The Charter at Forty: Commemorating Patriation and Reflecting Upon the Promises and Perils of Human Rights


  • Nariya Khasanova
  • Elise Sammons
  • Dax D'Orazio



Between November 8 and 10, 2021, a national online conference, The Charter at Forty: From Isolation to Inclusion: Navigating the Post-COVID World, gathered an impressive array of scholars, human rights advocates, community leaders, artists, and policymakers to commemorate and critically assess the four decades since the important occasion of April 17, 1982, when Canada patriated its Constitution and elevated the country’s human rights agenda to constitutional status. With 40 years of hindsight, it is a truism that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has fundamentally changed the Canadian social, political, legal, and cultural landscape. Given the influence of the Charter, its 40th anniversary presents an opportunity to reflect on Canada as a settler colonial state with imperfect features of bilingualism and multiculturalism.