Your Rights

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Your Rights

What are rights and responsibilities?

Knowing about your rights and responsibilities is an important part of being able to keep yourself safe at home, at school and in your community.

There are different kinds of rights and responsibilities. Some are set out in laws (for example, criminal laws, human rights laws) and others in rules (for example, your school has rules, your parents may have rules). As well, often communities of people may have their own rules or values that they use to set standards for their behaviour (for example, religious or cultural values or rules).

Formal laws have more power than any other set of rules, but these other sets of rules may be more important to you depending on what situation you are in at a particular time. For example, when you are at school, the school rules will have more of an impact on you than formal laws.

Many of us are not aware of our rights and responsibilities. Often, we get information about our rights from places or people that may be unreliable or unaware of the law, like television, movies, the Internet or friends and family.

People in Canada have a number of legal rights that are set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These include the right to equal treatment regardless of your race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or physical or mental disability.

  • You have the right not to be abused or hurt by another person.
  • You have the right to have whatever friends you want, to hang out with other people, to have whatever religious or political beliefs you want and to express your opinions and beliefs.
  • You also have responsibilities, including the responsibility to behave in a way that is respectful of other people and their rights.
  • Even though it is not written down in a law, you have the right to be listened to and believed and to be treated with respect by others, no matter who you are, how old you are, what the colour of your skin is, whether you are a girl or a boy.

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