Alberta Human Rights Information Service December 6, 2011

In this issue:

Commission news

Other human rights and diversity news:

Alberta news
Canadian news


1. Passing of Pardeep Gundara, former Southern Regional Office Director, Alberta Human Rights Commission

It is with deep sadness that the Commission announces the passing of Pardeep Gundara, a champion and defender of human rights in Alberta and former Southern Regional Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Pardeep was a remarkable individual who began his service with the Alberta Government 33 years ago. He began his career in human rights as a Human Rights Officer and ultimately became Director of the Southern Regional Office of the Alberta Human Rights Commission in Calgary.

Born in Kenya, Pardeep moved to the United States as a young man and there achieved an impressive education, earning his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Nasson College after studying at the prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine, and his Master of Arts (MA) degree from Niagara University in New York.

While living in the United States, Pardeep had an inspirational involvement in the civil rights movement by taking part in Martin Luther King Junior's famous march on Washington.

Pardeep was strongly committed to and had a passion for human rights. This, along with his international perspective, knowledge of diverse groups and ability to speak seven languages, allowed him to reach out to and support Alberta's diverse community. 

Pardeep was greatly valued and deeply respected by his colleagues and staff, as well as by members of the public whom he served. He was known and respected in southern Alberta as a fair administrator who had extensive knowledge of human rights legislation and processes.

Pardeep's commitment to the most vulnerable in our society, including Albertans with disabilities, Aboriginal people and many others, served as a model for all staff at the Alberta Human Rights Commission as well as the many people who came to the Commission seeking help.

Pardeep will be dearly missed and always remembered.

2. Commission congratulates two staff members on recent awards:

  • The Commission congratulates Arman Chak of Edmonton, legal counsel with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, on winning the 2011 Edmonton Community Foundation Eileen Nash Memorial Award for his efforts in providing services on a pro bono basis for charities and charitable causes that enhance the quality of living for under-privileged people in the Edmonton area.

  • The Commission congratulates Cam Stewart of Calgary, community services consultant with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, on winning the Community Learning Network Outstanding Contribution to Community Adult Learning Award for his volunteer work in promoting and supporting learning and literacy to adult learners in the province.

3. Recent tribunal decisions: The Commission recently released the following tribunal decisions:

Charles Jurek v. Rocky View School Division No. 41 (Preliminary matters decision; October 12, 2011; Shirley Heafey, Tribunal Chair)

Richard Heil v. Canada Safeway Limited (Preliminary matters decision on a severance agreement; November 30, 2011; Moosa Jiwaji, Tribunal Chair)

These tribunal decisions can now be accessed free of charge through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website.

4. Alberta Justice now has responsibility for the Commission: Responsibility for the Alberta Human Rights Commission recently shifted from the Ministry of Culture and Community Spirit (now Culture and Community Services) to the Ministry of Justice. Read the October 12, 2011 news release and backgrounder.

5. Human Rights in the Workplace public workshops, Winter 2012: The Commission has scheduled three Human Rights in the Workplace public workshops for winter 2012. The full-day workshops, intended for managers, supervisors, team leaders, human resource professionals, union leaders and small business owners will provide participants with:

  • an overview of Alberta's human rights legislation,
  • information from the workshop module Duty to accommodate and
  • an understanding of harassment in the workplace and strategies to prevent such harassment.

The full-day workshops will also provide participants with an understanding of respectful and inclusive workplaces and strategies to create such workplaces.

The workshops qualify for points towards Certified Human Resources Professional recertification.  Read more about recertification points

Winter public workshops are scheduled as follows:

Edmonton: February 8, 2012
Calgary: February 15, 2012
Lethbridge: February 29, 2012

Read more about the workshops. To register for a winter public workshop, please use the public workshop registration form. 

    6. Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) update: The Town of Fort Macleod recently unveiled a sign proclaiming the town as a member of CMARD. Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, the Honourable D. Blair Mason, Q.C., attended the awards, along with Cam Stewart, community services consultant with the Commission. Read more in the Macleod Gazette article.  

    7. Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund:


    Human rights and multiculturalism scholarship: Students pursuing graduate studies in Canadian human rights or multiculturalism are invited to apply for the Alberta Award for the Study of Canadian Human Rights and Multiculturalism. This award encourages graduate studies that will create value for Albertans by promoting informed thinking about Canadian human rights, cultural diversity and multiculturalism. The award is made possible through the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund. There are two awards of $10,000 each - one for Master's level study and one for Doctoral level. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2012. Download the application form and read about past scholarship recipients.

