Canadian Law Curriculum

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Course Description for Understanding Canadian Law Code:CLU3M
This Ontario Ministry of Education course explores Canadian law with a focus on legal issues that are relevant to people's everyday lives. Students will investigate fundamental legal concepts and processes to gain a practical understanding of Canada's legal system, including the criminal justice system. Students will use critical-thinking, inquiry, and communication skills to develop informed opinions on legal issues and apply this knowledge in a variety of ways and settings. Students will experience case analysis, legal research projects, a mock trial,debates and a field trip to a local Court House and local Police Headquarters.

Note: This outline for Canadian Law Curriculum has been designed for an alternative school setting that has eighteen (18) classes comprised of two (2) hour group sessions and numerous individual meetings with each student.

Assessment of Students in this Canadian Law Course

# Diagnostic Formative Summative
1. checklists assignments assignments
2. rating scales conferences presentations
3. rubrics presentations summative evaluation
4. . verbal feedback quizzes
5. . self assessment tests
6. . written feedback .


Unit 1: Rules, Law and Society

Introductions and Expectations

  1. Introductions of teacher and students, procedures, expectations
  2. Difference between laws and rules
  3. Rules at home, school and the mall
  4. Parental Responsibility Act in Ontario (August 15, 2000) p. 341
  5. Why do we need laws?
  6. Law and its Functions
  7. Misconceptions about law
  8. Discussion: Talk about a current legal issue such as:

Glossary of Terms

  1. agenda
  2. laws
  3. plagiarism
  4. procrastination
  5. rules
  6. time management

Unit 2: Heritage of Canadian Law

Evaluation: Oral Quiz #1

At the beginning of the class, Oral Quiz #1 is administered by the teacher with the entire class. Five (5) questions are read orally. Students work independently and write down their answers on the answer sheet. The quiz is taken up during class time and marks are assigned. The teacher may wish to audio record the quiz on the computer to be used by absent students during next class.

The Historical Roots of Law

  1. Code of Hammurabi p. 11
  2. Writing and Codification

What is cuneiform? Write Like a Babylonian
a) You may not be able to read an ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet after these activities, but you'll understand more about the earliest writing in the world. Have two volunteer students create their name in cuneiform, the way an ancient Babylonian might have written it. What is Hieroglyphics?
b) Have two volunteer students print a sentence in Hieroglyphics, the way Egyptians might have written it.

  1. The strong should not injure the weak".
  2. Mosaic law p. 11, stoning
  3. Roman law
  4. Divisions of the Law

Law-Making in Canada

  1. How laws are made in Canada p. 19-21 and see Making Canada’s Laws from Guide to the Canadian House of Commons
  2. how laws are interpreted,
  3. how laws are applied
  4. how laws are challenged
  5. how laws are enforced

Glossary of Terms

Unit 3: Culminating Unit and Library Field Trip

Methods of Legal Inquiry

  1. use research methods appropriately to gather, organize, and synthesize information
  2. evaluate the credibility of sources;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the dynamic nature of law, including the way in which it evolves

in response to technology and changes in societal values

  1. explain, discuss, and interpret legal issues, orally and in writing, using a variety of formats.


  1. Dewy Decimal Classification System
  2. MLA

Evaluation of Sources

Understanding of the Evolving Nature of Law


Glossary of Terms

Unit 4: Law Making, Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities

Evaluation: Oral Quiz #2

At the beginning of the class, Oral Quiz #2 is administered by the teacher with the entire class. Five (5) questions are read orally. Students work independently and write down their answers on the answer sheet. The quiz is taken up during class time and marks are assigned. The teacher may wish to audio record the quiz on the computer to be used by absent students during next class.

