As part of the Alberta Human Rights Commission's Indigenous Human Rights Strategy, we conducted an organization-wide external review to identify areas in which the Commission may be unknowingly perpetuating systemic discrimination against Indigenous Peoples through our programs, procedures, and operations. This review was conducted by an independent, Indigenous-led third party who used an in-depth approach to develop an understanding of the systemic issues that may exist within the Commission and practices that may have negative impacts on Indigenous Peoples.
With input from internal and external participants, the review identified and recommended doable approaches to improve services, reduce barriers, and address systemic discrimination against Indigenous Peoples. It identified six areas in which the Commission can enhance our services and responses affecting Indigenous Peoples, including:
The report highlights that Indigenous individuals do not access our programs and services due to a lack of awareness of the Commission, accessibility challenges, cumbersome processes, language barriers, and fear of being re-victimized or re-traumatized. Participants identified that:
- communication and engagement
As the Commission moves forward on the path of reconciliation, the external review has reinforced the need for us to meaningfully involve Indigenous communities, organizations, and individuals and ensure that initiatives are Indigenous-driven. The engagement, advice, and guidance from our Indigenous Advisory Circle is critical to developing and implementing change.
- The human rights system is complex, challenging to navigate, and often frustrating for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous complainants
- There is a need to strengthen Alberta's human rights approach to ensure it is accessible, respectful, and culturally appropriate for Indigenous Peoples
Implementing the recommendations from the report will improve outcomes for Indigenous Peoples when accessing the human rights system, as well as for other marginalized or disadvantaged groups who potentially experience similar barriers in accessing our programs and services.
The Commission has already taken steps to action some of the recommendations in the report. We will continue working with Indigenous communities with support from the Indigenous Advisory Circle on implementing the recommendations.
Revised: March 14, 2023