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Department of Justice – Business Resource

Justice.gc.ca is the website for the Department of Justice Canada.  This website provides many resources on law and the justice system.  In particular, I would like to focus on the “Rights and Freedoms in Canada” page which could be a particularly useful resource for the Law 30 curriculum.

What is it?

This is a page that briefly introduces the Canadian Bill of Rights, The Canadian Human Rights Act, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  This page also describes the role of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and what the Charter protects.

What do I like about it?

  • Great source for accurate information.
  • Gives point form version of information about the Charter.
  • Translated to use more understandable words (compared to actual document).
  • Lists and elaborates points.
  • Not a particularly long read so this could help increase engagement.

What do I dislike about it?

  • Not very engaging/visually pleasing (it is a page from the government website so really, what do we expect?).

Where does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use it?

This resource fits in with the Law 30 curriculum.  Specifically, this fits under the third foundational objective in unit one (pg 27) which states: “Know that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Saskatchewan and Canadian Human Rights Codes provide criteria to assess legal rights.”  In this case, this resource provides the role of the Charter which includes legal rights.

Also, this could fit in with the fourth foundational objective (pg 27) in the same unit which states: “Know that sources of law include The Constitution, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Treaties, statues, and common law.”  Here, this resource explains the Charter or Rights and Freedoms so students can have an understanding of this document and be able to conclude that it is a source of law.

In my classroom, there are a couple ways I could use this resource.  The first way, is to go over the resource as a class and begin a discussion based off of some questions students might have or ones that I have thought of a head of time to ask the students.  Another way is that I could get students to either individually or in small groups read this resource and then work on a worksheet that I have made up.  Lastly, I could just use this as an extra resource and put it on the class blog/site for if students want to learn more about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms outside of class.

Evaluation of the Department of Justice website.

One issue that I had with this site is that it didn’t have a search box.  When I go to a website, I would rather type a topic into a search box and see what related articles I get, rather than having to click through a bunch of different pages to finally find what I was looking for.  I found the website fairly easy to navigate through and the resources page provides a lot of great information on all the different types and issues of law including: war crimes, violence, violence against women, drugs, and dispute resolution.  However, I was quite surprised to find the resource that I discusses not under this resources page.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to find it if it didn’t tell me which pages I had clicked though to get to this page.  Here’s an example of what I mean:

So, if I had to give this website a numerical value, I would give it a 8/10 and the resource itself would receive a 7.5/10.

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Canadian Legal History – Business Resources

Duhaime.org is a website that was created for the intention of helping individuals learn about Canadian law.  This is a website created by a B.C. lawyer named Lloyd Duhaime.  A particular page from this website, the Canadian Law History page, could be quite useful in the Law 30 curriculum.

What is it?

This is a page that discusses the main events in history that has helped shape Canadian law. The initial view is of short points where you can quickly review the main events.  If you click on those dates, you can find a very detailed section of the history of Canadian law or if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you can find a semi-detailed section (more details than the point listed but less than the page directed to when clicking on the point).

What do I like about it?

  • Linear concept of Canadian law history.
  • Organization is neat and by dates.
  • Provides a few pictures in the timeline itself and more pictures when you click on the link from the timeline.
  • Discusses how a variety of people and cultures influenced Canadian law.
  • Provides three types of sections: listed points with only a single explanation, a brief paragraph about the point (at bottom of page), and a detailed page on the point (click on point).
  • Suited for an older audience (not childish for grade 12 students).
  • Goes as far back as 28, 000 BC and as relatively recent as 1992.
  • Discusses important people that influenced Canadian law (ex. Louis Riel).

What do I dislike about it?

  • Vocabulary is a bit difficult to understand for a few of the points (although this could help student’s vocabulary grow).
  • Doesn’t stress if there are any particularly important events that happened (make it appear as if every event had equal impact on Canadian law).
  • Has advertisements (see picture above for example).

Where does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use it?

In Unit One of the Law 30 Curriculum, this resource can be used to achieve the second knowledge/content foundational objective (pg 27) which states: “Know that the Canadian legal system has evolved over time and has been influenced by several traditions.”  This website explains where the first thought of law was introduced and goes through the events, culture and people that have shaped our legal system to make it what it is today.

I would most likely use this throughout the unit of teaching the history of Canadian law.  First I’d begin introducing the history of Canada law unit by having students look through this timeline.  As we go through the unit in detail, I would continually bring this up and refer to where it happened in history.  This is also a great resource to post on a class blog for students to continually refer to and to use as a study guide.

Evaluation of Duhaime.org

This site is user friendly and does provide some good information.  It does have a few pages that are related to law but unrelated to the curriculum that students could get easily distracted by.  For example, there is a page under the tab LawFun called “Dumbest things said in court” which has a list of quotes (without names) that people have said in court that was “dumb.”  However, the site does have some interesting and engaging information for students and the Canadian Law History page (found under Law Museum tab) is an organized and descriptive way of explaining the law to students and how it has been impacted and changed.

If I had to give this website a numerical value, I would give it an 7/10 and the timeline itself a 8/10