Human Rights Milestones in Canada

Published May 1, 2011

1944 Racial Discrimination Act, Ontario. Canadians’ wartime battle against oppression lowers their tolerance of oppression at home. The act prohibits the publication or display of discrimination on lands, premises or in the media.1947 Saskatchewan becomes the first Canadian province to legislate a human rights code, a year before the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1954 The Fair Accommodation Practices Act, Ontario, declares that “no one can deny to any person or class of persons the accommodation, services or facilities usually available to members of the public.” 1960 The Canadian Bill of Rights, an initiative of John Diefenbaker’s prime ministership, becomes the earliest expression of Canadian human rights at the federal level. 1975 The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is passed in Quebec.1982 The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms establishes for all Canadians equal benefit and protection of the law without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.


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