Message from the Governor General on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

April 17, 2022

Ottawa, Ontario—This year, we mark the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On April 17, 1982, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the Constitution Act, 1982, which patriated the Constitution of Canada. This is one of our nation’s greatest achievements.

For the first time in our country’s history, our rights and freedoms were enshrined in our constitution. The charter was ingrained in the very fabric of our society, the underlying building blocks of our country.

It outlined, among others, our guaranteed rights related to official languages, democracy, equality and multiculturalism, as well as our legal rights to life, liberty and personal security.

Section 25 of the Charter, alongside Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, also clarified, recognized and protected the rights of Indigenous peoples, with particular regard to preserving their culture, customs, traditions and languages. This legal acknowledgement is one vital piece for reconciliation.

But the work did not end 40 years ago. We are still, all of us, striving to create a truly equal country, one where diverse communities are treated with respect and understanding. Where we all have equal opportunities for success. Where we can all contribute to reconciliation, which is not one single piece of legislation, nor an undertaking with an end date.

As we mark this important anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to acting and working together to create a more inclusive society and world, regardless of the challenges we may face.

Mary Simon

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office

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