How Laws are Made in Canada

  1. Canada's Constitution
  2. The Constitution Act, 1867
  3. The Constitution Act, 1982

Rights and Freedoms

  1. Citizenship- vote,petition the government, run for election,speak our minds,organize with others who share our views or goals, access to information about government
  2. What is Democracy?
  3. Democratic Values- Equality, The Rule of Law, Privacy, Participation
  4. What are civil liberties?
  5. individual rights, group rights
  6. competing rights claims
  7. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms p. 30-44
  8. fundamental freedoms

Barriers to Human Rights

  1. Resolving Charter Infringements pages 44-46
  2. Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination pages 46-47
  3. First Nations Issues pages 74-83
  4. Women's Issues pages 68-73
  5. Immigration Issues pages 84-89
  6. Poverty Issues pages 94-96

Human Rights Legislation in Canada and in Ontario

  1. Human Rights Legislation and Enforcement
  2. Anti-terrorism Act
  3. Access to Information Act
  4. Canada Health Act
  5. Canada Labour Code
  6. joining apolitical party, running for office
  7. participating in a citizen's group
  8. participating in a public hearing
  9. contacting government officials and filing complaints
  10. public demonstrations
  11. challenging the law

Glossary of Terms

Evaluation: Test #1

Test #1 is written in the classroom. Students should study Units 1,2,3 and 4 (CU and Library Field Trip).

Unit 5: Canada's Court System,Trial Procedures, and Sentencing

  1. summarize the structure of the criminal court system, including avenues of appeal

Trial Procedures

  1. Arrest p. 88-91, 190, warrant, taser p. 191, fingerprints p. 201
  2. Duties of Police Officers: Citizens' Rights p. 92-96
  3. Awaiting Trial p. 104-109
  4. forensic science p. 203

The Courtroom

  1. describe the role of the lawyer, judge, jury, duty counsel, Crown attorney (prosecutor), jurisdiction
  2. criminal proceedings, R. v. Smith
  3. bail hearing, bail
  4. jury duty p. 224, jury selection p. 221 ,sequester the jury p. 224 no publication order (media blackout)
  5. oath, testify
  6. peremptory challenge p. 223
  7. beyond a reasonable doubt
  8. arraignment p. 225
  9. direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, leading questions p. 226, cross-examination, examination-in-chief
  10. subpoena, contempt of court p. 227, witness credibility p. 226
  11. rules about the admissibility of evidence and the burden of proof
  12. stay of proceedings
  13. small claims court p.314
  14. victim impact statement
  15. Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)
  16. victim impact statement


  1. describe the main principles of sentencing
  2. explain the various sentencing options available, including alternative options (e.g., use of healing circles, peer sentencing, victim-offender programs)
  3. restraining order
  4. own recognizance
  5. absolute discharge
  6. analyse the role of victims and victim impact statements in sentencing
  7. restitution p. 260
  8. peace bond
  9. appeal
  10. role incarceration, prison, jail p. 272 and its shortcomings
  11. community service orders p. 260,288,298-299
  12. conditional discharge
  13. probation
  14. parole
  15. acquittal

Glossary of Terms

Unit 6: Court House Field Trip, Mock Trial and Class Debate

Field Trip

  1. Field Trip to the local Courthouse and Police Headquarters

The Mock Trial

  1. Mock Trial Exercise

Class Debate

The teacher explains and demonstrates how to conduct and participate in an effective debate. Students debate on one or more of the following issues:

  1. aboriginal land claims
  2. aboriginal self government page 82
  3. abortion
  4. atheletes who injure another player
  5. copyright for music and web sites
  6. DNA testing page 210
  7. euthanasia page 134
  8. grafitti
  9. gun control page 120
  10. homosexuality page 89 to 91 and 396
  11. illegal drug use page 172
  12. mediation or the courts page 32
  13. no-fault insurance page 375
  14. restorative justice programs page 268
  15. rights of the poor page 94
  16. spanking page 442
  17. spousal and girlfriend abuse pages 240 to 241
  18. universal daycare page 484
  19. violence in professional sports page 312
  20. violent students page 304

Glossary of Terms

Unit 7: Legal Principles for Young Adults

Evaluation: Oral Quiz #2

At the beginning of this class, Oral Quiz #2 is administered by the teacher with the entire class. Five (5) questions are read orally. Students work independently and write down their answers on the answer sheet. The quiz is taken up during class time and marks are assigned. The teacher may wish to audio record the quiz on the computer to be used by absent students during next class.

