Fundamental freedoms

Everyone in Canada is free to practise any religion or no religion at all. We are also free to express religious beliefs through prayer or by wearing religious clothing for example. However, the Charter also ensures that others also have the right to express their religious beliefs in public.

We’re free to think our own thoughts, speak our minds, listen to views of others and express our opinions in creative ways.  We’re also free to meet with anyone we wish and participate in peaceful demonstrations. This includes the right to protest against a government action or institution.

However, these freedoms are not unlimited. There may be limits on how you express your religious beliefs if your way of doing so would infringe on the rights of others or undermine complex public programs and policies. For example, you may have religious reasons to object having your photo taken for your driver’s license, but this requirement may be linked to a need to stop others from unlawfully using your identity. In addition, the Charter does not protect expression such as hate speech that involves threats of violence or that takes the form of violence.

The media also have certain fundamental freedoms, and are free to print and broadcast news and other information. The government can only limit what the media prints for justifiable reasons set out in law. For example, a magazine cannot print slander, which is an untrue statement about a person that may hurt his or her reputation.

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