Social Studies – Grade 9 Close this window
  What's this?

Legal Roles and Responsibilities

Design an information pamphlet to identify the five most important legal roles and responsibilities of Canadian citizens.

Outcomes References Related Resources

Suggested Activities

Students explore their responsibilities to the legal system and their role in the judicial system by designing a pamphlet that promotes the five most important legal roles and responsibilities of a Canadian citizen.

Distinguish between rights and responsibilities
Conduct a class discussion on the difference between a right and a responsibility. As the students generate ideas, write them on the board in two clusters—one for rights and one for responsibilities.

Ask students to work in small groups to identify school rules. Use the chart to organize their information on student rights and responsibilities, including consequences for not following rules. Suggest students consult their school planners, newsletters or websites to locate examples.

School Rules

















































Ask students to share their charts with the rest of the class.

Examine rights, responsibilities and the Criminal Code
Provide each student group with a news article about a current event involving the Criminal Code. Look for examples, such as a young person charged with break-and-enter, an editorial on the Youth Criminal Justice Act or the use of restorative justice. Caution is advised regarding the use of articles dealing with sensitive issues such as death or extreme violence.

Ask students to read their group's article, individually, and then to discuss, as a group, the rights, responsibilities and consequences of the acts committed in each case. Remind students that identifying rights and responsibilities may require making inferences based on the evidence provided.

You may need to review with students the concept of explicit information and inferences.

Ask each group to choose an article showing a violation of the Criminal Code. Using a chart similar to the School Rules chart, ask the groups to identify the rights, responsibilities and consequences for the individuals involved in the situation in the article. Encourage groups to share their articles and charts with the whole class.

Brainstorm contributions to the legal system
Encourage students to list numerous ways in which Canadian citizens contribute to Canada's legal system. To do this, you might invite students to brainstorm the following themes: personal behaviours, actions of others, direct participation in the justice system, indirect participation. Once the class has listed the contributions made by Canadians to the legal system, assign one contribution to each pair of students. Each pair should prepare a concise explanation of the contribution and its impact on society to share later with the rest of the class.

Examples of how citizens contribute, or do not contribute, to the security of the legal system could include the following:
Positive contributions

  • observing the highway code
  • jury duty
  • knowing the law
  • advocacy; i.e., John Howard Society, Elizabeth Fry Society

Nonpositive contributions

  • extortion, such as bullying, blackmail
  • vandalism
  • inappropriate use of the Internet.

To meet diverse learning needs, provide students with background information regarding various contributions to the legal system.

Determine criteria for important contributions
To assist students in selecting the most important legal roles and responsibilities, suggest they consider the following criteria:

  • fosters social stability
  • contributes to security
  • is consistent with social values and ethical behaviour.

Determine the five most important roles and responsibilities
Ask students to use these criteria to determine the five most important legal roles and responsibilities of Canadians.

Determine criteria for effective pamphlets
Provide students with sample pamphlets, leaflets or flyers gathered in the community. Form small groups and ask them to sort the pamphlets according to effectiveness. Ask the groups to identify criteria of effective pamphlets, such as the following:

  • visually appealing
  • concise
  • relevant content
  • clarity of information.

Design the pamphlets
Ask students to apply the criteria for effective pamphlets and design a pamphlet that clearly identifies the five most important roles and responsibilities of a Canadian citizen. Students may share their pamphlets by presenting them to others or displaying them.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
Copyright | Feedback
Back to top