Fondations of the Charter
Role of the Charter
The Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities is a tool based on the values of justice, peace, solidarity, equality, dignity and respect. The Charter also recognizes the role of citizens in city affairs. It serves as a form of social contract providing for the municipal administration’s firm commitment to constantly improving citizen services.
The Montréal Charter is based on the values underlying fundamental rights: respect for human dignity, equality, inclusion, tolerance and justice (Articles 1 to 4). These shared values are essential to responsible, productive and harmonious relations between citizens and the city.
The Montréal Charter introduces the principle of citizen responsibility. Citizens and the city share efforts to ensure the enjoyment of the rights stated therein and they take actions that are compatible with the city’s commitments. For example:
- Exercise their right to vote; participate, within their means, in city issues of concern to them and respectfully express their opinion (Article 15);
- Use public facilities appropriately (Article 21);
- Use drinking water responsibly (Article 23);
- Emphasize preventive security measures (Article 25);
- Help to keep the city clean (Article 27);
- Other responsibilities (Preamble – 2nd, 13th and 14th paragraphs) :
- Promote neighbourliness, respect for the social environment, and protect the natural environment
- Observe laws, by-laws and the public good
- Respect the rights of others.
From whom was the Charter created?
The Montréal Charter establishes new relations between the city and its citizens.
In this Charter, "citizen" means any person living within the city territory (Article 30).
The Montréal Charter applies to the boroughs, to corporate departments, to paramunicipal agencies, city-controlled corporations, their employees, civil servants and any other parties doing work on behalf of the city (Article 29).
Limits of the Charter
The commitments stated in the Montréal Charter are subject to the limits of city authorities and the city’s financial resources (Article 31).
The Charter is not intended to serve as the basis for a legal action nor to be used in a judicial or quasi-judicial form (Article 32, 2nd paragraph).
Role of the ombudsman
The Montréal Charter includes an innovative component: it provides for a city ombudsman to whom citizens may refer in case of a dispute, and whose role is to facilitate dialogue and recommend concrete solutions to citizens and the city alike. (Articles 32 to 41).
However, the ombudsman is a last recourse. It is the responsibility of all parties to try to reach an agreement. If the difference cannot be resolved, the ombudsman is there to help you.
Only citizens may file a complaint with the ombudsman (Article 32).
Evaluation of the Charter
Within four years of the date this Charter comes into force, and periodically thereafter, Montréal will conduct public consultations aimed at assessing the effectiveness, the relevance and the coverage of the rights and responsibilities defined in this Charter, as well as in the monitoring, investigative and complaint procedures that it provides.