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The Charter came into effect under the Canada Act which repatriated the Canadian Constitution in 1982. It enshrined individual rights and brought them under judicial review rather than parliamentary review. It was recognized that all Canadians have the right to have the Supreme Court examine cases where rights may have been violated or laws are believed to violate individual rights.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of the government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights.
The Charter was preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights, which was enacted in 1960. However, the Bill of Rights is only a federal statute, rather than a constitutional document. As a federal statute, it can be amended through the ordinary legislative process and has no application to provincial laws. The Supreme Court of Canada also narrowly interpreted the Bill of Rights and the Court had been reluctant to declare laws inoperative. The relative ineffectiveness of the Canadian Bill of Rights motivated many to improve rights protections in Canada. The movement for human rights and freedoms that emerged after World War II also wanted to entrench the principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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