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METHODOLOGY AND CONSULTATION PROCESS
The following report has been prepared in collaboration by the federal, provincial and
territorial governments of Canada, based on the general guidelines for the preparation of information under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The Government of Canada hosted a workshop with Canadian civil society in June 2008,
to discuss the role of civil society in the UPR process. Information on the UPR, at both the international and domestic levels, was posted on Government of Canada websites and civil society was invited to submit questions and/or provide comments on the issues to be covered in
Canada’s report through a dedicated email address. In addition, regional engagement sessions with civil society and government officials will be organized across Canada to obtain their perspective on human rights in Canada.
CANADA’S NORMATIVE AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
Canada is a country marked and enriched by the many different backgrounds of its
population. It is a multicultural and pluralistic society, with two official languages, English and French, some 50 Aboriginal1 cultural groups and many ethno-cultural, religious, immigrant and
Canada’s vast territory is divided into ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba,
New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec and Saskatchewan) and three northern territories (the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon).
Canada is a democratic country with a Constitution based on the rule of law, a division of
law-making authority between levels of government, an entrenched bill of rights (the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), and a legal system that draws from both the common law and
the civil law traditions.
Canada’s Constitution confers legislative and executive powers on two levels of
government, each of them sovereign in their own sphere. The federation includes a central
government and a government for each of the provinces and territories. The Government of Canada exercises authority over matters such as foreign relations, national defence, coastal waters, Indians and lands reserved for them, and the substance of the criminal law. Provinces
exercise authority over matters such as the establishment and regulation of municipalities, health care, education, social well-being, property, civil rights and the administration of justice. The three northern territories are the creation of the Parliament of Canada, which has delegated to them responsibilities similar to those of the provinces. Canada’s many municipalities exercise delegated authority from provincial and territorial governments. Canada also has many Aboriginal treaty governments and Indian Band councils, which exercise various aspects of local
To facilitate the functioning of a multi-level system of governance, ad hoc and standing
federal-provincial/territorial fora meet on a myriad of topics to promote co-operation on matters of over-lapping interest and jurisdiction. For example, the Continuing Committee of Officials on
Human Rights is the principal intergovernmental forum for consultation on the elaboration, ratification and implementation of international human rights obligations. In addition,