    PLEASE NOTE: In the following sections of the newsletter, we publish news and information provided by other organizations. We also link to other websites related to human rights and diversity. The Commission provides this information as a service and is not responsible for the content provided by other organizations on their websites or by other means. Please direct comments or inquiries regarding these organizations or their websites to the organization in question.


    1. Significant dates:

    National Bullying Awareness Week:
    November 13-19 was National Bullying Awareness Week. Albertans were encouraged to stand up to bullying. Read the Government of Alberta information bulletin. Through Alberta's Prevention of Bullying Strategy, the Alberta government is working with families, schools and communities to find solutions to stop bullying behaviour, including cyberbullying and homophobic bullying.

    Some of the Government of Alberta resources available to help combat bullying include:

    International Day for Tolerance: November 16 was the International Day for Tolerance. The United Nations encouraged all to move beyond tolerance to the acceptance of others' differences. Read more.

    Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day: On November 28, a ceremony was held at the Legislature to commemorate the third anniversary of Ukainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day in Alberta and to honour the contributions the Ukrainian community has made and continues to make in Alberta. Holodomor was a famine in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1932 to 1933, during which time millions of inhabitants died of starvation. On November 4, 2008, Bill 37, Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act, came into force, proclaiming every fourth Saturday in November a day of remembrance in Alberta. Bill 37 received the unanimous support of the Legislative Assembly. Read the news release.

    International Day of Persons with Disabilities: December 3 was International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The aim of this day is to increase awareness and understanding of persons with disabilities and the issues that impact their lives. Read more on the United Nations Enable website.

    National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women: December 6 marks the anniversary of a tragic event in our country's history that is recognized as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day in 1989, 14 young women were murdered at Montreal's l'École Polytechnique because of their gender.

    December 10 is International Human Rights Day: December 10, 1948 was the day on which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed by member nations of the United Nations. A Canadian, John Humphrey, was the primary author of the Declaration. The members of the UN hoped that the horrors of the recently ended war could be avoided if a universal code of human rights governed the behaviour of individuals and countries. Read more about International Human Rights Day.

    International Migrants Day: December 18 is International Migrants Day. On December 18, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

    See the list of significant days on the Help Make a Difference website.

    The Commission offers a flyer and poster called Celebrate All Year Round to remind Albertans of significant international, national and provincial days related to human rights and diversity. To order the flyer or poster, contact or call 403-297-8407. 

    Alberta news

    1. New resources on promoting inclusion and diversity: The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations released two publications on promoting inclusion and diversity:

    • Humanly Possible: - Workforce Inclusion Plan
    • Beyond the Boomers: A Guidebook for Building an Immigrant Workforce in the Nonprofit Sector
    • 2. Student online resource addresses cyberbullying and privacy: Alberta students now have access to an additional online resource to help them contribute to caring, respectful and safe learning environments and communities. The new MyWorld online resource includes information on safe use of the Internet for all schools with students in grades 9-12. Read more about MyWorld and read the information bulletin.

      3. New online resource about foreign-earned education: A new online tool will help employers and human resources professionals better understand academic credentials earned abroad. The Education Overview Guides will improve the attraction and retention of newcomers which is an important part of addressing the province's future labour shortage. Read the news release.

      Canadian news

      1. Report on the challenges of integrating new immigrants: The Federation of Canadian Municipalities released a report that examines the challenges city governments face when integrating new immigrants. Read the report.

      2. Resources on accommodation, harassment prevention and pregnancy: The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has developed new model policy templates for workplace accommodation and harassment prevention and also a guide outlining an employer's responsibilities regarding pregnancy in the workplace. The resources are now available on the CHRC website.

      The Alberta Human Rights Commission also offers resources on these topics:

      3. Resources for Aboriginal people: The Canadian Human Rights Commission's National Aboriginal Initiative has created a web presence for outreach to Aboriginal people and communities. Fact sheets, guides and other resources are available on the website

      The Alberta Human Rights Commission also offers the brochure Aboriginal People and the Alberta Human Rights Act.

      International news

      1. Day of the Girl:
      Plan Canada celebrated its Day of the Girl, a day to recognize girls' rights globally, on September 22. The day was marked with the annual release of a report on the state of the world's girls. Read this year's report, Because I am a Girl: So, what about the boys?, and read the press release from Plan Canada.


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