Canada's Constitution roots trace back to 1763, with the Royal Proclamation post-Seven Years' War. It laid governance foundations, affecting Indigenous territories and European settlement patterns, setting the stage for constitutional evolution.
Act of Union 1840
The Act of Union united Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada, responding to rebellions and political unrest. It centralized government, setting a legislative framework that foreshadowed Confederation.
Confederation and BNA Act
The 1867 British North America (BNA) Act united three colonies into the Dominion of Canada. It established a federal system, dividing powers between federal and provincial governments - a pivotal constitutional milestone.
Patriation and Charter
1982 marked a constitutional revolution. Canada patriated its Constitution from Britain with the Constitution Act, 1982, introducing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, entrenching civil liberties in Canadian law.
Amending Formula Addition
The patriation in 1982 also introduced an amending formula, allowing Canada to amend its Constitution without British approval, signifying full sovereignty and legal independence from the United Kingdom.
Indigenous Peoples' Inclusion
The Constitution Act, 1982, recognized and affirmed existing Aboriginal and treaty rights, a significant inclusion. Subsequent legal cases have continued to shape the scope and nature of these rights.
Quebec and Constitution
Quebec never formally consented to the 1982 Constitution Act, leading to ongoing constitutional debates. The Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords, attempts at reconciliation, were not ratified, highlighting complex federal-provincial relations.