Mobility Rights

AuthorRobert J. Sharpe; Kent Roach
An important element of individua l freedom is the right to enter and
leave one’s country and to move about it freely. In countr ies with fed-
eral systems, such as Canada, it is fundamental to a sense of national
citizenship th at individuals be able to move to and work in other prov-
inces without prejudice because of their provi nce of origin. The mobility
rights protected by section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are
designed to promote and foster these objectives.
Section 6 contains two ki nds of mobility rights, one international
and the other interprovinci al. Section 6(1) guar antees the right of cit-
izens to enter, remain in, and leave Canada, while sections 6(2)(a) and
(b) guarantee the right of citizens and permanent residents “to move
and take up residence in any province; and to pursue the gaining of a
livelihood in any province.” The interprovincial guarantee is qualif‌ied
in two ways. The right is subject to laws of general application in force
in a province, provided those laws do not discriminate among indiv id-
uals prima rily on the basis of province of present or previous residence
(section 6(3)(a)). Section 6(3)(b) permits reasonable residency require-
ments for the receipt of publicly provided social services. As well, sec-
tion 6(4) protects from Charter challenge laws and programs aimed at
relieving the plight of those who are socially or economically disadvan-
taged in provinces wit h rates of unemployment above the national rate.
Finally, as with all Charter rights, a government may be able to justif y
laws that violate sect ion 6 under section 1. However, mobility rights are

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