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TITLE:  CANADA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                         CANADA


Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a federal 
parliamentary form of government.  Representatives in the 
multiparty political system are elected by universal suffrage 
at local, provincial, and federal levels.  The Constitution 
defines government responsibilities and is subject to 
interpretation by an independent judiciary.

Elected civilian officials control the federal, provincial, and 
municipal police forces which are responsible for national and 
local law enforcement, and the armed forces, which have no role 
in domestic law enforcement except in strictly defined national 
emergencies.

Canada has an open economic system which encourages private 
ownership, investment, and entrepreneurship.  Workers benefit 
from laws regulating acceptable working conditions and, except 
for uniformed members of the armed forces, are guaranteed 
freedom of association.

Canadians enjoy, in law and in practice, a wide range of 
freedoms and individual rights as enumerated in the Charter of 
Rights and Freedoms, which was appended to Canada's revised 
Constitution in 1982.  Principal complaints of human rights 
abuses arise in the areas of discrimination against nonwhite 
minorities, Aboriginals, and women.  The Constitution and laws 
provide avenues for legal redress of such abuses, and the 
Government and private organizations seek to ensure that human 
rights are respected in practice at all levels of society.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no politically motivated or other extrajudicial 
killings.  See the report on Somalia for allegations of abuse 
by Canadian peacekeepers in Somalia.

     b.  Disappearance

Secret arrest, clandestine detention, and politically motivated 
disappearance did not occur.


     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Torture and ill-treatment are prohibited by law, and are 
generally not practiced.  Reports of the use of excessive force 
by police declined in 1993.  Past incidents, which often (but 
not always) involved nonwhite minorities, continued to strain 
relations between minority communities and the police.  In 
Montreal, a multiracial and independent police ethics committee 
(composed of one officer and two civilians) continued its 
investigation of a 1991 shooting, in which a previous inquiry 
determined that "a totally unacceptable level of racism" 
existed in the Montreal Urban Community Police (MUC).  The 
committee had not reported its conclusions by year's end.

During 1993 several police departments took steps to redress 
the problem of violence against minorities.  The MUC began 
mandatory cultural awareness seminars for its officers, Toronto 
police implemented a policy requiring a written use of force 
report for each time an officer draws a weapon in public, and 
the Halifax and Montreal police instituted affirmative action 
programs to increase minority representation on the force.

Native groups complained of cultural insensitivity and 
harassment by police officers.  The Canadian Government 
instituted training programs for officers with a view to 
preventing future incidents.  The British Columbia provincial 
government's Commission on Native Issues continued to study 
specific allegations of law enforcement abuses against natives 
of the Chilcotin Band.

Prisons are open to independent monitoring by human rights 
groups and the media.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, and this 
prohibition is respected in practice.  Arrest warrants are 
issued by judicial authorities, and suspects are charged before 
a justice of the peace (for minor offenses) or a judge within 
72 hours of their arrest.

A 1988 law authorizes the Government to take special measures, 
including the suspension of civil liberties, to ensure safety 
and security during national emergencies.  The 1939 Official 
Secrets Act prohibits the private possession, distribution, and 
publication of information deemed prejudicial to the interests 
of the State and provides that persons under suspicion may be 
arrested without a warrant.  There were no such arrests in 1993.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system is based on English common law at the 
federal level and in most provinces.  In the Province of 
Quebec, the judicial system is based on the Napoleonic Code.  
Judges in Canada are appointed.  In criminal trials, the law 
provides for a presumption of the defendant's innocence and the 
right to a public trial, counsel (free for indigents), and 
appeal.  In 1993 judges made infrequent use of their power to 
close courtrooms to the media in order to protect victims 
(particularly children) and to guarantee fair and impartial 
hearings.  One such effort, however, raised the issue of 
freedom of the press versus the right to a fair trial and 
caused considerable controversy (see Section 2.a.).  The 
overwhelming majority of trials, including military 
courts-martial, remained open to the public and the media.

The Official Secrets Act provides that trials involving 
classified government information be held in secret, with 
certain presumptions in favor of the State.  Prosecutions under 
this statute are extremely rare, and convictions are hard to 
sustain on appeal.

