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Canada's Constitutional Evolution
An essay using the Canada in the Making site
The history of the written Canadian Constitution is a process that
could be described as being evolutionary. Sometimes, dramatic events
have spurred changes in legislation, which have in turn shaped future
events. Ultimately, this led to the Constitution that Canadians
enjoy today. This major essay will give students the opportunity
to analyze major constitutional documents and the events surrounding
them. In doing so they will examine primary sources (historical
documents) and draw conclusions from evidence.
Social Studies (History) and Language Arts; Ages 17 and up
This is an essay requiring that students become familiar with several
documents relevant to different themes in Canada's constitutional
history. It can be an independent or group activity and will require
multiple sessions online to complete.
Note that the sources used in ECO can be printed from the browser
and then photocopied.
Outcomes (WCP, APEF); Expectations
(ON); Objectives (QC)
Table of Curricular Relevance by Course
British Columbia and Yukon Territory
Computers with Internet access.
(Extension) Coloured card/paper for timeline, and paper backing.
Student Work Sheet
Early Canadiana Online: Canada in the Making
Essay writing resources can be found in the Writing An Essay
unit on ECO:
Other links can be found in the Student Work Sheet.
Students will need
An understanding of Web navigation symbols, tools and terminology,
particularly the tools used in ECO.
Familiarity with research and essay writing skills.
A basic understanding of the basic shape of Canadian history,
especially from the 18th century on.
Ask students what the biggest issue in governing Canada is today.
Possibilities include: separatism, regionalism, division of powers
between levels of government, etc. Discuss:
Draw them to the conclusion that the issues we face today have
deep roots that can be traced back in history.
Hand out Student Work Sheets and introduce students to the ECO Canada
In the Making Web site. Read the assignment and discuss.
Students search for the required information for each document.
They should discuss answers and try to make balanced comments about
each of the documents. It may be efficient for individuals to conduct
research together. Extra credit could be given for comments about
the documents not specifically identified on the Student Work Sheet.
Review consensus: Considering the shape of Canada and its politics
today, which document has the greatest impact on:
The status of Québec?
Individual rights and freedoms?
Other issues of interest or importance?
See the Suggested Rubric.
Individuals or groups could prepare a timeline of documents or events
in Canada's constitutional history.