Alberta Human Rights Information Service March 21, 2014


In this issue:

Human rights case law: Tribunal decision

Commission news

Other human rights and diversity news:

Significant dates

Alberta news

Canadian news


1. The Commission recently released the following tribunal decision:

  • Ladislav Mihaly v. The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) (February 6, 2014; Moosa Jiwaji, Tribunal Chair)

This tribunal decision can be accessed free of charge through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website.


1. The Commission released 2012-13 Annual Report: The Commission has released its 2012-13 Annual Report. The report provides a summary of results achieved in the three areas of activity undertaken by the Commission: education and engagement, complaint resolution and complaint adjudication. It also includes information about the legislative framework for the Commission and the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, biographies of the Members of the Commission, and a list of tribunal decisions made in 2012-13. You can read the report.

2. Commission Senior Legal Counsel honoured with Queen's Counsel appointment: Janice Ashcroft, Senior Legal Counsel, Office of the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission was honoured with a Queen's Counsel appointment for her contribution to the legal profession and community. From the news release: "The Queen's Counsel designation recognizes the exceptional capabilities and talents of this year's impressive group. These lawyers are a credit to their profession and to their province," said Jonathan Denis, QC, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. You can read the news release.

3. The Commission attended recent events: 

  • Equal pay presentation: Janice Ashcroft, QC, Senior Legal Counsel, Alberta Human Rights Commission, presented a session on equal pay to the Business and Professional Women's Club of Calgary on March 12, 2014.  Ms. Ashcroft discussed the current legislation on equal pay specific to gender and highlighted cases where the courts have found that women in the workforce have been paid less than their male counterparts performing the same or "substantially similar" work. 

  • Housing and human rights event: On March 5, 2014, Cam Stewart, Policy and Program Consultant for the Commission, and Dr. Yale Belanger of the University of Lethbridge, were keynote speakers at a lunch and learn event hosted by the Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative at the Calgary Public Library. They discussed housing and human rights, highlighting recent research on discrimination against Aboriginal people in the area of tenancy, and the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. Over 60 people attended this event and participated in an informative dialogue afterward.    

  • Human rights workshop presentation to junior high students: On February 26, 2014, Janice Ashcroft, QC, Senior Legal Counsel, Alberta Human Rights Commission, and Ms. Amna Qureshi, an articling student at Alberta Justice, presented a human rights workshop to grade nine students at Rideau Junior High School in Calgary. The students learned about Alberta's human rights legislation, discussed discrimination and participated in role-playing scenarios to decide whether or not the Alberta Human Rights Act was breached.

  • Come Together Alberta Provincial Conference: The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) hosted the Come Together Alberta Provincial Conference: Building Welcoming and Inclusive Communities at the University of Calgary on February 6 to 7, 2014. This two-day conference was attended by provincial and community organizations, municipalities and Government of Alberta representatives interested in developing welcoming and inclusive communities throughout the province. The conference supported networking and provided an opportunity for participants to learn about other initiatives taking place across Alberta.

    Working together since 2006, the Alberta Human Rights Commission and the AUMA have partnered on the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD) and Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) initiatives and a number of other projects. The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund (HREMF) has provided several grants to the AUMA to support this work, including the development of a provincial network.

    The Honourable Blair Mason, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, has long been a champion of CCMARD and WIC. Mr. Mason attended the conference and brought greetings to the participants on day two of the conference. He highlighted the importance of strong relationships and collaborations in creating welcoming and inclusive communities where people can participate in and contribute to the cultural, social, economic and political life of Alberta without discrimination.


    The Honourable Blair Mason, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, brings greetings to conference delegates.


    Cassie Palamar, Director of Education and Engagement, and Susan Coombes, Manager of Education and Engagement, both of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, at the Commission information booth.

  • Meeting with committee at Red Deer College: Responding to an invitation from Red Deer College, Janice Ashcroft, QC, Senior Legal Counsel, Alberta Human Rights Commission, met with a committee comprised of human resource professionals as well as union, faculty and student representatives on January 23, 2014. Ms. Ashcroft and the committee discussed different protocols and procedures involved in the reporting of human rights complaints.  

  • Citizenship Ceremony: On December 17, 2013, the Alberta Human Rights Commission partnered with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and the Aero Space Museum of Calgary to host roundtable discussions and a citizenship ceremony for 50 new Canadians. Commission staff facilitated group discussions before the ceremony and the The Honourable Blair Mason, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, addressed the new Canadians after they took their oath of citizenship. You can watch a video of the event on the CBC news website.


4. Upcoming employer forum: Family Status Accommodation and Compassionate Care Leave: The Alberta Human Rights Commission, together with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Institute of Alberta, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. and the Teamsters' Union, is offering a breakfast forum for employers. The forum presenters will discuss family status accommodation under the Alberta Human Rights Act and Compassionate Care Leave under the Employment Standards Code and the related obligations of employers and employees. This is the third session in the Duty to Accommodate employer forum series, and it takes place in Edmonton on April 15, 2014.

Janice Ashcroft, QC, Senior Legal Counsel, Office of the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals for the Alberta Human Rights Commission; Vicki Giles, Partner, McLennan Ross LLP; and Darrell Peterson, Senior Legal Counsel for Enbridge Pipelines, will lead the discussion on the rights and obligations concerning family status protection and Compassionate Care Leave. There will be an opportunity for questions following the presentations.

To learn more about the forum, see Family Status Accommodation and Compassionate Care Leave (PDF). You can register online. For more information, call Jane Maze at 780-422-1924 in Edmonton. You can call toll-free from Alberta locations outside Edmonton by first calling 310-0000. Registration is limited to 60 participants.

5. Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund:

The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund has recently provided $481,990 in grants to help foster equality and increase Albertans' capacity to build respectful and inclusive organizations. The 10 nonprofit organizations that received these grants are building a province where all Albertans can contribute to the cultural, social, economic and political life of the province without discrimination. Read about all grants approved since April 1, 2013.

Organizations that want to apply for a Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund grant are encouraged to contact an Education and Engagement Consultant to discuss the project idea and letter of intent requirements. The next grant deadline is May 1, 2014.

For applicants in and south of Red Deer, contact Cam Stewart at or call 403-476-4657.
For applicants north of Red Deer, contact Nicholas Ameyaw at or call 780-427-4001.
To call toll-free within Alberta, dial 310-0000 and then enter the area code and the phone number.

Recently completed projects that were supported by the Fund: 
  • Diversity Friendly Communities project: Carstairs, Grande Cache, Jasper and Rocky Mountain House recently completed a Diversity Friendly Communities project with Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA). Each community worked on projects using an Active, Creative and Engaged model to create and maintain diversity-friendly communities. Learning opportunities for community leaders and ARPA staff also increased their capacity to implement these and future projects. The communities continue to network amongst themselves. You can read details about the community projects and their achievements.

  • Report on human rights training for new Canadians: The Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd., also known as Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA), conducted research on the immigrant sector in Alberta and found that there was a need for human rights training and information for newcomers and their service providers. The project, Law for Alberta's Multicultural Communities, investigated the types of resources immigrants need in order to learn about human rights in Alberta. One of the findings is that human rights information on employment practices is an important area of need. Another finding is that many immigrant parents receive information through their children who often act as information brokers. You can read the research report on the CPLEA website

    CPLEA is currently acting on the research results to develop information and resources for immigrant youth on how to recognize and appropriately respond to workplace discrimination. The objective is to build capacity and empower youth as they enter the workforce and support the role they often play as information brokers for family members and other adult immigrants.

  • 6. 2014 Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction

    Once again, the Commission partnered with the Alberta Chambers of Commerce to offer the 2014 Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction. This award is part of the Chambers' Alberta Business Awards of Distinction program and was awarded to Enbridge Pipelines Inc. for their efforts in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. The Honourable Blair Mason, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, presented the award to Enbridge Pipelines at a gala in Edmonton on February 28, 2014.

    Other finalists of the Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction, also recognized for their efforts in building diverse and inclusive workplaces, included Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre Jasper and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

    Nominations for this award open in September. Read more about the Diversity Leadership Award.

    2014 Diversity Leadership Award recipients Mr. Leon Zupan, Chief Operating Officer, Liquid Pipelines, and Dr. Lori Campbell, Manager, Diversity, both of Enbridge Pipelines Inc., and the Honourable Blair Mason, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission.

    7. Upcoming forum on Aboriginal human rights issues: On March 26, 2014, the Alberta Aboriginal Human Rights Network will be hosting a forum in Edmonton on Aboriginal human rights issues. The Alberta Human Rights Commission is a member of the network, which also includes the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge, Aboriginal Commission on Human Rights and Justice, Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative, Creating Hope Society, John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, and Native Counselling Services of Alberta. You can read more and register for the forum.

    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.


    Significant dates

    March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
     International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed all around the world to focus attention on the problems of racism and the need to promote racial harmony. The United Nations designated this day in memory of anti-apartheid demonstrators killed in Sharpeville, South Africa in 1960. Albertans are invited to participate in events organized across the province. Read more about International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    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 in Calgary. Call toll-free from Alberta locations outside Calgary by first dialing 310-0000 then entering the 10-digit number.

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

    Alberta news
    1. Age-friendly businesses and workplaces: Alberta Health offers a web page on age-friendly businesses and workplaces. From the web page: "Making your business more age-friendly is not only a socially responsible thing to do ... it's also good for business." The following related resources are also available:

    2. Handbook for Aboriginal protocol: The University of Lethbridge developed the resource Blackfoot and First Nations Métis and Inuit Protocol Handbook. From the document: "The purpose of this document is to provide a guideline for University of Lethbridge faculty, staff, students, board, and senate members when incorporating Blackfoot and other First Nations Métis and Inuit (FNMI) cultures into activities or ceremonies on campus."

    3. Preventive approaches in Aboriginal programs brief: The City of Calgary's Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) released an Aboriginal Brief that provides guidance for developing and delivering Aboriginal programs in culturally respectful and appropriate ways. You can read the brief.

    4. Reports on immigration policy: The Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary (ECCC) released a report about the results of their research on the impact of Canada's rapidly changing policies on ethno-cultural and immigrant communities in Calgary and the implications of new immigration policy on families. You can read the report Families Together/Families Apart: The social and economic impacts of family separation and the changes to the Family Reunification Program in Canada. In May 2013, the ECCC developed a guide to explain some of the major changes to Canadian immigration policy that have taken place since 2008. You can read the report A Guide to Canada's Changing Immigration Policy.

    Canadian news

    1. Launch of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Essential Skills Inventory Project website:
    The Canadian Career Development Foundation, in partnership with Employment and Social Development Canada's Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, launched a website that offers a comprehensive inventory of essential skills initiatives aimed at First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. From the website: "The First Nations, Inuit and Métis Essential Skills Inventory Project's (FIMESIP) goals are to better understand the state of practice with respect to Essential Skills initiatives tailored to First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth and adults living in diverse communities throughout Canada and to share these insights and lessons learned with the larger community of practice."


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    Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.