Alberta Human Rights Information Service December 12, 2018

In this issue:
Human rights tribunal decisions
Commission news
Other human rights and diversity news


HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL DECISIONS

1. Recent tribunal decisions
 The Commission recently released the following tribunal decisions:
  • Jon Maude v. NOV Enerflow ULC (Interim Decision; November 19, 2018; Sharon Lindgren, Tribunal Chair)
  • B.L. v. International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers, Local Lodge 146 (Preliminary Matters Decision; November 19, 2018; Karen Scott, Tribunal Chair)
  • Michael Sutherland v. Apollo Sunrooms Inc. and Andrew Banack (November 8, 2018; Cherie Langlois-Klassen, Tribunal Chair)
  • Dawit Kebede v. SGS Canada Inc. (Interim Decision - Adjournment; November 2, 2018; Karen Scott, Tribunal Chair)
  • Joseph Swampy v. Syncrude Canada Ltd. (Interim Decision; October 29, 2018; Michael Gottheil, Tribunal Chair)
  • Albert Bordeleau v. Imperial Oil Resources Limited (Preliminary Matters Decision Severance Agreement; August 27, 2018; Karen Scott, Tribunal Chair) 

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

COMMISSION NEWS

1. What’s new in Commission resources?
The Commission has developed two new information sheets:

  • Human rights in tenancy: outlines how the Alberta Human Rights Act protects Albertans from discrimination in both residential and commercial tenancy. It explains how age is now a protected ground in tenancy, offers examples of discrimination in tenancy, and describes how the duty to accommodate applies to tenancy. You can read the Human rights in tenancy information sheet.
  • Human rights in condominiums: outlines how the Alberta Human Rights Act protects Albertans from discrimination in the provision of accommodation, more specifically in occupancy of a condominium unit. It explains how age is now a protected ground in the provision of accommodation, offers examples of discrimination in condominiums, and describes how the duty to accommodate applies to condominium corporations. You can read the Human rights in condominiums information sheet.

2. Upcoming Human Rights in the Workplace Public Workshops
The Commission is offering public workshops intended for anyone wanting basic human rights information. You can read more about the public workshops. The dates for upcoming workshops are:
Edmonton:
February 6, 2019
You can register online.
Calgary: February 27, 2019
You can register online.

3. The Chief of the Commission and Tribunals in the Community
Michael Gottheil, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, presented at or attended the following events:

  • Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE): Michael Gottheil was invited to speak to Alberta CACE (Canadian Association of Counsel for Employers) members in Edmonton on November 26, 2018 and in Calgary on November 30, 2018. Mr. Gottheil discussed the current state of human rights in Alberta and provided his insights about how to improve the process for its stakeholders.
  • Bank of Canada: On November 20, 2018, Michael Gottheil was invited to speak at a ceremony hosted by the Bank of Canada in Edmonton, issuing the new $10 bank note commemorating Canadian human rights pioneer Viola Desmond. Mr. Gottheil spoke about Viola Desmond’s experience of discrimination at a movie theatre in 1946, when Black people were only allowed to sit in the balcony, and as she was short sighted, she decided to sit on the main floor. She was forcibly removed, arrested and charged with tax evasion for the one cent revenue on the price difference between the balcony seat and main floor seat, and thrown in jail. Mr. Gottheil talked about how years of struggle against discrimination came into focus through the brave act of one individual and noted that these are the stories that have a will to be told.
  • Construction Labour Relations Conference: On November 15, 2018, Michael Gottheil served as a moderator at a panel session at the 4th Biennial Western Construction Labour Relations Conference in Edmonton. The panel session “Why are Human Rights Laws so Important in the Construction Workplace? And Why You are Walking to a Danger Zone if You Ignore Them!” offered participants valuable insight about the important role that human rights play in the construction workplace and related practical advice.
  • Commission forum: Addressing Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: Michael Gottheil offered welcoming remarks to the participants attending the Commission forum on Addressing Racial Discrimination in the Workplace in Edmonton on October 31, 2018.
  • Canadian Bar Association: Introducing the new Chief: On October 22, 2018, Michael Gottheil was the guest speaker for the Canadian Bar Association Labour and Employment Law (North). Mr. Gottheil spoke about his vision, as well as future challenges, for the Commission. He discussed the current state of the Commission, processes and procedures, what we can learn from other jurisdictions regarding human rights enforcement, and how to build a system that is responsive to its users.
  • Persons Day: Michael Gottheil attended LEAF (Legal Education and Action Fund) Edmonton’s Persons Day Breakfast on October 22, 2018. Elaine Craig, Associate Professor of Law at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, was the keynote speaker. She spoke passionately about systemic failure in sexual assault trials and outlined achievable initiatives that could help to minimize sexual assault complainants’ trauma relating to the trial experience without threatening the rights of the accused.
  • Administrative Justice and Mental Health: On October 18, 2018, Michael Gottheil was a panel speaker at the 43rd annual conference of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ) in Ottawa. The theme for the conference was Justice and Mental Health. The topic of the panel "Administrative Justice and Mental Health: Promises, Perils and Possibilities" offered a discussion of the advantages and challenges of administrative tribunals adjudicating cases that involve people with mental health disabilities.
  • Human Rights Law class, U of A: Michael Gottheil was invited to speak to a Human Rights Law class at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta, on October 10, 2018. He spoke to the law students about the human rights process, comparing differences in the process between the Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

4. President's Award presented to Chief of the Commission: The Commission is pleased to announce that Mr. Gottheil, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, was presented with the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ) 2018 President’s Award at the CIAJ conference for his exceptional contribution as a CIAJ volunteer. From the CIAJ website: “The work of CIAJ volunteers is essential to achieve CIAJ’s mission and reach its objectives.” You can read more about the President’s Award.

5. Projects funded in part by a grant from the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund (Fund)

Tree logo Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund 

Recently completed grant project
The Association for the Alberta Network of Immigrant Women, on behalf of the Alberta Men's Network, received a grant from the Fund to engage community members and service providers province-wide to promote strategies that address racism and other forms of oppression. They produced a variety of resources, including community research briefs and toolkits. The resources address various forms of discrimination, including gender inequity, racism, sexual stigma, ableism, and domestic violence. The research briefs also examine the health and well-being of Latino and South Asian men's relationships in Alberta and explore how past colonialism has impacted the definition of masculinity for all men. Through feedback from participants, an online resource directory was produced listing crisis lines, clinics, counseling, and other supports for men. For more information, email inquiries to the Contact Us section at www.alberta.men.com.

Ongoing initiative
The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights developed the Advancing Reconciliation in Education Toolkit that supports a process where students can explore reconciliation using a rights-based approach. Following on the success of this pilot project that was funded by a Human Rights Project Grant, the Reconciliation in Schools program is being implemented provincially. To learn more about the toolkit, email info@jhcentre.org.

6. Business online course to prevent consumer racial profiling: The Alberta Human Rights Commission is a member of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), which is made up of provincial and territorial commissions and the Canadian Human Rights Commission. CASHRA launched a free online course Serving All Customers Better that will help businesses address and prevent consumer racial profiling. Two additional free online courses, Safer Spaces in Canada and Working with Abilities in Canada, will be available soon on the CASHRA virtual classroom webpage

OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIVERSITY NEWS

1. Federal government working towards a barrier-free Canada:
On December 3, 2018, Canada acceded to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. From the Government of Canada news release: “Accession to the Optional Protocol means that Canadians will have additional recourse to make a complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, if they believe their rights under the Convention have been violated.”

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