The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was established as a result of the Constitution Act of 1982. Its precursor was the Canadian Bill of Rights, dated 1960. The Charter was enacted to guarantee basic human and civil rights for the people of Canada. The earlier protectionism treaty, the Bill of Rights, had been deemed largely ineffective because as the Bill of Rights stood in 1982, it could be easily amended by Parliament and did not have to be adopted by each provincial governing body; in effect it held no legal power. As a constitutional document, The Charter only applies to laws and actions of the government, not to personal private activity. Rights protected by The Charter include: the right to freedom of speech, a presumption of innocence and the right to habeas corpus. Many of these were assumed, or implied rights, based on human civility, but prior to enactment of The Charter, they could not be legally enforced.
[...] As will be discussed throughout the bulk of this paper, many of the arguments against reasonable accommodation are based at least in part on elements of xenophobia and racism, overtly or passively. Though Canada may have been founded by essentially two cultures (Aboriginal Canadians notwithstanding) this is clearly no longer the case and hence the law must shift in order to facilitate the genuine needs of new face of Canadians today. It would not be responsible for the government of Canada to choose grant minorities greater protection. [...]
[...] The intention was to promote an understanding and acceptance of multiple cultures, in Canadian society. Under the act effort would be exuded to sponsor the participation of minority groups within provincial and federal government as well as outside of their isolated communities. (Glassford, 2005) The policy, and the later adopted multiculturalism act, is great examples of Canada's static conception of government. The conception being that societal behavior and government must grow as the country and her people continuously evolves. It can be said that government has had to advocate a "living tree" conception of the Canadian Constitution. [...]
[...] As Dickinson and Dolmage (1996) write, the policy of pluralism “presupposes the maintenance of the cultural identity of ethnic groups through either passive tolerance by or active support of the state.” Canada has chosen the latter, actively proposing to support the individualistic qualities and rights of ethnic groups within the greater whole. While a debate rages in the United States regarding affirmative action, Canada has established a similar policy, tailored to the nations needs, individualized as a union of ethnicities, not a melting pot of assimilated cultures. [...]
[...] Included in the newly penned Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was Section 15, the outline on Reasonable Accommodation. Section 15 and its subsections demanding that a protection of human and cultural rights be extended to Canada's various groups of ethnic minorities. Under the Charter, which as outlined above, ensured the basic rights of all Canadians, section 15 extends these rights to ethnic minorities. It states that accommodation be made for ethnic minorities, in essence, it is an anti- discrimination law. [...]
[...] A mix of ethnicities, languages, and cultures can co-exist within the greater Canadian society, as the population has grown in accordance with this national make-up and the government has continued to acknowledge all that all should be protected. Canada's policies are not without fault. Some cultural historians have argued that Canada's inclusion of cultural groups, remaining segmented, has encouraged immigrants to impose segregation unto themselves; thus, never becoming actual members of their adopted nation. Multiculturalism, inclusion of which as is demanded by the government, grew out of Canada's growing non-native born population. [...]
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