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Rights in Canada

Canadians have certain inalienable rights ensured by governments. Certain groups of people, often minorities and those who are considered vulnerable, often have specific rights, to ensure equity and equality. These rights, often as a result of advocacy efforts, give power to those who traditionally have not had it. These laws support the right of every person to dignity and respect.

In Canada, jurisdiction over human rights is shared between the federal and provincial governments. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees political and civil rights for Canadians, while forbidding discrimination. Provincially created human rights codes provide guarantees for citizens in that province and often a mechanism to fight human rights complaints. Some provinces have additional legislation for persons who need specific rights. For example, Manitoba’s Accessibility for Manitobans Act, Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act or Nova Scotia’s Act Respecting Accessibility in Nova Scotia gives special rights to persons with disabilities.

Internationally, there are codes and treaties to protect the rights of people. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations, set out, for the first time, a set of fundamental human rights that are universally protected.

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