Laws for Contracts

  1. breach of contract p.524
  2. buyers, consumer protection, misleading advertising, PhoneBusters, ATM password and credit card protection
  3. sellers
  4. Tenant and Landlord Agreements p. 548-557, 560-562 (Case Study p. 563)
  5. warranties p. 532 and disclaimers, CSA (Canadian Standards Association)

Laws for Driving

Laws for Employment

  1. apprenticeship contracts
  2. employment contracts
  3. equal pay for equal work
  4. job description
  5. misrepresentation of age

Laws for Property

  1. copyright
  2. family property
  3. royalties
  4. trespassing

Laws for Relationships

  1. agreements, contracts, undue influence p. 511
  2. child adoption, custody, protection, support, commercial surrogacy p. 514, arrears in family law
  3. marriage, common law relationships
  4. annulment, separation, divorce
  5. sexuality
    1. age of sexual consent
    2. homosexuality
    3. incest
    4. prostitution
    5. pedophilia
    6. sexual assault
    7. sexual harassment
  6. violence assault (hitting, beating), criminal harassment (stalking)

Helpful Places and Resources

  1. Tips for Personal Safety
  2. What should I do if i am being stalked?
  3. Assaulted Women's Helpline
  4. Ontario Women’s Justice Network
  5. Shelters, Sexual Assault Centres and Transition Houses in Ontario
  6. Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centres
  7. Survivors of Abuse Get Through Medical Examinations

Laws for Vices

  1. alcohol, drinking and driving
  2. gambling, lotteries
  3. narcotics laws
  4. tobacco

Youth Criminal Justice Act

  1. describe the key differences between the Juvenile Delinquents Act (1929), the Young Offenders Act (1984), and the proposed replacement for the Young Offenders Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act

Glossary of Terms

  • intent p.338
  • negligence p.338

Web Resources

  • Ontario Women's Justice Network. "Legal Glossary." Ontario Women's Justice Network. 10October 2004. Ontario Women's Justice Network. 20 Jul 2007 <>.

Unit 8: Criminal Law

What Is a Crime?

  1. Types of Criminal Offences p. 66-67
  2. The Elements of a Crime p. 67-74
  3. Parties to an Offence p. 74-76, victim, complainant, suspect, accused, witness, defendant, defence, alleged to have committed, perpetrator
  4. Criminal Trial Procedures p. 120-127; 142
  5. Evidence p. 127-133
  6. Sentencing an Offender
  7. Provisions for Victims of Crime
  8. Prison and Parole p. 166-171
  9. Dangerous Offenders
  10. Homicide p. 180-190
  11. Drug Offences p. 212-220
  12. Weapons Offences p. 196; 200
  13. Driving Offences: Impaired Driving p. 220-229
  14. Assault and Sexual Assault p. 180-190
  15. Property Crimes p. 190-193

Solving A Crime

  1. DNA evidence p.203-205,210-211
  2. polygraph
  3. wire tapping

Criminal Court

  1. preliminary hearing
  2. pre-trial
  3. plea bargaining

Wrongfully Convicted

  • AIDWYC(Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted) is a nonprofit legal organization that has developed a well-earned reputation as the advocate for wrongly convicted Canadians. Their clients are mostly poor, forgotten and have exhausted all of their legal avenues for relief. While one of AIDWYC's main goals is to champion the cause of factually innocent persons who have been wrongly convicted, they also work tirelessly to prevent their occurrence through legal education and reform.
  • Pro Bono Net is a unique organization in its use of information technology and collaboration among the various parts of the public interest legal community
  • Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO) is a charitable organization that promotes access to justice in Ontario by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono (free) legal services to persons of limited means.

