Equality rights

Equality rights are at the core of the Charter. They are intended to ensure that everyone is treated with the same respect, dignity and consideration (i.e. without discrimination), regardless of personal characteristics such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, residency, marital status or citizenship.

As a result, everyone should be treated the same under the law. Everyone is also entitled to the same benefits provided by laws or government policies. However, the Charter does not require the government to always treat people in exactly the same way. Sometimes protecting equality means that we must adapt rules or standards to take account of people's differences. An example of this would be allowing people to observe different religious holidays without losing their job.

Governments can also promote equality by passing laws or creating programs that aim to improve the conditions of people who have been disadvantaged because of the personal characteristics listed above. For example, governments can create affirmative action programs targeted at increasing employment for persons with disabilities.

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