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Documents in Quebec History


Last revised:
23 August 2000

Documents on the Controversy Surrounding the Language of Commercial Signs in Quebec (Bill 178) December 1988

Text of the Notwithstanding Clauses in the Canadian Constitution and in the Quebec Charter of Rights.

  1. The Notwithstanding clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

33. (1) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.

(2) An Act or a provision of an Act in respect of which a declaration made under this section is in effect shall have such operation as it would have but for the provision of this Charter referred to in the declaration.

(3) A declaration made under subsection (1) shall cease to have effect five years after it comes into force or on such earlier date as may be specified in the declaration.

(4) Parliament or a legislature of a province may re-enact a declaration made under subsection (1).

(5) Subsection (3) applies in respect of a re-enactment made under subsection (4)

Note from the editor: Section 2 of the Charter deals with the fundamental freedoms such as freedom of thought, freedom of the press, religion, peaceful assembly etc.; sections 7-14 deal with legal rights such as right to council, to a jury, to a fair trial, to life, liberty and the security of the person etc.; Section 15 contains the equality Rights’ provisions that safeguards the individual against discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex etc.

  1. The Notwithstanding provision under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms:

S. 52 Sections 9 to 38 prevail over any provision of any subsequent act which may be inconsistent therewith unless such act expressly states that it applies despite the Charter.

Note from the editor: Sections 9 to 38 deal with matters of confidentiality, non discrimination clauses, political rights, judicial rights. The excluded sections, those that never prevail over other laws in any case are: the economic and social rights and a variety of general provisions.

© 1999 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College