Posts Tagged ‘Discrimination’

B.C. is revamping its human rights system. How can it ensure justice is served?

September 7th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

In August, the new B.C. government took an important step: it decided to reinstate the B.C. Human Rights Commission, dismantled by the long-governing Liberals 15 years ago. This was not the first time that B.C.’s governments have taken a run at the human rights system. This year’s NDP announcement mirrors its restoration of the Commission in the 1990s after it was previously abolished by the Liberals in the Social Credit Action of 1983.

And good on the NDP for their persistence! Human Rights Commissions across the country play an important public advocacy role. They keep a watchful eye on larger system-wide problems — the myriad ways in which groups of people who are protected under provincial human rights legislation can be discriminated against. In Ontario, the Commission has been responsible for engaging in public consultations and preparing policies that help guide our society towards a fairer, less discriminatory society for people who have faced marginalization historically and still do today.

Continue reading “B.C. is revamping its human rights system. How can it ensure justice is served?”

With judges like Robin Camp, how impartial is Canada’s justice system?

September 29th, 2016 by Shelina Ali

This article was first published on rabble.ca

I was recently listening to a radio program featuring racialized lawyers in Ontario discussing the challenges they faced in the legal profession and was struck by my reaction. I thought: how unfortunate that this was all being shared publically. Unfortunate, not because I did not believe the experiences of these individuals or sympathize with the challenges they were describing, but because I didn’t want people to know about the challenges. Why would anyone hire a racialized lawyer if they knew that the lawyer felt that there was a higher standard placed on them in court, by judges, as compared with their non‑racialized colleagues?

I wish my reaction was that this was the unusual experience of one lawyer and not a reflection of the justice system’s treatment of marginalized groups generally. Instead, it was one which exposed my own distrust in the Canadian judicial system and its impartiality. And my belief that the justice system as a whole does not provide the same opportunities and access to justice for individuals of colour, women, and other marginalized groups.

Continue reading “With judges like Robin Camp, how impartial is Canada’s justice system?”

From Rio to Tokyo, gender discrimination in sport continues

August 25th, 2016 by Katie Douglas

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Caster Semenya, a South-African woman, ran and won the women’s 800-metre race at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Saturday night. Semenya has hyperandrogenism, a condition that causes her body to produce more testosterone than the average woman. Controversy around Semenya dates back to 2009 when she was forced to undergo blood and chromosome tests and a gynecological exam to prove that she is a woman. Many have argued that her high testosterone levels give her an unfair athletic advantage and she should either take medication to bring her testosterone levels in line with those of average women or be barred from competing.

This controversy brings to light one of society’s most persistent and destructive myths — that sex is a binary concept and our deeply entrenched view of the two genders and their respective roles is to be upheld in all areas from domestic tasks to sporting competitions. Athletes like Semenya are important because her participation raises the arbitrary and exclusive nature of this falsehood and the question of what society is going to do about it on an international and high‑profile stage. Continue reading “From Rio to Tokyo, gender discrimination in sport continues”

Bill C-16 introduces transgender protections but keeps Harper’s damaging human rights legacy

May 26th, 2016 by Shelina Ali

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Last week, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-16, an Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada to protect transgender individuals from discrimination and hate propaganda. The bill is almost identical to Bill C-279, a private member’s bill introduced in 2012 by NDP MP Randall Garrison. The two bills seek to make very simple amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and the Criminal Code of Canada (Criminal Code): to provide protection from discrimination and from hate propaganda based on gender identity or expression.

The history and fate of the previous Bill C-279, together with prior amendments to the CHRA carried out by the Harper government in 2012 under Bill C-304, provide important insight into why the reintroduction of these amendments is so important — but also how, through Bill C-16, the Liberal government has failed to take advantage of a crucial opportunity to undo Harper’s damaging impact on the scope of equality rights protections available to Canadians under the CHRA. Continue reading “Bill C-16 introduces transgender protections but keeps Harper’s damaging human rights legacy”

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal finds co-op failed to address harassment; awards $30,000 to victims

April 12th, 2016 by Shelina Ali

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has released a lengthy 87 page decision in which it found Rouge Valley Co‑operative Homes and its board of directors did not appropriately respond to a campaign of harassment against 10 of its members. It awarded $3,000 to each of the 10 members/applicants in the case as “compensation for the infringement of their right to be free from discrimination and harassment in the occupation of accommodation, including injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

This decision sets out some very clear expectations for housing co‑op Boards in dealing with issues of harassment and discrimination contrary to the Code. Volunteer board members should take note of the Tribunal’s expectations around how responsive and communicative a volunteer board of directors should be when dealing with these issues.

Continue reading “Ontario Human Rights Tribunal finds co-op failed to address harassment; awards $30,000 to victims”

Ending discrimination against First Nations children in Canada

February 26th, 2015 by Priya Sarin

In February 2007, a human rights complaint was filed by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (the “Caring Society”) and the Assembly of First Nations (“AFN”) against the Government of Canada, alleging that the government discriminated against First Nations children by providing inequitable child welfare services to children living on-reserve as compared to children living off-reserve (First Nations Child).

In particular, the First Nations Child complaint alleges that the federal government’s program underfunds children living on-reserve, such that children do not receive needed care and support that would permit them to continue to live at home and, as a result, First Nations children are disproportionately removed from their families in comparison to non‑First Nations children. The impact of the child welfare system on First Nations communities has been compared to the legacy created by the residential school system.

Read more on rabble.ca