UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
 
You are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
 


 

Canada

Constitution as adopted 29 March 1867 and modified up to 17 April 1982.

Constitution Act, 1867

Article 133

    Either the English or the French language may be used by any person in the debates of the Houses of the Parliament of Canada and of the Houses of the Legislature of Quebec; and both those languages shall be used in the respective records and journals of those Houses; and either of those languages may be used by any person or in any pleading or process in or issuing under this Act, and in or from all or any of the courts of Quebec.

    The Acts of Parliament of Canada and of the Legislature of Quebec shall be printed and published in both those languages.

Constitution Act, 1982

Article 14

    A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.

Article 16

    1. English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada.

    2. English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the legislature and government of New Brunswick.

    3. Nothing in this Charter limits the authority of Parliament or a legislature to advance the equality of status or use of English and French.

Article 17

    1. Everyone has the right to use English or French in any debates and other proceedings of Parliament.

    2. Everyone has the right to use English or French in any debates and other proceedings of the legislature of New Brunswick.

Article 18

    1. The statutes, records and journals of Parliament shall be printed and published in English and French and both language versions are equally authoritative.

    2. The statutes, records and journals of the legislature of New Brunswick shall be printed and published in English and French and both language versions are equally authoritative.

Article 19

    1. Either English or French may be used by any person in, or in any pleading in or process issuing from, any court established by Parliament.

    2. Either English or French may be used by any person in, or in any pleading in or process issuing from, any court established by New Brunswick.

Article 20

    1. Any member of the public in Canada has the right to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any head or central office of an institution of the Parliament or government of Canada in English or French, and has the same right with respect to any other office of any such institution where (a) there is a significant demand for communications with and services from that office in such language; or

    (b) due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable that communications with and services from that office be available in both English and French.

    2. Any member of the public in New Brunswick has the right to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any office of an institution of the legislature or government of New Brunswick in English or French.

Article 21

    Nothing in sections 16 to 20 abrogates or derogates from any right, privilege or obligation with respect to the English and French languages, or either of them, that exists or is continued by virtue of any other provision of the Constitution of Canada.

Article 22

    Nothing in sections 16 to 20 abrogates or derogates from any legal or customary right or privilege acquired or enjoyed either before or after the coming into force of this Charter with respect to any language that is not English or French.

Article 23

    1. Citizens of Canada: (a) whose first language learned and still understood is that of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province in which they reside, or

    (b) who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province, have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language in that province.

    2. Citizens of Canada of whom any child has received or is receiving primary or secondary school instruction in English or French in Canada, have the right to have all their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in the same language.

    3. The right of citizens of Canada under subsections (1) and (2) to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of a province:

    (a) applies wherever in the province the number of children of citizens who have such a right is sufficient to warrant the provision to them out of public funds of minority language instruction; and

    (b) includes, where the number of those children so warrants, the right to have them receive that instruction in minority language educational facilities provided out of public funds.

Article 55

    A French version of the portions of the Constitution of Canada referred by the Minister of Justice of Canada as expeditiously as possible and, when any portion thereof sufficient to warrant action being taken has been so prepared, it shall be put forward for enactment by proclamation issued by the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada pursuant to the procedure then applicable to an amendment of the same provision of the Constitution of Canada.

Article 56

    Where any portion of the Constitution of Canada has been or is enacted in English and French where a French version of any portion of the Constitution is enacted pursuant to section 55, the English and French versions of that portion of the Constitution are equally authoritative.

Article 57

    The English and French versions of this Act are equally authoritative.

Note: The complete text of the Constitution and further information on the constitutional background of Canada are provided by the International Constitutional Law Project at the University of Bern.


To MOST Clearing House Homepage