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Definitions are presented in the order source books were published (most recent first).
In Canada, the legal right guaranteed by section 15 of the Charter. Equality is a highly debated concept, but means, at least, that people are entitled to equal treatment from the state in respect of fundamental goods and services. In Canadian law, "equality" is measured against a guarantee of freedom from discrimination, that is, from being singled out for harmful treatment because of personal characteristics such as sex or race. Equality is also described in terms of a formal guarantee of "similar" treatment, say, in being subject to the same laws as everyone else; and as a further guarantee of "substantive equality" that recognizes that "similar treatment" is not always sufficient to ensure equality. Both meanings have been endorsed in Canadian law.