McGuinty Government Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of The Charter of Rights And Freedoms



    Charter Adopted In 1982 As Part Of The Canadian Constitution

    TORONTO, April 17 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is proud to be
celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms, Attorney General Michael Bryant said today.
    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees fundamental
freedoms such as equality and mobility, as well as the democratic rights of
citizens. It also guaranteed for the first time official French language
education rights. The Charter was drafted by the government of Prime Minister
Pierre Trudeau as part of the constitutional amendments made in 1982.
    "The Charter is the foundation of our society's most cherished rights,"
said Bryant. "Its principles are a vital force, protecting the rights and
freedoms of everyone living in this country."
    The Charter guarantees that everyone enjoys freedom of religion, freedom
of expression, including freedom of the press, freedom of association and
freedom of assembly. It also states that no one can be denied the right to
life, liberty and security of the person except in accordance with the
principles of fundamental justice. The Charter also protects the right to
vote, the right to be treated equally before and under the law, and many other
political and civil rights.
    A 2002 survey commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies found
that 82 per cent of Canadians believe that the Charter has had a major
positive impact on the protection of their rights and freedoms. Furthermore,
81 per cent believe that the Charter has become an important symbol of
Canadian identity.
    The McGuinty government is dedicated to upholding the principles and
rights enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Many recent
initiatives support that commitment, including:

    
    -   Passing the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, modernizing and
        strengthening Ontario's human rights system by implementing a new
        complaints process whereby individual claims are filed directly with
        the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
    -   Proposing increased funding to Legal Aid Ontario by $51 million over
        three years in the 2007 budget, helping to provide additional legal
        services for vulnerable Ontarians, including women and children
    -   Promoting barrier free courts by establishing a new Ontario Courts
        Accessibility Committee in collaboration with Chief Justice Roy
        McMurtry, helping to improve access for people with disabilities
    -   Ensuring that same-sex couples are treated with the same respect and
        dignity as opposite-sex couples by amending 73 statutes to use
        gender-neutral language and to remove gender-specific terms like
        same-sex partner, husband and wife and widow and widowers
    -   Appointing 65 judges and 74 full-time presiding justices of the peace
        to the Ontario Court of Justice since October 2003, helping to ensure
        that Ontario's courts have adequate resources in order to operate
        efficiently and effectively. In the 2007 budget, the McGuinty
        government announced funding to hire an additional 30 justices of the
        peace.
    

    "The Charter plays a vital role in ensuring access to justice for all
Ontarians," added Bryant. "The McGuinty government remains committed to
ensuring that the Charter and its underlying principles are upheld in all of
our programs, policies and initiatives."

    Disponible en français

    
                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Greg Crone, Ministry of the Attorney General,
Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210

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