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This page presents some of the most important legislations that are or used to be in force in Quebec and Canada.

Parliament of Québec

Québec laws are adopted in the National Assembly of Québec, the elective House of the Parliament of Québec.

Human rights instruments

Did you know Québec adopted a Charter of Human Rights in 1975?

Linguistic human rights and language policy

Did you read the Charter of the French language (Bill 101)?

Rights of the Amerindians and the Inuit

  • 1985 - A resolution of the National Assembly recognizes the existence of distinct aboriginal nations on the territory of Quebec and defines 5 collective rights of those nations: right to autonomy inside Quebec, right to their own culture, language and traditions, right to own and control lands, right to hunt, fish and harvest natural ressources and participate to the management of wildlife, right to participate to the economic development of Quebec and to benefit from it.
  • Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Political status

Parliament of Canada

Human rights instruments

Current constitution and language policy

Law to prevent a winning referendum

Historical legislation

Repairing injustices

Against French Canadians

Note: These discriminatory laws against French speakers and Catholics are no longer in force today. However, the result of their application is undeniable: Québec is today an anglicized French-speaking province while Canada outside Québec is predominantly and irreversibly English-speaking. The adoption, in 1977, of the Charter of the French Language marked the beginning of serious legislative efforts to redress the position of the French language inside Québec.

  • 1916 - Province of Manitoba: The Thornton Act, by abolishing bilingual schools, completely ends the teaching of French in the province
  • 1912 - Province of Ontario: Circular of Instructions No. 17 and No. 18. Forbids the teaching of French above the first two grades of elementary school.
  • 1890 - Province of Manitoba: Official Language Act banning French, formerly an official language in the province. Premier Greenway diminishes the rights to French school, abolishes its use in the Parliament and in the Courts of the province. The act was declared anti-constitutional 90 years later!
  • 1877 - Province of Prince-Edward-Island: The Public School Act puts an end to the teaching of French in schools.
  • 1871 - Province of New Brunswick: The Common School Act imposes double taxation measures against French Catholic schools.
  • 1864 - Province of Nova Scotia: The act on public schools suppresses all subsidies to Catholic and French language schools.
  • 1840 - Great Britain: The Parliament of Great Britain adopts An Act to reunite the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and for the Government of Canada which places the former Franco-Catholic majority of Lower Canada in an artificially-created position of minority in a new Parliament inside which they were purposely under-represented. The French language is banned in the Parliament, Courts and all other governmental bodies of the new united province. French is explicitly banned in a constitutional text of law for the first time in history.
  • 1791 - Great Britain: The Constitutional Act installs a real Parliament with an elective House of Assembly in Lower Canada. From 1792 through 1838, the elected representatives of the House of Assembly are systematically denied their constitutional right to regulate the spendings of the government and have a say on the appointment of civil servants. The constitution is suspended in 1838.
  • 1774 - Great Britain: The Quebec Act restores part of the French civil law institutions and creates a crippled Parliament of Quebec. The British subjects of the province continue to be denied their constitutional rights to an elective House of Assembly.
  • 1763 - Ignoring the Treaty of Paris, the Royal Proclamation orders the implantation of English laws and institutions to supplant the French civil laws and institutions in the Province of Quebec. All Catholics are legally excluded from holding public offices.

Against First Nations

Note: Most of these laws were inspired by similar British or American laws. They are no longer in force today.

  • 1876 - The Indian Act is adopted to "manage" the aboriginal human populations of the Dominion of Canada.
  • 1851 - First Indian reserves created based on the American example.

Against various immigrant minorities

Note: Most of these laws were inspired by similar British or American laws. They are no longer in force today.

  • 1952 - Immigration law specifying "White if possible"
  • 1942 - Law confiscating goods of Japanese Immigrants
  • 1927 - National Security Law
  • 1923 - Empire Settlement Act/Chinese Immigration Act
  • 1911 - Law blocking the entry of Blacks and Asians
  • 1885 - Law restricting Chinese Immigration

International treaties

See also