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Debating Rights

Senior Years (Grades 10-12)

Two hours

Key human rights issues, people and laws that have shaped Canada will be explored in this program. Gathered around an interactive table, students will examine different perspectives on human rights court cases in Canada. Students will also learn techniques for engaging in respectful dialogue.

Students learn how universal consensus is a rarity in human rights discussions. They also learn the value of – and how to engage in – respectful dialogue and debate.

Students experience a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms discovery activity in-gallery.

Students participate in voting on human rights cases that have been debated in Canada’s courts. Pro and con arguments used in those court cases are explored. Supreme Court cases reviewed and debated in this program include:

  • Balancing Children’s Rights – Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada [2004]. Issues debated: security of the person vs. equality (children’s rights).
  • Testing Limits to Free Speech – R. v. Keegstra [1990]. Issues debated: freedom of expression and hate speech.
  • Judging Job Equality – British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v. British Columbia Government Service Employees Union [1999]. Issue debated: substantive equality and women’s rights.
  • Religious Freedom Debate – Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys [2006]. Issues debated: freedom of religion and reasonable accommodation.

Students discuss how these decisions have impacted Canadian society.

Students celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary as they focus on the Canada 150 theme of diversity and inclusion.