Lesson 5: Legal and Equality Rights


Grade Level



1-3 periods; if the multicultural day activity  is done it will take 2 additional periods

Lesson Plan (PDF)


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) includes legal rights for all Canadians and people living in Canada.  Students will learn about what rights they have and how the courts have interpreted those rights especially in the area of legal and illegal searches. They will look at case studies to see how the law is being applied and how the courts balance the issue of a lawful search with the students’ expectations of privacy. Students will also explore the Canadian identity, multiculturalism and equality rights in the Charter.


At the end of this lesson students will:

  •  Demonstrate an understanding of their legal rights and freedoms as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Understand the implications of a society without legal rights or fundamental freedoms
  • Understand how Charter decisions impact the criminal process
  • Articulate an opinion about Canadian Identity and Canada’s multiculturalism policy
  • Identify the equality rights of Canadian citizenship based on the Charter
  • Compare different points of view of Canadian citizenship based on political views and ethno-cultural background
  •  Collaborate with their peers

Focus Questions

  1. How is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) applied to cases?
  2. What are our legal rights under the Charter?
  3. What is a “Canadian”?
  4. What is “Multiculturalism”?
  5. What are our equality rights under the Charter?

Teaching Summary

Topic 1: Legal Rights

Students will be asked to critically examine issues of legal rights, particularly as they relate to search and seizure on school premises. The first activity builds a base of knowledge about the legal rights contained in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and how the Charter is applied to cases. In activity two the students read three precedent setting cases and prepare a school policy for lawful searches and student expectations of privacy. Students also learn about their legal rights and the Charter warnings.

Topic 2: Equality Rights

Students are asked to consider what being a Canadian means and have a discussion about our national identity. Then the students will engage in a unique activity entitled “Coffee Talk” where they will cooperatively work with different partners and are encouraged to consider specific questions regarding poignant multiculturalism quotes. They will also consider the Equality section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

An optional activity is included where the students will participate in a Multicultural Day. Their presentations can be one of the highlights of the school year and build a strong sense of inquiry and community in the classroom.