Fundamental Freedoms - The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
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Official Languages of Canada
Access to French and English education

Case Law

Re: Manitoba Language Rights, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 721 Supreme Court of Canada
The Court addressed the constitutional requirement of having laws and documents of federal Parliament and the Manitoba legislature in both official languages. Looking at the importance of language rights, the Court commented that language plays an essential role in human life, development and dignity. It helps people form concepts and structure the world around them. Language is important in forming communities and shaping society.

Regina v. Beaulac, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 768 Supreme Court of Canada
The Court looked at the right under the Criminal Code for a person to have a trial in English or French. Even if people understand both languages, they have a right to a trial in the official language they consider their own. Official language rights in Canada have their own history and purpose and are separate from a principle of fundamental justice. Courts must be able to provide trials in English or French.

Lester B. Pearson, 1967. It is one of my secret hopes for Prime Ministers of the future that Canada will some day - perhaps in time for the bicentennial of Confederation, and through the desire of the people and the governments of the provinces - become a truly bilingual country from coast to coast - not by the compulsion of decree, but by the compulsion of desire.
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