Respect for the dignity and integrity of people living with intellectual disabilities, as well as their social participation, is not just about values. Indeed, they have fundamental rights entrenched in the Charters and in different laws and policies.
Here you will find the main disabled laws and legislation concerning the rights of people living with intellectual disabilities.
The Charters are important because they enact the fundamental rights of people and provide a framework for the functioning of the state and its relations with citizens.
The Canadian Charter applies only to the state, while the Quebec Charter applies to the Quebec government as well as to the citizens.
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of the Canadian Constitution and is intended to provide basic rules for the operation of Canada and its provinces. As a constitutional document, the Charter takes precedence over any other law, whether federal or provincial. It is, therefore, a document serving as a guide for life in society and for the action of the state vis-a-vis citizens.
Equality before the law, equality of benefit and equal protection of the law
15. (1) The law is not acceptable to anyone and applies equally to everyone, and everyone is entitled to the same protection and benefit of the law, regardless of discrimination, including discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.
Section 15 of the Charter states that all persons in Canada are equal before the law, regardless of race, religion, ethnic or national origin, color, sex, age, or “mental” or physical impairments.
Thus, every citizen, regardless of his ability, has the same rights as anyone else. This also applies to people living with an intellectual disability. They have the same rights as any other citizen, including voting, working, developing and living according to their aspirations.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “Quebec Charter”:
The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, also known as the “Quebec Charter”, is a quasi-constitutional law adopted by the Quebec National Assembly in 1976. Quasi-constitutional means that although it is not a part of the Canadian Constitution, the courts have given it precedence over other ordinary provincial laws.
In the case of the Quebec Charter, the law therefore takes precedence over other Quebec laws (but not those at the federal level or the Canadian Constitution).
The Quebec Charter provides for a set of rights for resident citizens in Quebec, as well as the creation of tribunals and organizations such as the Human Rights Tribunal and the Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights.
With respect to the right of persons with disabilities, the Quebec Charter provides in section 10 that:
“Everyone has the right to the equal recognition and exercise of the rights and freedoms of the person, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, color, sex, identity or expression. gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, age except to the extent provided by law, religion, political beliefs, language, ethnic or national origin, social status, disability or the use of a means to overcome this handicap.
Discrimination occurs when such a distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of destroying or compromising that right.”
Thus, any person in Quebec may have recourse to the Human Rights Tribunal and to the services of the Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights if they consider themselves to be victims of discrimination based on disability.
In concrete terms, this means that people living with a developmental disability enjoy the same rights as other people in Quebec. They should not be discriminated against because of their condition.
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