Human Rights Activism
Visit this website’s sections on the Gouzenko Affair and the October Crisis of 1970 to learn more about two of the most controversial moments in Canadian human rights history. In both cases, the government used emergency powers in peacetime to suspend the civil liberties of all Canadians to deal with a minor threat.
To learn more about the history of human rights in Canada, visit the main events section. For information about individuals and organizations in the human rights movement, visit the section on biographies and social movement organizations.
In addition, there are lists of human rights historians in Canada as well as recent publications. The database in the archives section contains all the primary documents on this site. It is a portal to a vast array of original materials, including statutes and laws, documents produced by social movements, briefs presented to the constitutional committee (which led to the patriation of the Constitution), and more. Another section, further reading, is a comprehensive list of books and articles on human rights history. The links section includes sites for historical research, history portals that are similar to this site, a list of human rights organizations, and more.
The Further Reading link on the right will bring you to a comprehensive list of readings on this topic. For some initial readings, see:
Clément, Dominique. Canada’s Rights Revolution: Social Movements and Social Change, 1937-82. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008.
Clément, Dominique. Equality Deferred: Sex Discrimination and British Columbia’s Human Rights State, 1953-84. Vancouver: UBC Press/Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2014.
Goutor, David, and Stephen Heathorn, eds. Taking Liberties: The History of Human Rights in Canada. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Lambertson, Ross. Repression and Resistance: Canadian Human Rights Activists, 1930-1960. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.
Miron, Janet, ed. A History of Human Rights in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2009.
A history of state funding for nonprofits in Canada including a searchable database of grants from Canadian governments to organizations. Click here.
The readings lists available on this site deal with a range of topics from human rights to biographies and specific events.