upon Parliamentary supremacy. As a result, the Charter has attracted both broad support from a majority of the Canadian electorate and criticisms by opponents of increased judicial power. The Charter only applies to government laws and actions (including the laws and actions of federal, provincial, and municipal governments and public school boards), and sometimes to the common law, not to private activity.

Canadian Multiculturalism Act

The Canadian Multiculturalism Act (the Act) is a law of Canada, passed in 1988, that aims to preserve and enhance multiculturalism in Canada.

Canadian property law

Property law in Canada is the body of law concerning the rights of individuals over land, objects, and expression within Canada. It encompasses personal property, real property, and intellectual property. Unlike many other first world countries, the right to own property is not included in Canada's bill of rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Personal property laws are typically governed by provincial legislation such as the provincial Sale of Goods Acts. Likewise, the common law rules inherited from the United Kingdom are largely still in force.

Real property law is likewise a matter of provincial legislation with the incorporation of English common law rules.

Intellectual property, as with most common law countries, remains entirely based in federal statute; however, there are common-law economic torts related to intellectual property, e.g., passing off. Canada tried to take the middle road between the United Kingdom and the United States in many of their intellectual property laws. Copyright law and trademark law in Canada was initially based on the English legislation but has since incorporated many changes from the US model and other places. Canadian patent law, however, was initially based on US legislation but has typically favored the application of UK case law.

Constitution Act, 1867

The Constitution Act, 1867 (originally enacted as The British North America Act, 1867, and referred to as the BNA Act) (the Act) is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system. The British North America Acts, including this Act, were renamed in 1982 with the patriation of the Constitution (originally enacted by the British Parliament); however, it is still known by its original name in United Kingdom records. Amendments were also made at this time: section 92A was added, giving provinces greater control over non-renewable natural resources.

Constitution Act, 1982

The Constitution Act, 1982 is a part of the Constitution of Canada. The Act was introduced as part of Canada's process of patriating the constitution, introducing several amendments to the British North America Act, 1867, including re-naming it the Constitution Act, 1867. In addition to patriating the Constitution, the Constitution Act, 1982 enacted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; guaranteed rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada; provided for future constitutional conferences; and set out the procedures for amending the Constitution in the future.

This process was necessary because, after the Statute of Westminster, 1931, Canada decided to allow the British Parliament to temporarily retain the power to amend Canada's constitution, on request from the Parliament of Canada. In 1981, the Parliament of Canada requested that the Parliament of the United Kingdom remove that authority from the UK. The passing of the UK's Canada Act 1982 in March 1982 confirmed the Patriation of the Constitution and transferred to Canada the power of amending its own Constitution.On April 17, 1982, Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, as well as the Minister of Justice, Jean Chrétien, and André Ouellet, the Registrar General, signed the Proclamation which brought the Constitution Act, 1982 into force. The proclamation confirmed that Canada had formally assumed authority over its constitution, the final step to full sovereignty.As of 2019, the government of Quebec has never formally approved of the enactment of the act, though the Supreme Court concluded that Quebec's formal consent was never necessary. Nonetheless, it has remained a persistent political issue in Quebec. The Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords were designed to secure approval from Quebec, but both efforts failed to do so.

Copyright law of Canada

The copyright law of Canada governs the legally enforceable rights to creative and artistic works under the laws of Canada. Canada passed its first colonial copyright statute in 1832 but was subject to imperial copyright law established by Britain until 1921. Current copyright law was established by the Copyright Act of Canada which was first passed in 1921 and substantially amended in 1988, 1997, and 2012. All powers to legislate copyright law are in the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada by virtue of section 91(23) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Criminal law of Canada

The criminal law of Canada is under the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada. The power to enact criminal law is derived from section 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Most criminal laws have been codified in the Criminal Code, as well as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act and several other peripheral statutes.

Deposition (law)

A deposition in the law of the United States, or examination for discovery in the law of Canada, involves the taking of sworn, out-of-court oral testimony of a witness that may be reduced to a written transcript for later use in court or for discovery purposes. Depositions are commonly used in litigation in the United States and Canada. They are almost always conducted outside court by the lawyers themselves, with no judge present to supervise the examination.

Depositions developed in Canada and the United States in the nineteenth century. Depositions are a part of the discovery process in which litigants gather information in preparation for trial. In nations that do not provide for depositions, testimony is usually preserved for future use by way of live testimony in the courtroom, or by way of written affidavit. Some jurisdictions recognize an affidavit as a form of deposition, sometimes called a "deposition upon written questions." While in common law jurisdictions such as England and Wales, Australia, and New Zealand recording the oral evidence of supporting witnesses ('obtaining a statement') is routine during pre-litigation investigations, having the right to pose oral questions to the opposing party's witnesses before trial is not.

George-Étienne Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier, 1st Baronet, (pronounced [ʒɔʁʒ etjɛn kaʁtje]; September 6, 1814 – May 20, 1873) was a Canadian statesman and Father of Confederation.

The English spelling of the name—George, instead of Georges, the usual French spelling—is explained by his having been named in honour of King George III.

In the years leading up to Confederation, Cartier was a dominant figure in the politics of Canada East as leader of the Parti bleu. In 1838 he returned to Montreal after a year in exile for his role in the Lower Canada Rebellion. He officially entered politics in 1848. During his long career he promoted the establishment of the Civil Code as the formal law of Canada East, instead of sole use of common law as was present in Canada West. He also promoted the introduction of primary education in the province. Cartier had several reasons for supporting Confederation, notably his fear of American expansion. He died in London, England, on May 20, 1873.

