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| Copyright Dominique Clément / Clément Consulting

A list of recent and key publications related to the history of human rights in Canada (and some additional pertinent publications on other regions). There are also detailed reading lists on this topic. See the author’s publication page for further studies on human rights history. If you are aware of additional recent publications on human rights history, please contact the webmaster.

Last updated in November 2023.

University of Pennsylvania Press, Studies in Human Rights (series)

Georgetown University Press, Advancing Human Rights (series)

University of Wisconsin Press, Critical Human Rights (series)


Bangarth, Stephanie, and Jennifer Tunnicliffe. “Writing Rights into the “New” Political History.” Canadian Historical Review 100, no. 4 (2019): 638-53.

Brown, R. Blake. “Firearm “Rights” in Canada: Law and History in the Debates over Gun Control.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 32, no. 1 (2017): 97-116.

Cargas, Sarita. “The Arc of Human Rights and Human Rights Education in History.” In Human Rights Education, 1-25: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020.

Clément, Dominique. “Sex Discrimination in Canadian Law: From Equal Citizenship to the Human Rights State.” In Canada’s Legal Past: Future Directions in Canadian Legal History, edited by Lyndsay Campbell. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2020.

Eckel, Jan. “The International League for the Rights of Man, Amnesty International, and the Changing Fate of Human Rights Activism from the 1940s through the 1970s.” Humanity 4, no. 2 (2013): 183-214.

Mckercher, Asa. “Sound and Fury: Diefenbaker, Human Rights, and Canadian Foreign Policy.” Canadian Historical Review 97, 2 (2016): 165-194.

O’Sullivan, Kevin. “Civil War in El Salvador and the Origins of Rights-Based Humanitarianism.” Journal of Global History 16, no. 2 (2020): 246-65.

Radforth, Ian. “Collective Rights, Liberal Discourse, and Public Order: The Clash over Catholic Processions in Mid-Victorian Toronto.” Canadian Historical Review 95, no. 4 (2014): 511-45.

Rainville, Paul-Etienne. “Au Nom De L’ordre Ou De La Liberté? Le Congre`S Juif Canadien Face a` Lare´Pression Des Libertés Civiles Et Des Droits Des Minorités Religieuses Au Québec (1945–1954).” Canadian Historical Review 99, no. 2 (2018): 196-224.

Tunnicliffe, Jennifer. ““Life Together”: Public Debates over Human Rights Legislation in Ontario, 1975-1981.” Histoire Sociale/Social History 46, no. 92 (2013): 443-470.


Backhouse, Constance. 2017. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé: A Life. eBook.Law and society series: UBC Press.

Cardenas, Sonia. Chains of Justice: The Global Rise of State Institutions for Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

Clément, Dominique. Human Rights in Canada: A History (WLU Press, 2016).

Clément, Dominique. Equality Deferred: Sex Discrimination and British Columbia’s Human Rights State, 1953-84. Vancouver: UBC Press/Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2015.

Clément, Dominique. Debating Rights Inflation: A Sociology of Human Rights. Kitchener-Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2018.

Adam Dodek. Ed. In The Charter Debates: The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution, 1980-81, and the Making of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, edited by Adam M. Dodeck. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018.

Eckel, Jan, and Samuel Moyn, eds. The Breakthrough: Human Rights in the 1970s. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

Eliadis, Pearl. Speaking out on Human Rights: Debating Canada’s Human Rights System. Montreal-Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press, 2014.

Fraser, Marian Botsford. Acting for Freedom: Fifty Years of Civil Liberties in Canada. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2014.

Goutor, David, and Stephen Heathorn, eds. Taking Liberties: The History of Human Rights in Canada. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Lui, Andrew. Why Canada Cares: Human Rights and Foreign Policy in Theory and Practice. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012.

Matthews, Robert O., and Cranford Pratt, eds. Human Rights in Canadian Foreign Policy. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988.

MacLennan, Christopher. Toward the Charter: Canadians and the Demand for a National Bill of Rights, 1929-1960. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003.

McKercher, Asa, and Philip Van Huizen, eds. Undiplomatic History : The New Study of Canada and the World. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.

Molinaro, Dennis. 2017. An Exceptional Law: Section 98 and the Emergency State, 1919-1936. Toronto: University of Toronto.

Patrias, Carmela. Jobs and Justice: Fighting Discrimination in Wartime Canada, 1939-1945. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Savage, Larry. Unions in Court: Organized Labour and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. UBC Press, 2017.

Thompson, Andrew S. On the Side of the Angels: Canada and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. UBC Press, 2017.

Tunnicliffe, Jennifer. Resisting Rights: Canada and the International Bill of Rights, 1947-76. UBC Press, 2019.

The readings lists available on this site deal with a range of topics from human rights to biographies and specific events.

    • Any use of material or referencing content from should be acknowledged by the User and cited as follows:

  • Clément, Dominique. “page title or document title.” Canada’s Human Rights History. (date accessed).