Federal Law

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The  Charter is a Canadian federal law that forms a part of the Canadian Constitution. It protects certain Human Rights. But such protection is not extended to private activity. It protects only against laws and actions of governments that infringe political and civil rights.

The Canadian Human Rights Act

This Act extends throughout Canada but only to federally regulated activities. It promotes Freedom from discrimination by:

  • The federal government and its ministries;
  • All arms of the federal government including the R.C.M.P. the Employment Insurance Commission and Canada Post;
  • Telecommunications providers regulated by the CRTC;
  • All inter-provincial transporters such as Air Canada, Via Rail and Greyhound Lines of Canada;
  • Chartered banks (but not credit unions); and
  • Unions attached to the above.

Because the the Act seeks to promote equal opportunity, it prohibits discrimination on 11 separate grounds:

  • Race
  • National or ethnic origin
  • Colour
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Sex (includes protection for males and females, sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and transgendered discrimination)
  • Sexual orientation (includes protection for heterosexual, bi- sexual and homosexual individuals)
  • Marital status and family status (includes protection if married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or in a common law relationship)
  • Disability
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

Provincial and International Laws also serve to protect the human rights of British Columbians.