Insolvency law of Canada

The Parliament of Canada has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate matters relating to bankruptcy and insolvency, by virtue of s.91 of the Constitution Act, 1867. It has passed the following statutes as a result:

The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act ("BIA")

The Companies' Creditors Arrangements Act ("CCAA")

The Farm Debt Mediation Act

The Wage Earner Protection Program Act

The Winding-Up and Restructuring Act (which essentially applies only to financial institutions under federal jurisdiction) In applying these statutes, provincial law has important consequences. Section 67(1)(b) of the BIA provides that "any property that as against the bankrupt is exempt from execution or seizure under any laws applicable in the province within which the property is situated and within which the bankrupt resides".

Provincial legislation under the property and civil rights power of the Constitution Act, 1867 regulates the resolution of financial difficulties that occur before the onset of insolvency. Notable legislation is in effect for governing:

creation of security interests (with notable caveats)

absconding debtors

bulk sales (in Ontario only)

fraudulent conveyances

relief of creditors

seizure of assets

assignments and preferences

Land ownership in Canada

Land ownership in Canada is held by governments, Indigenous groups, corporations, and individuals. Canada is the second-largest country in the world by area; at 9,093,507 km² or 3,511,085 mi² of land (and more if fresh water is not included) it occupies more than 6% of the Earth's surface. Since Canada uses primarily English-derived common law, the holders of the land actually have land tenure (permission to hold land from the Crown) rather than absolute ownership.

Landlord and Tenant Board

The Landlord and Tenant Board (formerly the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal) is an adjudicative tribunal operated by the government of Ontario that provides dispute resolution of landlord and tenant matters under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.

List of Canadian constitutional documents

The Constitution of Canada is a large number of documents that have been entrenched in the constitution by various means. Regardless of how documents became entrenched, together those documents form the supreme law of Canada; no non-constitutional law may conflict with them, and none of them may be changed without following the amending formula given in Part V of the Constitution Act, 1982.

The constitution includes legislation that was specifically written as constitutional documents, statutes that have become entrenched since their original creation, some ancient treaties and royal proclamations, unwritten procedures adopted from the British parliamentary system of government, and unwritten underlying values.

The oldest Canadian constitutional documents were enacted before Confederation, and originated from the English or British government. Those documents were received—along with many subconstitutional laws—into the law of Canada and its provinces by means of section 129 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867). Between Confederation in 1867 and patriation in 1982, the United Kingdom enacted some Canadian constitutional documents by means of the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 and the Statute of Westminster, 1931, most notably the British North America Acts. During this time, Canada also passed a small number of constitutional documents for itself. After patriation, all new constitutional documents were passed by the Parliament of Canada and the Legislatures of its provinces.

After patriation, the methods of constitutional entrenchment are:

specific mention as a constitutional document in section 52(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982;

amendments to constitutional documents using the amending formula in Part V the Constitution Act, 1982;

in some cases, reference by an entrenched document;

ruling by a court that a practice is part of Canada's unwritten constitution; or

judicial interpretation of constitutional provisions.The list of documents for the first two methods is well-established. For the next two, however, there is debate about which documents, or which parts of those documents, are included in the constitution. In some cases, the Supreme Court of Canada has made definitive rulings regarding whether a given documents forms part of the constitution, but in many cases the question is still unclear.

National Building Code of Canada

The National Building Code of Canada is the model building code of Canada. It is issued by National Research Council Canada. As a model code, it has no legal status until it is adopted by a jurisdiction that regulates construction.

Rent control in Ontario

Rent control in Ontario refers to a system of rent regulation in Ontario, Canada which limits the amount by which the rent paid by tenants for rental accommodation can increase.

Succession to the Throne Act 1937

The Succession to the Throne Act (1 Geo. VI, c.16) (the Act) is the act of the Canadian parliament that ratified the Cabinet's consent to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, an act of the United Kingdom parliament that allowed Edward VIII to abdicate and pass the throne to George VI. However, it was the Canadian government's request and consent, and not the Succession to the Throne Act, that gave the British Act of Parliament effect in and made it part of the law of Canada, as per section 4 of the Statute of Westminster 1931, which allowed the British parliament to legislate for the Dominions only with their agreement.

Superintendent of Bankruptcy

The Superintendent of Bankruptcy is a Canadian government position charged to ensure that bankruptcies and insolvencies in Canada are conducted in a fair and orderly manner.

Whether you are a debtor (you owe money), a creditor (you are owed money) or a trustee (someone who administers bankruptcies and insolvencies), our goals are equally simple: to make the bankruptcy and insolvency process easier for you to understand and provide you with the information you need to best manage your situation.

Wage Earner Protection Program Act

The Wage Earner Protection Program Act (S.C. 2005, c. 47, s.1), (the Act) is an Act of the Parliament of Canada. It was part of a package of reforms to the insolvency law of Canada that were brought into force in 2008 and 2009 to compensate employees of companies made bankrupt or placed into receivership under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. It was subsequently expanded in 2011 to cover employees who lose their jobs when their employer's attempt at restructuring subsequently ends in bankruptcy or receivership.

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