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Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

From Academic Kids

The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms of the Province of Quebec, Canada was introduced by the then Liberal government of Robert Bourassa through the Quebec Minister of Justice, Jerome Choquette. The Charter was the result of many years of a legal and political work which began under Premier Daniel Johnson. The legislation was passed by the National Assembly of Quebec on June 27, 1975 and became effective on June 28, 1976. This framework law is part of the Quebec Statutes together with other quasi-constitutional laws such as the Charter of the French Language and the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information.

  • Part I defines the fundamental human rights of all Quebecers. It contains 5 chapters defining fundamental freedoms and rights, political rights, judicial rights, economic and social rights, and interpretative provisions.
  • Part II establishes the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Commission) which is an institution responsible for promoting and upholding the principles of the Charter by any appropriate measures.
  • Part IV defines rights to confidentiality.
  • Part V defines regulations the Government may adopt.
  • Part VI establishes the Human Rights tribunal.

Comparison With other Human Rights Instruments

The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is called quasi-constitutionnal because no provision of any other act passed by the Quebec National Assembly can derogate from its sections, unless such act expressly states that it applies despite the Charter. Indeed, the complete impossibility to adopt derogating laws would be incompatible with Parliamentary sovereignty, a fundamental principle in political systems following the British tradition. As a fundamental supra-legislative text of law, the charter is the most significant tool a Canadian province can give itself.

The Quebec Charter is one that covers the fundamental human rights and also some important political, social, and economic rights not always protected in western democracies. The protections contained in the Charter are inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The extent of the rights covered by the Quebec charter makes it one of the most progressive human rights laws in the world.

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