There are no political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

Canadians are afforded strong legal protection from arbitrary 
interference under the Constitution, and federal and provincial 
governments generally do not interfere with an individual's 
basic rights without due process.  Intrusive searches may be 
carried out only when there is a reasonable basis for presuming 
that the person is involved in criminal activity.  Police 
officials face judicial penalties if they abuse a person's 
privacy without first obtaining a judicial search warrant.  No 
such penalties were imposed in 1993.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and press is provided for by the Constitution 
and generally respected in practice.  A ruling by an Ontario 
judge banning news reports about a trial concerning a 
particularly grisly murder case prompted considerable debate 
about how to balance the right of a defendant to a fair trial 
with freedom of the press.  The judge imposed the ban in an 
effort to ensure jury impartiality.  Several Canadian 
organizations filed suit to overturn the ban, while other media 
have defended the ban.

Restrictive decisions by provincial film censorship boards and 
laws prohibiting certain forms of hate literature and 
pornography are exceptions to these freedoms.  Canadian customs 
authorities have been known to confiscate sexually explicit 
material and items deemed to be hate propaganda.  Some civil 
libertarians have criticized such actions on freedom of 
information grounds.  Some feminist groups regard sexually 
explicit material as degrading to women and stimulating 
violence against women.  The Canadian Human Rights Act makes it 
illegal to make repeated communications by telephone which 
expose a person or people to hatred or contempt.  Minority 
language and cultural rights are protected by the Constitution.

Laws in the Province of Quebec restricting the public display 
of any non-French-language signs were amended in 1993.  
Bilingual commercial signs are now permitted, as long as the 
French version is "clearly predominant."  The provincial 
government issued regulations on specific aspects of the sign 
laws in December.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of assembly and freedom of association are guaranteed 
by the Constitution.  Permits are not required for meetings.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

There is complete freedom of religion.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

There are no restrictions on movement within or outside Canada, 
including the rights of emigration and repatriation.  Canada 
continues to be a haven for many refugees and displaced 
persons.  In 1992 Canada tightened its generous refugee law in 
an attempt to limit entry to the asylum system to legitimate 
applicants and to simplify dealings with persons whose claims 
have been determined to be unfounded.  Concerns expressed by 
minority advocacy groups that the new process would 
systematically discriminate against nonwhite refugees proved 
unfounded, according to some prominent human rights groups.

Canada was praised by several women's groups after it granted 
refugee status to a woman on the grounds that she would face 
persecution in her own country because of her gender.  The 
Immigration Review Board subsequently released new guidelines 
for such cases.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Canada is governed by federal and provincial governments which 
are freely elected by secret ballot through universal 
suffrage.  The Governor General is the Queen of Canada's 
representative as Head of State.  In practice, power is 
exercised by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, who usually 
are elected members of the 295-seat House of Commons.  
Legislative elections at the federal and provincial levels must 
be held at least every 5 years, and these often result in a 
transfer of power to opposition parties.  Voter participation 
rates are high.

The most recent federal election, held on October 25, was 
contested by three national and several regional parties.  Led 
by Jean Chretien, the opposition Liberal Party emerged 
victorious with a substantial parliamentary majority.

Debate on such fundamental matters as constitutional change and 
provincial secession from Canada are open and routine.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Canada has a wide variety of private human rights organizations 
which operate freely.  The Canadian Human Rights Commission and 
its provincial counterparts investigate and seek to resolve 
complaints of discrimination and abuses of civil rights in 
public and private cases.

Canada has a good record of cooperation with outside 
investigations of alleged human rights abuses.  In 1990 the 
Government allowed international monitoring of a standoff 
between police and natives near Montreal.


In 1993 the United Nations Human Rights Committee declared that 
Quebec's French-only sign law violated freedom of expression.  
The Government of Quebec altered the law to allow for the use 
of English on commercial signs (in conjunction with French).

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Food, shelter, health care, and education are available to all 
inhabitants regardless of race, religion, sex, ethnic 
background, or political opinion.  Article 15 of the Charter of 
Rights and Freedoms guarantees equal benefits and protection of 
the law regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, color, 
religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.  These 
rights are generally respected in practice, but Canada's 
multicultural society continues to experience some problems of 
discrimination.

Non-French speakers in Quebec continued to face difficulties in 
1993.  With few exceptions, Quebec law still requires 
immigrants to educate their children in French.  Law 86, which 
amended the Province's language law in 1993, did not 
significantly broaden access to English-language schooling.  
The Province argues that the education and sign laws protect 
French language and culture, but those who prefer English 
resent these restrictions.  Because of the atmosphere 
engendered by the language laws and a perceived lack of 
economic opportunity in Quebec for those whose mother tongue is 
not French, many young English-speakers born there have left 
the Province.