Glossary of Terms

Evaluation: Test #2

Unit 9: Careers in Canadian Law Related Fields

Career Samples

  1. Advocacy Group Staff member page 97 (Human Rights)
  2. Clerk at a Small Claims Office page 332 (Civil Law)
  3. Correctional Services Officer page 119 (Criminal Law)
  4. Court Officer page 332 (Civil Law)
  5. Deputy Sheriff page 332 (Civil Law)
  6. Employment Equity Officer page 97 (Human Rights)
  7. Employee Relations Specialist page 596 (Contract Law)
  8. Family or Marriage Counsellor page 411 (Family Law)
  9. Human Rights Commissioner page 97 (Human Rights)
  10. Lawyer page 596 (Contract Law)
  11. Mediator page 411 (Family Law)
  12. Paralegal page 596 (Contract Law)
  13. Police Officer page 119 (Criminal Law)
  14. Probation Officer page 119 (Criminal Law)
  15. Social Worker page 411 (Family Law)

Canadian law schools

Volunteer Opportunities in Law Related Fields

  1. job shadowing
  2. volunteer with an advocacy group

Glossary of Terms

Unit 10: Tort and Dispute Resolution in Canadian Law

Overall Expectations

  1. distinguish between civil and criminal law
  2. describe the processes, legal institutions, and methods involved in bringing a civil dispute to trial

and resolution

  1. explain how the law applies to family matters
  2. analyse the role of law as it applies to contractual obligations and claims for compensation for

personal injury or loss

Civil and Criminal Law

Dispute Resolution

Family Matters

Contractual Obligations and Torts

Glossary of Terms

Evaluation: Final Evaluation

Textbooks for Students

All About Law (5th Edition) by Gibson, Murphy, Jarman, and Grant. ISBN:0-7-620148-3

Videos and Television Programs

  • Steven Truscott:His Word Against History, produced by The Fifth Estate
  • The Steven Truscott Story:Moment of Truth, produced by The Fifth Estate
  • My Cousin Vinny ,Palo Vista Productions
  • Jane Elliott:The Angry Eye This film documents the effects of racial prejudice with startling force and emotional intensity.
  • The Color of Truth - August 8, 1955, Quantum Leap TV Episode
  • Last Dance Before an Execution - May 12, 1971, Quantum Leap TV Episode
  • The Power of One, Alcor Films, 1992
  • The Bernardo Case: The Monsters Among Us, produced by CBC News-in-Review, October 1995
  • Bowling for Columbine directed by Michael Moore
  • Serial Killers, 1994 produced by Wavelength Video
  • Justice Denied:The Donald Marshal Story, NFB: National Film Board of Canada ,1989
  • Milgaard, Bar Harbour Films Inc. 1999
  • "Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms". 1986. Produced by Diana Cook and the Public Legal Education Society.
  • "Inadmissible Evidence". 1987. Produced by CBC (Fifth Estate).
  • "Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance". 1993. Dir. by Alanis Obomsawin. National Film Board of Canada.
  • "Our Constitution – The Law of the Land". 1990. Dir. by Jane Churchill. National Film Board of Canada.
  • "Struggle for Democracy: First Freedom". 1989 Produced by Democracy Films Ltd.
  • "Struggle for Democracy: Last Citizens". 1989 Produced by Democracy Films Ltd.
  • "Struggle for Democracy: Rule of Law". 1989 Produced by Democracy Films Ltd.
  • "Struggle for Democracy: Tyranny of the Majority". 1989 Produced by Democracy Films Ltd.
  • Canadian child health law. Knoppers, Bartha Maria Université de Montréal. Centre de recherche en droit public
  • An educator's guide to human rights
  • An educator's guide to violence in schools
  • Rights, freedoms, and the education system in Canada
  • Canadian copyright law. Harris, Lesley Ellen. - 1995
  • Digital property : - Harris, Lesley Ellen. - c1998
  • Canadian family law / - Kronby, Malcolm C., 1934
  • Musicians and the law in Canada : - Sanderson, Paul, 1954

Field Trips


Web Links

  1. Duhaime Law Glossary of Legal Terms
  2. Juvenile justice legal terms (USA)
  3. A Lost Heritage: Canada's Residential Schools
  4. The Wrongful Conviction of David Milgaard
  5. Wrongfully convicted Canadians
    * James Driskell
  • Donald Marshall Jr. Donald Marshall exonerated
  • Simon Marshall
  • David Milgaard
  • Guy Paul Morin
  • Romeo Phillion
  • Thomas Sophonow
  • Guy Paul Morin

Student resources

Teacher resources

Interactive Quizzes

Law Guru-American Persective

  1. Forensic Science Lesson Plans
  2. Forensic Science Correspondence Course in Oakville, Ontario