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Limitations clause

The Limitations clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Clause One) limits the rights of citizens and all those present in Canada or otherwise under Canadian jurisdiction as follows:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. (emphasis added)

This limitation on rights has been used in the last twenty years since 1982 when the Charter was adopted to prevent a variety of objectionable conduct such as hate speech and obscenity. It has and can be been used to protect the unreasonable interference of government in the lives of people in a free and democratic society.

See Oakes test for the judicial analysis that is undetaken if a law is contested under this clause.



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