Under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which of part of Canada's Constitution Act of 1982), all Canadian residents benefit from protected civil rights, and Canadian citizens have additional protected political rights. Here are some highlights of what is guaranteed and protected under the Charter:
- Fundamental Freedoms (for everyone living in Canada): Freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of expressions, freedom of belief, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and freedom of peaceful assembly.
- Democratic Rights (for Canadian citizens): Right to engage in political activities, right to vote.
- Mobility Rights (for Canadian citizens): Right to leave and enter the country, to live in any province or outside of Canada.
- Legal Rights (for everyone living in Canada--these pertain to law enforcement and the judicial system): Right to life, liberty, and security, right from unreasonable seizure and search, right to legal representation, freedom from arbitrary imprisonment or detainment, right to an interpreter in court, right against self-incrimination, right to be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, and freedom from unjust punishment or treatment.
- Equality Rights (for everyone living in Canada): Equal protection and treatment under the law without discrimination.
- Language Rights (for everyone living in Canada): Right to communicate in either French or English (Canada's two official languages) with all branches of the federal government.
- Minority Language Education Rights (for Canadian citizens): Rights for individuals to receive instruction in their first language (either French or English) if they are living in a community where their first language is in the minority.