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Getting Started: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

A guide to help form a basic understanding of the legislative pathway the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms underwent to be enacted as well as to help locate and identify legislative intent.

Online Materials

Conveniently, the Parliament of the United Kingdom has made their federal debates available through their website. The coverage of the UK federal debates from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords goes as far back as 1802. The session dates below link to the Hansard debates regarding the Canada Bill:

House of Commons:

22 December 1981– First Reading

22 January 1982 – Indigenous Peoples’ Petition read

11 Feb 1982[1]

16 Feb 1982

17 Feb 1982 – 2nd Reading commences

23 Feb 1982 – Committee Stage of the Bill

3 Mar 1982– Further progress in Committee on the Canada Bill

8 Mar 1982 – 3rd Reading and passage

29 March 1982– Royal Assent

 

House of Lords:

10 November 1981 – Status of Indigenous Peoples’ (Preliminary)

9 Mar 1982 – 1st Reading

18 Mar 1982 – 2nd Reading

23 March 1982– Committee Stage of the Bill

25 Mar 1982 – 3rd Reading and passage

29 March 1982– Royal Assent

And though not as extensive, Primary Documents.ca also has created an index which links to the British Parliamentary debates concerning the Canada Bill in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords:


[1] Please note that this reading was misfiled on the UK Parliament website under April 11 instead of February 11. Look to readings of “Business of the House” and “Canada Bill” for Hansards concerning the Charter.