Commission news archive 2017

Here you will find an archive of Commission news entries from 2017 that have previously been posted on the Commission's home page.

PASSING OF DR. FELIX (FIL) BLACHE-FRASER, FORMER CHIEF COMMISSIONER, ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
(December 3, 2017)
The Commission notes with sadness the passing of Dr. Felix (Fil) Blache-Fraser, an advocate of human rights and a former Chief Commissioner of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Dr. Fraser served as Chief Commissioner from 1989 to 1992. You can read Dr. Fraser’s obituary

BILL 23, ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS AMENDMENT ACT, 2017, WILL STRENGTHEN HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION AND PROTECT ALBERTANS FROM AGE DISCRIMINATION
(November 14, 2017)
Bill 23, Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act, 2017, was passed in the Alberta Legislature on November 14, 2017. The bill will come into force on January 1, 2018.

The bill amends the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act) to add “age” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under sections 4 (goods, services, accommodation or facilities) and 5 (tenancy) of the Act. There are some exceptions that allow specific types of age distinctions to continue without violating the Act.

In addition to the amendments to sections 4 and 5 of the Act, Bill 23 also amends the Act to provide protection for ameliorative programs and activities, which are designed to improve the condition of disadvantaged people. An example of this is employment or internship programs for Indigenous youth.

Important information about making a human rights complaint relating to age under sections 4 and 5:

  • The Commission cannot accept complaints on the ground of age under sections 4 and 5 until the amendments come into force on January 1, 2018.
  • Only incidents that occur on or after January 1, 2018 will be covered by the new protection.
You can read a more detailed overview of the amendments.

 
DECEMBER 10 IS HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
December 10, 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can read more about Human Rights Day in the special issue of the Commission newsletter.

BILL 23, ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS AMENDMENT ACT, 2017, WOULD STRENGTHEN HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION AND PROTECT ALBERTANS FROM AGE DISCRIMINATION
(November 1, 2017)
Bill 23, Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act, 2017, was introduced in the Alberta Legislature on November 1, 2017. If passed, the bill would amend the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act) to add “age” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under sections 4 (goods, services, accommodation or facilities) and 5 (tenancy) of the Act. There will be some exceptions that would allow specific types of age distinctions to continue without violating the Act. The bill would come into force on January 1, 2018. The Commission will not accept complaints on the ground of age under sections 4 and 5 until the legislation is passed and comes into force. You can read the Government of Alberta news release and Bill 23. The Government of Alberta has published a summary of the proposed amendments.

GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA SEEKS APPLICATIONS FOR CHIEF OF THE ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
(October 16, 2017)
The Minister of Justice and Solicitor General is seeking applications from visionary individuals who are passionate about human rights, and are dedicated to protecting and promoting the human rights of Albertans by serving as the Chief of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The Minister is looking for an inspirational leader who understands the diverse needs of communities across Alberta. Offices are located in both Edmonton and Calgary. Details can be found in the recruitment posting on the Government of Alberta website. The closing date for the competition is April 6, 2018.

UPCOMING GRANT APPLICATION DEADLINES
Supporting equality and freedom from discrimination
(August 21, 2017)
The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund provides grants that support community projects that foster equality and reduce discrimination. The Commission is accepting Expressions of Interest for Community Inclusion grants for Alberta Municipal Governments (deadline September 15,2017) and Human Rights Project grants for non-profit organizations and public institutions (deadline October 2, 2017). For more information, visit the grants page.

GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA SEEKS APPLICATIONS FOR DIRECTOR OF THE ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
(August 18, 2017)
The Minister of Justice and Solicitor General is seeking applications from individuals interested in serving as the Director for the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The Director is located in Edmonton and provides leadership to offices in Edmonton and Calgary. View the recruitment posting for the Director’s position on the Public Agencies website. The competition closes on September 17, 2017.

COMMISSION BIDS FAREWELL TO DON SMALLWOOD
(June 30, 2017)
On June 30, 2017, Don Smallwood left his position as Director of the Commission to take a new position within the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General as Executive Director, Claims and Recoveries Branch, Justice Services Division. Mr. Smallwood served as Director of the Commission from April 2, 2012 to June 30, 2017.

Commission staff express their gratitude for the leadership provided by Mr. Smallwood during his tenure at the Commission. His hard work and commitment to human rights have moved the work of the Commission forward in significant ways over the last five years. We wish him all the best in his new position.

COMMISSION CONGRATULATES JANICE R. ASHCROFT, Q.C., ON APPOINTMENT TO COURT OF QUEEN’S BENCH IN ALBERTA
(June 23, 2017)
Janice R. Ashcroft, Q.C., Senior Legal Counsel to the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, was appointed a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary on June 23, 2017. During her 19 years at the Commission, Justice Ashcroft was a committed ambassador for human rights in Alberta, litigating cases for the Commission in her early years as legal counsel for the Director of the Commission and advising tribunal members as senior legal counsel to the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals in recent years. She also spoke regularly at educational forums and conferences about human rights and administrative law issues.

Justice Ashcroft’s commitment to and empathy for vulnerable Albertans will be an enduring legacy. Her colleagues and friends at the Commission congratulate her and wish her the best in her new role. Read the news release from Justice Canada.

HUMAN RIGHTS IN EMPLOYMENT FORUM SERIES:
ACCOMMODATING MENTAL DISABILITIES IN THE WORKPLACE
The Commission is offering forums on Accommodating Mental Disabilities in the Workplace.
Edmonton: May 3, 2017
Calgary: May 10, 2017
Read more about the forums and learn how to register.

MARCH 21: INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
Read the Chief's Message and the Commission newsletter marking International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

CHIEF OF THE COMMISSION AND TRIBUNALS OFFERS MESSAGE REGARDING
QUEBEC CITY MOSQUE SHOOTING
(January 31, 2017)
You can read the Chief's message.

AGE WILL BE ADDED AS A PROTECTED GROUND UNDER SECTIONS 4 AND 5 OF
THE ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
(January 2017)
A court application, pursuant to the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was brought against the Alberta Government on January 6, 2017. The application alleged that with the omission of “age” as a protected ground under sections 4 (goods, services, accommodation or facilities) and 5 (tenancy) of the Alberta Human Rights Act, certain rights of seniors in Alberta are not protected. Alberta Justice consented to the application, but requested a 12-month reprieve to allow the government time to change the legislation. The Court granted the 12-month time frame as part of the Consent Order. In following the direction of the Court, the Commission will not accept complaints on the ground of age under sections 4 and 5 until such time as the legislation is amended or January 6, 2018, whichever occurs first. 

Page revised: April 10, 2018


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