Section 1 of the Charter
Section 1 of the Charter states that the rights and freedoms contained in the Charter are not absolute. This means that sometimes an infringement of someone’s Charter right is allowable because it is necessary to protect the rights of others or is in the interests of society itself. For example, section 2(b) of the Charter guarantees the freedom of expression or freedom of speech. However, laws against libel and slander (which limit some people’s freedom to speak/express themselves) are still valid because these laws are reasonable limits on free speech because they protect the rights of others. If the government can prove that a restriction it has placed on a Charter right (for instance by limiting some people’s freedom of speech) is reasonable and justifiable in a free and democratic society, the restriction is valid. For a restriction to be justified it should limit the Charter right as little as possible. Also, whatever the government hopes to accomplish with the restriction must be roughly equal in importance to the right being limited.