     Women

Federal and provincial governments, the private sector, and 
women's groups have been effective in keeping the issue of 
family violence, and in particular, violence against women, in 
the forefront of Canada's social agenda.  On July 29 the 
Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women published an extensive 
study on the issue and a list of 494 recommendations, which 
were under review by the Government at year's end.  The 
report's survey figures, which are the subject of dispute among 
social scientists, indicated that over 50 percent of women 
surveyed had experienced a rape or attempted rape.

Federal and provincial governments and nongovernmental 
organizations have attempted to address the problem of family 
violence by funding various educational and preventive 
programs.  The press has given wide coverage to studies of 
spousal violence against women.  Television advertisements and 
publicity campaigns have targeted the abuse of women and 
children within families.  Police forces have taken a greater 
interest in the handling of incidents of conjugal violence.  

Women are well represented in the labor force, including 
business and the professions.  Despite recent gains, government 
reports show that women generally earn less on average than men 
in the same occupational group.  Ontario law now requires all 
employers (public and private) with more than 10 workers to 
provide equal pay to men and women for work requiring 
comparable skill.  In the fall of 1993, the Ontario Government 
advertised a government job as being open only to members of 
designated disadvantaged groups.  Public outrage forced the 
government to withdraw the advertisement.  A December 1993 
Gallup poll indicated that 74 percent of Canadians oppose such 
overt government employment equity programs, but the government 
of Ontario has reiterated its belief in the principles of 
employment equity.  The municipality of Toronto recently 
provided significant compensation to government employees 
working in occupations traditionally staffed by women, 
acknowledging that such positions have in the past paid less 
than "traditionally male" occupations.  Women enjoy marriage 
and property rights equal to men.

     Children

Federal and provincial regulations seek to protect children 
from abuse, overwork, and discrimination.  Parents receive tax 
credits for their children.

     Indigenous people

Canada's treatment of its native peoples is probably the most 
important human rights issue facing the country.  Old disputes 
between the Canadian and provincial governments on the one hand 
and Aboriginals on the other once again led to civil 
disobedience and confrontation.  Although there were no major 
incidents in 1993, unresolved land claims resulted in violence 
and credible allegations of human rights abuses in the past.  
Disputes over treaty rights, taxation, duty-free imports, 
fishing rights, and alleged harassment by police added to 
tension on many reserves.

In 1993 Canada made some progress on resolving land-claim 
issues in sparsely populated regions.  The most notable step 
taken was parliamentary approval for the Nunavut Land-Claims 
Agreement.  This act settled a dispute with the Inuit of the 
Eastern Arctic and created a new territory (scheduled to be 
established by 1999) in which a majority of the population is 
to consist of Aboriginals.

Aboriginals remained underrepresented in the work force.  
Statistics Canada reported that 25 percent of all Aboriginals 
were unemployed, nearly 15 percentage points higher than the 
national average.  Aboriginals also earned less on average than 
their non-Indian counterparts.  Almost 42 percent of all 
Aboriginals living on reserves were dependent upon welfare.

In 1992 Canadians (including a majority of Aboriginals) 
rejected a constitutional reform package which, among other 
provisions, addressed outstanding native concerns and 
recognized an inherent Aboriginal right to self-government 
within Canada.  Although the referendum debate increased 
awareness of native issues, there was little progress towards 
addressing native problems after the defeat of the 
constitutional reforms.

Canadians were shocked by film footage of substance abuse by 
native children in the town of Davis Inlet.  Public reaction to 
this focused attention on the problems of Aboriginal children.  

The Royal Aboriginal Commission, established in 1991, continued 
hearings to examine Aboriginal concerns, including 
self-government, land claims, and native justice.  The 
Commission is expected to issue a report in 1994.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Racial discrimination is prohibited by federal law and 
offenders are prosecuted.  Nevertheless, isolated incidents of 
racist-inspired discrimination and violence persisted.  

     People with Disabilities

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Act 
explicitly prohibit discrimination against people with 
disabilities.  Recent attempts to provide better employment 
opportunities to the disabled have not been entirely 
successful; disabled persons remain underrepresented in the 
work force.


