Charter of Rights and Freedoms & Treatment of Japanese Canadians

Students determine whether or not Japanese Canadians were treated fairly with respect to certain rights that other Canadians held.

Canadian-Charter-of-Rights-and-Freedoms Scroll down



  1. Go over the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with students. Remind students that there was no Charter to protect Canadians until 1981 (the Charter was signed by Prime Minister Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth II in 1982), but English common law provided most of the legal safeguards in the Charter that should have protected Japanese Canadians in 1941 – such as presumption of innocence, habeas corpus, property rights, etc.
  2. Provide each student with the handout “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Treatment of Japanese Canadians.”
  3. Tell students that they will be looking for evidence to support or deny the claim by Japanese Canadians that they were treated unfairly and unjustly. Show the video “Minoru: Memory of Exile,” if possible.
  4. The teacher and students examine the photos and decide which rights were upheld or violated and fill in the appropriate sections on the chart.
  5. Discuss. (See suggested questions below in Assessment Considerations.)
  6. Students complete journal reflection. (See suggested journal reflection prompts below in Assessment Considerations.)
Rubric The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Assessment Considerations


  • How did not having a Constitution/Charter of Rights and Freedoms affect the treatment of Japanese Canadians?
  • Why is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms important for making sure everyone is treated fairly?
  • What is your idea of fairness (now)? What is Canada’s idea of fairness?


  • Student handout “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Treatment of Japanese Canadians”

Extension and Variations