Section Sixteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Section Sixteen Of The Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms

Section Sixteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

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Section Sixteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the first of several sections of the Charter dealing with Canada's two official languages, English and French. Section 16 declares that English and French are the official languages of Canada and of the province of New Brunswick.

Text

Under the heading "Official Languages of Canada", the section reads:



Function

This section sets out general principles that are expanded in sections 16.1 to 22. Section 16 itself expands upon language rights in the Constitution Act, 1867; whereas section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 merely allowed for both languages to be used in Parliament and in the Quebec legislature, and in some courts, section 16 goes further by allowing bilingualism in the federal and New Brunswick bureaucracies, and in the New Brunswick legislature.Hogg, Peter W. Constitutional Law of Canada. 2003 Student Ed. Scarborough, Ontario: Thomson Canada Limited, 2003. This was not entirely new, as Canada's Official Languages Act had provided for this at the federal level since 1969, and New Brunswick had similar legislation. Those laws, however, were merely statutes, and section 16 thus made some of their key aspects into constitutional principles.

Judicial interpretation

Subsections 16(1) and 16(2)

It has not been easy to understand how section 16 can be applied. In Société des Acadiens v. Association of Parents (1986), Chief Justice Brian Dickson made...
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