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Social Movements in Canada

Social movements are groupings of people who push for or rally against a social change, including political matters. They do not have to be formal, and different movements can individually advocate for a common cause. Social movements can be broken down into different categories depending on the individual they target and the desired level of change (Clément, 2016). The main four types of social movements include alternative, reformative, redemptive, and revolutionary movements.

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The alternative ones seek limited change, reformative types try to alter the aspect of social structure, redemptive movements look for utter personal transformation, and the revolutionary attempt to rebel against the rules. Regardless of the form of the social movements, each one of these types plays a vital role in shaping different aspects of humanity.

Canada has different social movements that advocate for human rights in the country. The point of human rights in Canada gained prominence after World War II. Some of the common social movements in the country are centered on human rights. They include the Association for Civil Liberties (ACL) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) which advocated for the end of racial discrimination in the first generation of human rights (Rayside, 2019).

The peace movement mainly advocated for women’s rights in the early 1960s. In 1971, the Prince Edward Island Civil Liberties Association (PEI CLA) was founded as the second generation of human rights to advocate for a better prison system. The Generations of Rights is divided into three areas dealing with liberty, equality, and rights that are beyond the law. Therefore, the first and second-generation human rights apply to the chosen movements because they deal with freedom and racial minorities.

In addition, different social movements have been formed out of the need to ensure equality in the Canadian community. One such movement is the Canadian LGBT movement which advocates for equal treatment of lesbians and gays, notwithstanding their sexual orientation (Rayside, 2019). The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) has been at the forefront of advocating for equal women’s rights in society since the 19th century (Wickenden, 2021). The movement necessitated the enactment of numerous laws that advance women’s interests across different social issues, including voting and election.

One of the most social movements that I identify myself with is the Black Lives Matter Movement which was parked after the killing of Trayvon Martin in the United States in 2012. The murder of Michael Brown in 2014 and the killing of George Floyd in 2020 further energized the Black Lives Matter Movement. I believe it is vital to maintain equality between races. I live in a community inhabited by Afro-Americans and find it difficult to see them suffer from limitations. They employed the power of social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to arrange for protests (Hinther & Mochoruk, 2020). The movement has grown into an integral part of the social movements in Canada to address the fundamental right – of equality.

So far, it has succeeded in advancing the rights of black Canadians. The Black Lives Matter Movement in Canada attracted the attention of the top authorities, including the prime minister and the capital’s head of police join in the protest. Even though the movement has not attained any legal changes, they have initiated mentorship and education programs for black people. For instance, through the WildSeed Centre for Art and Activism, the movement has supported black Canadians in education and other initiatives. They also work with the indigenous community to advance the interests of marginalized communities in the country (Hinther & Mochoruk, 2020).

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The Black Lives Matter Movement has been instrumental in ensuring that the legal system is not bent to favor actions by the white people against the black by enhancing substantive justice. From the point of view of formal justice, they contributed to the distribution of equal rights before the law. The movement also promoted racism as a hate crime within the framework of basic justice. Finally, the participants managed to change the perception of blacks in ethical practice.


Clément, D. (2016). Human rights in Canada: A history (Laurier studies in political philosophy). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Hinther, R. L., & Mochoruk, J. (2020). Civilian internment in Canada: Histories and legacies (Human Rights and Social Justice Series, 2) (Illustrated ed.). University of Manitoba Press.

Rayside, D. (2019). Canada’s LGBT movement and interest groups. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Web.

Wickenden, D. (2021). The agitators: Three friends who fought for abolition and women’s rights. Scribner.

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