In the 1993 elections Canada made notable improvements in its 
services and facilities for voters with disabilities.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Except for members of the armed forces, workers in both the 
public and private sectors have the right to associate freely.  
The Canada Labour Code, which covers all employees under 
federal jurisdiction, protects these rights at the federal 
level, while provincial labor legislation protects all other 
organized workers.  Trade unions are independent of the 
Government and may affiliate freely with international 
organizations.  About 38 percent of Canada's nonagricultural 
work force is organized into trade unions.  All worker rights 
protected in law are respected in practice.  The Canadian Labor 
Congress (CLC), the largest of the country's labor federations, 
is a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions.  Slightly more than one-third of CLC member unions are 
also affiliates of American Federation of Labor and Congress of 
Industrial Organizations unions.

Workers have the right to strike, with the exception of certain 
groups of essential public sector employees.  In response to 
complaints by these workers, the International Labor 
Organization (ILO) asked the Government in 1992 to establish a 
procedure to resolve labor disputes when negotiations resulted 
in a deadlock.  The Government reported developments in some of 
these cases to the ILO in 1993.

Laws and regulations prohibiting retribution against strikers 
and union leaders are effectively enforced.

In response to complaints from a group of professional 
employees of the Government, the ILO requested that the 
Government exercise care in defining employees as 
"managerial."  The employees believed that they were being 
denied fair access to collective representation.  At year's 
end, the Government was preparing a response on the issue.

In the first 11 months of 1993, there were 21 major work 
stoppages (involving 500 or more employees), only 2 of which 
were illegal work stoppages.  As of November, there were four 
unresolved labor disputes; the remainder were settled through 
direct bargaining, mediation, or (in the case of British 
Columbia railway workers) by a government back-to-work order.


     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Workers in both the public (with some exceptions for police) 
and private sectors have the right to organize and bargain 
collectively.  Collective bargaining is protected by law and 
freely practiced, though some essential public sector employees 
have limited collective bargaining rights which vary from 
province to province.  Antiunion discrimination is banned by 
law, and there are effective mechanisms for resolving 
complaints and seeking redress.  Employers found to have 
practiced antiunion discrimination are required to reinstate 
workers fired for union activities.

All labor unions have full access to mediation, arbitration, 
and the judicial system.

Canada has no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced labor is illegal and not practiced.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Child labor legislation varies from province to province.  The 
Government generally prohibits youth under 17 years of age from 
working for the Government while school is in session.  In most 
cases, provinces prohibit those under age 15 or 16 from working 
without parental consent, working in any hazardous employment, 
or working at night.  These prohibitions are effectively 
enforced through inspections conducted by the federal and 
provincial labor ministries.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Minimum wages are established in both federal and provincial 
jurisdictions.  The federal minimum wage, which has remained at 
$3.04 (Canadian $4.00) since 1986, applies to employees in 
industries under federal jurisdiction (i.e., about 8 percent of 
the entire work force).  All provinces and territories have 
minimum wage rates which are higher than those at the federal 
level.  At the federal level, minimum wage rates are 
established by ministerial order and enforced by the Department 
of Labor.  Provincially, the rates are enforced by the labor 
wage boards or other labor boards.  Three provinces (Ontario, 
Alberta, and British Columbia) and the Northwest Territories 
have lower minimum wage rates for youths and students, while 
Nova Scotia sets a lower wage for "inexperienced workers."  In 
all other provinces and territories, youth and students are 
entitled to the same minimum wage as adults.  Less than 
1 percent of workers covered by the federal minimum wage are 
paid at the minimum rate, while approximately 5 percent of 
workers governed by provincial minimum wages receive the 
minimum rate.  A family with only one member employed and 
working at minimum wages would be below the poverty level.

Labor standards vary from province to province, but all limit 
the standard workweek to 40 or 48 hours.  The Employment 
Standards legislation provides at least 1 full day of rest per 
week.

The Government establishes health and safety standards for the 
approximately 8 percent of workers covered by federal labor 
legislation.  Provincial and territorial legislation provides 
for health and safety standards for other workers.  Federal, 
provincial, and territorial labor departments enforce these 
standards through inspections.  Federal, provincial, and 
territorial laws protect the right of workers with "reasonable 
cause" to refuse dangerous work and to file complaints about 
such conditions.


[end of document]

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