This blogpost was originally written in French, and has been translated to English below.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many restrictions have been placed on fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In response, serious warnings have rightfully emerged regarding the necessity of safeguarding these freedoms and ensuring that they are restored when the pandemic – and the resulting medical emergency – abates. One must hope that we will be vigilant in preserving the individual rights and freedoms safeguarded by the Canadian Charter, called “first generation” rights, such as the freedom of association. However, we could also consider that this historic moment may provide an opportunity to advance what are often termed “second generation” rights, or economic and social rights.Read more
For Black History Month, the Institute launched a policy series highlighting bold policy solutions in order to tackle anti-Black racism, focusing on the need for intergovernmental action. Each submission proposes a plan for governments to work together to tackle a problem; while serving as a guide for advocates working towards [what should be] our collective effort to eradicate anti-Black racism.Read more
The recent passage of Bill 21 in Quebec, which effectively bans teachers and other provincial employees from wearing the hijab, continues in the legacy of discriminatory policy that is based on the securitization of Muslims in Canada. Put simply, expressions of Muslim identity are portrayed as a threat to security in Western societies, including Canada. Such Islamophobic overtures have been catapulted into the public discourse in recent years with the mainstreaming of right-wing political ideas that rest on the demonization of Muslims. As political leaders verbalize (unfounded) anxiety around cultural and political assertions by Canadian Muslims, the community continues to experience elevated levels of anti-Muslim hate and violence. The Quebec City mosque shooting is among the deadliest incidences of domestic terrorism in Canada. Hate crime statistics between 2016 and 2017 indicate a 151% increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims.Read more
FOURTH NON-COMPLIANCE ORDER RENDERED BY THE CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL IN FIRST NATIONS CHILD WELFARE CASE
Two years after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) found Canada to be racially discriminating against over 165,000 First Nations children, the Tribunal has issued a fourth non-compliance order against the Federal government on February 1, 2018 (February 1, 2018 Order) or its failure to implement “immediate relief’ measures pending longer term reform. In its 2016 landmark ruling, the Tribunal found the Government of Canada in breach of the Canadian Human Rights Act for providing inequitable child welfare services to First Nations children and their families and for failing to implement Jordan’s Principle (Jordan’s Principle is a child-first initiative aiming to ensure that First Nations children has access to equitable and culturally appropriate services without delay). The Tribunal ordered a series of immediate measures to relieve the most egregious elements of the discrimination whilst longer term reform took place. It is astounding and unconscionable that two years and four non-compliance orders later, Canada has not complied even with the “immediate relief” measures let alone seriously engaged in long term reform.Read more
In January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal released a historic decision finding that the Government of Canada was racially discriminating against over 165,000 First Nations children. Leading up to the decision, the Government of Canada spent more than 8 million dollars in legal fees trying to have the complaint dismissed on technical grounds. After the decision was issued, the Government of Canada tried to evade human rights scrutiny by arguing that reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples would best be achieved through consultations, rather than orders from the Tribunal. The authors argue that this distorted version of reconciliation is in fact incompatible with the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and domestic and international human rights law.Read more
Sadly, in many ways nothing more powerfully and obviously underscores the critically important role that trade unions and trade unionists play in human rights struggles - around the world - than the grave abuses they so frequently experience simply because they stand up for the rights of workers or lead and take part in important social movements addressing wider human rights concerns.Read more