Communities and Collections

Student rights under the Charter

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Introduction: The arrival of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms' has changed the direction of Canadian constitutional law. It marks a shift from Parliamentary supremacy to judicial scrutiny, where fundamental rights and freedoms are affected. The Charter, by virtue of its being part of the Constitution of Canada, is the supreme law of Canada, and laws inconsistent with it are of no force or effect. Subsection 24(1) of the Charter provides that anyone whose rights or freedoms have been infringed or denied may apply to the court for a remedy. Thus it is not only legislation but also official action which may be found to be in violation of the Charter. The pre-Charter case of Ward v. Board of Blaine Lake School Unit No. 57 offers a good illustration of how the constitutional position has changed. An eleven-year-old grade 6 student was temporarily suspended until he obeyed a resolution of the Board prescribing the maximum length of hair for male students. Because the principal was validly exercising a purely administrative power, the Court found that it had no power to review the correctness of the decision. Nor could the Court review the Board's resolution, as it had been made pursuant to statutory authority. The courts are no longer so restricted if constitutional rights and freedoms are affected. The court could now quash the principal's decision to suspend the student. It could also set aside the Board's resolution, and could invalidate any legislation found to be inconsistent with the Charter.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    © 1984 Douglas A. Schmeiser et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Schmeiser, D. A., & Wood, R. J. (1984). Student rights under the Charter. Saskatchewan Law Review, 49(1), 49-67. Retrieved from
  • Link to related item