Alberta Human Rights Information Service September 28, 2011

In this issue:

Commission news

Human rights and diversity news from Alberta Culture and Community Spirit

Other human rights and diversity news:

Alberta news
Canadian news

Related publications and resources


1. Human Rights in the Workplace fall workshops still available: It's not too late to register for upcoming Human Rights in the Workplace public workshops scheduled for Calgary and Lethbridge. 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 and the fall public workshop schedule.

2. Commission congratulates legal counsel Arman Chak: The Commission congratulates Arman Chak of Edmonton, legal counsel with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, on winning the 2011 Young Lawyers-Canadian Bar Association (YL-CBA) Pro Bono Award for outstanding legal services benefiting the community. Read more.  

3. Commission hosted annual CASHRA conference: 

The Commission hosted the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) in June.

Many of the conference presentations are now available on the CASHRA 2011 website.

    4. Chief of the Commission and Tribunals re-appointed and Commission member appointed: On July 26, 2011, the Lieutenant Governor in Council re-appointed the Honourable David Blair Mason, Q.C. as a member of the Commission and redesignated him as Chief of the Commission and Tribunals for a term to expire on December 31, 2012. Geeta Bharadia was also appointed as a full-time member of the Commission, for a term to expire on October 30, 2014. Read the news release and the biographies of members of the Commission.

      5. Seeking nominations for the Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction 2012:

      Nominations are now open for the Alberta Human Rights Commission Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction. The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes organizations that welcome diversity in their workforces, are eliminating discrimination and barriers to employment, and are helping to build respectful and inclusive workplaces. The Diversity Leadership Award is one of the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction. Organizations in all sectors, including businesses, community organizations and public institutions, are eligible to apply. The deadline for nominations is November 25, 2011. Applications are submitted online

      6. Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) update:

      The Town of Fort Macleod joins CMARD: The Town of Fort Macleod has recently joined CMARD, bringing the number of Alberta municipalities involved in the Coalition to eleven. Read the List of Signatory Municipalities who have joined the Coalition.  

      Freedom of expression traveling exhibit: The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom launched a traveling exhibition of editorial cartoons, Freedom of Expression in Broad Strokes. The exhibit will travel across Canada and will be displayed in cities that are members of CMARD. The Alberta schedule is as follows:

      • Wetaskiwin: October 10 to 20, 2011 at Wetaskiwin Library, 5002-51 Avenue
      • Wood Buffalo: June 1 to 21, 2012 at MacDonald Island Community Art Gallery

      Read the press release issued by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

      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. Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund:

      Scholarship awarded:
      A Ph.D. student from the University of Calgary and a Master's student from the University of Alberta were granted the Alberta Award for the Study of Canadian Human Rights and Multiculturalism. These scholarships will enable them to undertake research that will help our understanding about discrimination in Alberta prisons and about integration of persons with disabilities in Alberta society. The intent of the scholarship is to help develop expertise about effective ways to reduce discrimination and to support the full participation of Albertans in all aspects of life. Read the information bulletin.

      2. Significant dates:

      September 8 was International Literacy Day:
      International Literacy Day focused on the link between literacy and peace. UNESCO reports that worldwide almost 800 million adults, mostly girls and women, are illiterate. From September 8 to 10, 2011 an international conference on Women's Literacy for Inclusive and Sustainable Development was held in New Delhi. The conference was organized by UNESCO's E9 Initiative. Read more about the conference in the UNESCO media release

      You can read about Canadian literacy rates:

      The Alberta Human Rights Commission has developed a publication about human rights in Alberta for adults who are improving their English literacy skills. Read more and link to the print and audio versions of Human rights in Alberta.

      September 21 was the International Day of Peace: This year marks the 30th anniversary of International Day of Peace. On this day, the United Nations asks warring parties around the world to observe one day of cease-fire. Read more about International Day of Peace and about ideas, resources and events that took place to recognize the day.

      October is Women's History Month: This year's theme for Women's History Month is "Women in Canadian Military Forces: A Proud Legacy." From the Status of  Women website: "During Women's History Month, we honour Canadian women, past and present, who have done valuable work within and outside the Canadian military, taking on great challenges and opening doors so that others may follow." Read more.

      October 18 is Persons Day: Persons Day commemorates the 1929 landmark decision when women were declared "persons" under the law. Read more about the Persons Case. Alberta recognizes Persons Day through the Persons Case Scholarships, available for Alberta students who choose studies that contribute to the advancement of women, or for students who are pursuing careers in fields where members of their gender are under-represented. Scholarship applications are available online.

      November 20 is Universal Children's Day: Universal Children's Day commemorates the day on which both the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) were adopted. 

      November 25 is the International Day to End Violence Against Women: From Unifem's website: "Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women is a social mobilization platform on ending violence against women and girls, contributing towards UN Secretary General's system-wide campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women." Read more.

      November 25 to December 10: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence: This year's theme is "From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!" Read more about the campaign and the 2011 theme.

      Alberta Culture and Community Spirit offers a handout and poster, Celebrate All Year Round, to promote days significant to human rights and diversity. 
      The resources are intended to remind Albertans of significant international, national and provincial days related to human rights and diversity throughout the year. To order the handout or poster, contact or call 403-297-8407.
      See the list of significant days on the Help Make a Difference website.


      Alberta news

      1. Bullying prevention resources:
      Alberta Education developed several resources to help parents and students cope with bullying. The Bullying Prevention webpage has information on caring, respectful and safe learning environments, as well as details on Alberta's Prevention of Bullying Strategy. 

      2. Alberta government marks National Aboriginal Day with pilot project announcement: The Government of Alberta helped kick off National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2011 by announcing a new pilot project that will help ease the transition for Aboriginal families moving to Edmonton. Read more about the pilot project, New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service, in the news release.

      3. Province stepped up employment standards enforcement: The Government of Alberta increased efforts to improve fairness in the workplace with a combination of better enforcement and education. A new resource, Employment Standards Tool Kit for Employerswas created to improve awareness of standards and to give employers a clear picture of their rights and responsibilities.
      Read the news release.

      Canadian news

      1. News from Equality for Gays And Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) Canada:

      In June 2011, EGALE Canada was in Alberta to train Lethbridge, Taber and Calgary police as part of the Report Homophobic Violence, Period Program. This round of training coincided with Statistics Canada's release of Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2009 that indicates crimes motivated by sexual orientation are still on the rise. Read the news release issued by EGALE.

    • EGALE released the report, Every Class in Every School: The first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools. Read the report.

    • Step Up! Speak Out! Ally Campaign for Inclusive Sport calls upon the Canadian sport community to respect all individuals involved in sport, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation. Read the news release.

      1. New human rights interactive online tool for young women: A new interactive online tool, my work rights was launched by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission in an effort to tackle low awareness rates among young women about discrimination at work. Read the media release issued by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission in Australia.

      2. New study documents link between diversity and innovation: A recent report, Global Diversity and Inclusion: Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce, released by Forbes Insights, documents the link between diversity in the workplace and innovation. From the Forbes Insights website: "For many of the world's largest companies, diversity is a key driver of innovation and a critical component of being successful on a global scale." Read the report.


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