The 40th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 

Proclaimed on April 17, 1982 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Charter has played an important role in addressing the inequalities in Canada and defining the values of Canadians.

The document was borne with the objective of ensuring that all Canadians live a life without discrimination of any kind. 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, meanwhile, of the Charter also recognized and protected the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Queen and Trudeau signing Charter of  Rights and Freedoms

Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms: Panel Discussion

In our History of Social Change Conversation: Looking back, looking forward, a panel of legal scholars and practitioners discuss the evolving role of the Charter, its strengths and limitations and the important role it plays in their work. The panelists then highlight the Charter cases they believe hold particular significance on how Canadians live their lives, before examining the controversial Notwithstanding Clause, its challenges, and whether it’s being used according to its original intention.

Adam Dodek - Bio

Adam Dodek is a law professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. He has taught  Public Law, Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Torts, and a seminar on the Supreme Court of Canada. He served as Vice Dean Research from 2012-14 and as Dean of the Common Law Section from 2018 until June 2021.

Professor Dodek is the author of more than 50 academic articles and book chapters. He has authored or co-edited ten books in his areas of research interest: public law, the legal profession, the judiciary and legal ethics. His book The Canadian Constitution was named by The Hill Times as one of the Best 100 Books in Politics, Public Policy and History of that year. His book The Charter Debates: The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution, 1980-81 and the Making of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was published by U of T Press in 2018.

Jamie Cameron - Bio

Jamie Cameron is Professor Emerita of Osgoode Hall Law School, where she was a full-time member of faculty since 1984. Over the years, she has taught and written widely on a variety of constitutional and public law issues, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, freedom of expression and the press, US constitutional law, judicial biography, and criminal law.  She has extensive publication and editorial experience, including the Board of Editors for Ontario Reports (since 1990); she is a past editor in chief of Osgoode Hall Law Journal and an editor or co-editor of more than twelve books. Her professional service includes the Board of Directors and Advisory Board for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (for over 25 years), BC Civil Liberties Association, Centre for Free Expression, and Harry Crowe Foundation. She was a member of the Ontario Review Board (2013-2022) and Nunavut Review Board (since 2018), both of which are adjudication boards dealing with mentally disordered criminal offenders.

Cara Zwibel - Bio

Cara Zwibel is the Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). She has been with the CCLA in other roles since 2010 and prior to that practiced in commercial litigation, public law and health law at a national law firm.

Cara graduated from McGill University in 2001 with an Honours degree in Political Science and received her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2004. She articled as a law clerk to the Honourable Justice Ian Binnie at the Supreme Court of Canada before being called to the Ontario bar in 2005. Cara also received her Master of Laws degree from New York University, as an Arthur T. Vanderbilt Scholar.

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