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Charter of Rights and Freedoms Report: Sexual Harassment


The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a fundamental document that protects the rights and freedoms of individuals in Canada. This report will explore one element of the Charter sexual harassment. This report aims to define sexual harassment in layman’s terms, discuss its legal implications, introduce applicable cases, and explain the significance of this law.

Introduction to Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is pervasive discrimination against the core principles of quality and particular integrity. It encompasses unwelcome advances, explicit requests for sexual favours, or any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This distressing behaviour can manifest in many settings, including workplaces, educational institutions, and public spaces. By its veritable nature, sexual harassment undermines the principles of equivalency, fairness, and respect owed to every person (R. v. Sullivan, 1991). It fosters a hostile environment that obstructs individuals from completely engaging and contributing to society, inhibiting their overall well-being and impeding progress toward a more inclusive and equitable world.

Definition of Sexual Harassment in Canadian Law

Sexual harassment is significant in Canadian law, and its handling involves multiple legal frameworks. Canadian legislation concerning human rights, employment, and criminal law addresses this issue. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically outlined in Section 15, upholds the fundamental right to equivalency, prohibiting distinction based on sex or other protected characteristics (Canadian Human Rights Act, 1985). Within this environment, sexual harassment is firmly honoured as a direct violation of this crucial right to equivalency. The law seeks comprehensive protection and addresses the severe consequences and violations associated with sexual harassment in Canada.

III. Case Study: R. v. Sullivan (1991)

In the case of R.V., the Supreme Court of Canada propagated sexual harassment and how it affects a person’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Sullivan (1991). In this historical instance, Ms McIntyre, his subordinate at work, and Mr Sullivan held an administration post. Mr Sullivan subjected Ms McIntyre to unpleasant sexual commentary and advances, constituting sexual importunity. The court conceded that sexual harassment profoundly impacts an existent’s abecedarian rights, specifically the rights to equivalency, quality, and security of the person, as safeguarded by the Charter (R. v. Sullivan, 1991). It is honoured that sexual harassment disrupts the principles of equivalency by creating a hostile and discriminative work environment. Also, the court affirmed that this type of behaviour infringes upon an existent’s rights and freedoms.

The ruling in R.V. Sullivan emphasised the significance of recognising sexual harassment as a violation of the Charter. It stressed the responsibility of employers to ensure a safe and harassment-free workplace for their employees. This decision established an important legal precedent that employers must take proactive measures to help and address sexual harassment in the workplace. It obliged employers to produce programs and procedures that effectively address similar misconduct and promote a regretful work environment (Canadian Human Rights Act, 1985). By recognising the mischievous goods of sexual harassment on an existent’s rights and freedoms, the court’s ruling in R.V. Sullivan reinforced the significance of upholding and guarding the rights elevated in the Charter. It served as a crucial step in raising awareness about the issue of sexual harassment and encouraging responsibility among employers in maintaining a safe and inclusive work environment for all.

Significance of the Law

The addition of sexual harassment as a Charter-protected right holds significant implications and benefits for individuals and Canadian society. This section will elaborate on why this legal recognition is significant. First and foremost, recognising sexual harassment as a Charter-protected right subventions victims of sexual harassment access to legal remedies and protections. It empowers individuals who have endured sexual harassment to seek justice and hold their perpetrators responsible (Canadian Human Rights Act, 1985). By providing a legal frame, victims are allowed to pursue civil or criminal action, seek compensation for damages, and gain restraining orders or other forms of legal protection. This aspect of the law ensures that victims have expedient and can assert their rights in cases of sexual importunity.

Also, the recognition of sexual harassment as a Charter-protected right serves as an important tool in promoting a culture of respect, equivalency, and non-discrimination in Canadian society. By explicitly stating that sexual harassment infringes upon an existent’s Charter rights, the law communicates that similar behaviour isn’t respectable and won’t be permitted. It helps to foster a society where all individuals are treated with quality and are free from the damage of sexual harassment. Likewise, the law aims to help the circumstance of sexual harassment by creating a truculent effect (Ontario Human Rights Code, 1990). By recognising it as a violation of the Charter, implicit perpetrators are made apprehensive that their conducts are not only innocently wrong but also fairly prohibited.

This understanding helps shift cultural morals and prospects for moral conduct in various contexts, similar to workplaces, educational institutions, and public areas. The legislation guarantees that people have the right to live and work in an atmosphere free from harassment, in addition to defending individual rights. It guarantees that every Canadian has the fundamental right to equivalency, quality, and security of the person, which includes being free from sexual harassment (Ontario Human Rights Code, 1990). This legal recognition reinforces the principle that all individuals earn to be treated with respect and have the right to share completely and inversely in society without fear of harassment or discrimination.

Lastly, recognising sexual harassment as a Charter-protected right encourages employers, organisations, and institutions to apply comprehensive programs and practices to address and help sexual harassment. It places an onus on these realities to produce safe and inclusive surroundings for their workers, scholars, or members (Ontario Human Rights Code, 1990). This legal demand prompts proactive measures, like implementing training programs, establishing complaint mechanisms, and fostering a culture that rejects and laboriously combats sexual importunity.


In conclusion, sexual harassment contradicts the values of equality, worth, and respect guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s a wide problem. It’s crucial to admit and address sexual harassment to cover the rights and well-being of individuals. The case of R.V. Sullivan (1991) exemplifies the significance of this law by recognising sexual harassment as a violation of Charter rights and emphasising the responsibility of employers to maintain a harassment-free environment. The addition of sexual harassment as a Duty- protected right reinforces the commitment to creating a society free from discrimination and promoting the equivalency and quality of all individuals. It is crucial to keep raising awareness among people, enforcing effective programs, and establishing a culture that opposes sexual harassment in all manifestations to ensure success.


Canadian Human Rights Act, RSC 1985, c H-6,

Ontario Human Rights Code, RSO 1990, c H.19,

  1. v. Sullivan, [1991] 1 SCR 489,


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