This includes the history of Canada (Including Treaties with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada) and major events in the formation of Confederation, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Patriation of the Constitution, provincial and federal responsibilities, governmental structures and functioning and Canada's past achievements as a state global citizen and its past and future potential role in the world.
Past record has included:
- Being the first place in the British Empire (well ahead of Britain) to abolish slavery.
- Leadership in the Commonwealth of Nations regarding the abolition of apartheid.
- The creation of the UN peacekeeping force.
- Canada’s central role in the drafting and adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and successive UN conventions.
- Canada’s central role in establishing the International Criminal Court.
In addition Canada has long prided itself on opening its doors to asylum-seekers. In times of crisis in decades past, Canada resettled refugees quickly and in large numbers. It airlifted more than 5,000 people from Kosovo in the late 1990s, more than 5,000 from Uganda in 1972 and resettled 60,000 Vietnamese in 1979-80. More than 1.2 million refugees have arrived in Canada since World War II.
Canada continues this noble record by committing to accept 25,000 Syrian Refugees in the current Syrian Refugee crisis.
“Tonight they step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada, with social insurance numbers, with health cards, and with an opportunity to become full Canadians. This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share.”
- Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau
Within Canada, individual provinces are responsible for education, and two provinces in particular have developed detailed curricula for citizenship education: Ontario and British Columbia. Over the last few years, both provinces introduced Civics courses emphasizing citizenship education. In Ontario, the course emphasizes informed, purposeful, and active citizenship. The course explores what it means to be an informed, participating citizen in a democratic society. Students learn about the elements of democracy in local, national and global contexts, about political reactions to social change, and about political decision-making processes in Canada. They also explore their own and others’ ideas about civic questions and learn how to think critically about public issues and to react responsibly to them. In British Columbia, the “Civics Studies” curriculum stresses informed citizenship and civic action. Students acquire knowledge and understanding of their connections to the civic world and their responsibilities as members of various local and global communities.