The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out basic liberties that must be respected by Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments. It is the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982, which was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom and gave Canada full control over its own constitution. The Constitution Act, 1982, including the Charter, was signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on 17 April 1982.
This is the complete English text of the Charter as transcribed by the Department of Justice Canada. The handout is designed with classroom needs in mind. The text is set in easy-to-read, 11-point type. Lines of text are numbered for easy reference in classroom discussion. A lined section on the right side of the page provides space for the reader to take notes. (These lines use the same spacing as college-ruled notepaper.) An introduction (the same as the first paragraph above) provides brief context and background to the reader. Margin notes from the Department of Justice transcript are retained as headers, to aid the reader in finding specific passages and to explain what they mean. Several footnotes, adapted from the Department of Justice’s footnotes on the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, provide additional information on various passages in the Charter. The document’s title as well as country and year of publication are clearly indicated. The handout is optimized for black-and-white printing and to save printer/photocopier ink/toner to reduce your printing costs.