Alberta Human Rights Information Service (AHRIS) is a free online newsletter that keeps subscribers up-to-date on Commission news and events.

Alberta Human Rights Information Service (AHRIS) is a free online newsletter that keeps subscribers up-to-date on Commission news and events. AHRIS also provides timely information about human rights and diversity from other organizations.

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Alberta Human Rights Information Service - June 21, 2023

In this issue:

National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21

Human rights case law: Tribunal decisions
1. Recent Tribunal decisions
2. Summary of a recent Tribunal decision

Commission news
1. Now available: Tribunal navigator service
2. Tribunal practice direction
3. 2022/23 Human Rights and Multiculturalism scholarship recipients
4. Alberta 50 for 50 campaign
5. Appearing before the Senate
6. Coming Fall 2023: New Commission website

Other news
1. Alberta Hate Crimes Committee releases new research and receives 2023 Community Justice Award

National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21

National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023, #NIPD2023, hues of yellow orange pink red purple blue and green fill in the characters of June 21
Government of Canada.

Throughout the month of June, people in Canada recognize National Indigenous History Month, honouring the diverse cultures, heritage, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples across the country. Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, we honour the rich history and contributions of Indigenous communities in Alberta.

National Indigenous Peoples Day also serves as a reminder of the systemic issues Indigenous communities face and the continued need to take action for reconciliation. It is a time to look back on the history of colonization, including the tragic impacts of residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the urgent crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people. It is also a time to look forward and build stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and to redress ongoing injustices.

This past year, the Commission continued our commitment to remove barriers for Indigenous people through our Indigenous Human Rights Strategy. Following the release of our external review, and with support from the Commission's Indigenous Advisory Circle, several action items are currently underway to further Indigenous human rights in Alberta. These action items include increasing recruitment of Indigenous staff, improving our advocacy and education on Indigenous human rights issues, strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities, and making our complaint process more accessible, meaningful, and culturally relevant.

The Indigenous Human Rights Strategy remains a top priority for the Commission, and it is our hope that, by continually improving our systems, we will be able to better serve Indigenous people in Alberta. On National Indigenous Peoples Day and beyond, we encourage all Albertans to learn more about the diverse Indigenous cultures that have shaped our society, and to uphold Indigenous human rights in their workplaces, businesses, and communities.

Message from the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals
To recognize this important day, read a message from Kathryn Oviatt, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Human rights case law: Tribunal decisions

1. Recent Tribunal decisions
Read all Tribunal decisions free of charge on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website.

2. Summary of a recent Tribunal decision

Six-month deadline for filing judicial review of Tribunal decisions strictly applied
WW v Alberta, 2023 ABKB 340 (Alberta Human Rights Tribunal)

The complainant filed a judicial review of a decision dismissing his appeal to the Tribunal. The dismissal decision was dated July 6, 2022. Under the Rules of Court, his judicial review could be filed up to six months after the decision, making it due by January 6, 2023. The complainant sent it to the Court on January 3, 2023, but because digital filing takes a few days, he did not receive the filed version until January 9, 2023. He served the Originating Application for judicial review on the Alberta Human Rights Commission two weeks after the deadline for service under the Rules of Court. The respondent organization argued that the judicial review should be dismissed because it was out of time. The Court of King's Bench found that Rule 3.15 was to be strictly applied and the court was unable to extend the time to file and serve documents for a judicial review. As a result, the complainant's judicial review of the Tribunal's decision was out of time.

Commission news

1. Now available: Tribunal navigator service
The Tribunal Office has recently launched a new navigator service to improve access to justice for self-represented parties who require assistance navigating the tribunal stage of their human rights complaint.

The navigator service is part of the Tribunal's ongoing effort to improve access to justice. It is a foundation of fundamental justice that all parties have equal access to a fair, just, and expeditious hearing process. The navigator service is designed for self-represented parties who may have difficulty accessing or understanding the Tribunal's process. The Tribunal navigator is knowledgeable about the process and will provide information and procedural guidance to self-represented parties. The navigator cannot provide legal advice, advocate for a party, or represent a party at a Tribunal Dispute Resolution or hearing.

When the Tribunal Office receives a complaint, the navigator will contact the self-represented party to review the process and determine if they need a navigator. If so, the navigator will provide reminders about important deadlines, information on Tribunal letters and emails, and guidance on Tribunal proceedings and preparation. The navigator may direct self-represented parties to important information on how to submit their case to the Tribunal, but will not provide advice on how to make their case.

If you have any questions about the Tribunal navigator service, please feel free to contact the Tribunal Registrar at

2. Tribunal practice directions
The Tribunal posts practice directions on the Commission's website to explain the rules that govern how certain issues or proceedings before the Tribunal should be addressed or conducted.

In March, the Tribunal issued a new practice direction on the Status of hearing decisions.

3. 2022/23 Human Rights and Multiculturalism scholarship recipients
The 2022/23 recipients of the Alberta Award for the Study of Canadian Human Rights and Multiculturalism have been announced. This award encourages graduate studies that will create value for Albertans by promoting informed thinking about Canadian human rights, cultural diversity, and multiculturalism. The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund made this award possible.

  • Marie Cecile Kotyk received the doctoral-level award. Marie Cecile's research will utilize a multi-method approach oriented in lived experience to develop a framework addressing anti-Black racism in the housing and homelessness sector. The framework developed through this research will be applied to proposed and current housing policies to identify where they can be discriminatory, adversely impacting Black Albertans. The findings from this research could raise the awareness of the housing sector and policy-makers on the experiences of Black Albertans, inform targeted policy interventions that centre Black voices, and ultimately advance Black Albertans' access to housing.​

  • Ashmeen Aneja received the master's-level Pardeep Singh Gundara Memorial Scholarship. Ashmeen's research will explore the psychological help-seeking patterns of international students in Alberta. The research will employ both quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand the mental health literacy of international students, as well as the relationship between the acculturative experiences and help-seeking attitudes of international students. This research could inform schools, families, mental health professionals, and policy-makers on how to better support inclusion of international students through culturally sensitive mental health programs and services.

4. Alberta 50 for 50 campaign

AHRC 50th gold and dark blue anniversary logo, 50 years: Upholding human rights in Alberta

The Commission's #AB50for50 campaign encourages all Albertans to spend a minimum of 50 minutes expanding their knowledge and understanding of human rights in 2023. Check out our comprehensive list of human rights resources​, which includes engaging videos, reports, webinars, books, events, and more. This list makes it easy for Albertans of all ages to find activities to participate in our campaign.

Throughout our 50th anniversary year, we hope to inspire Albertans to take action and create a culture of human rights.

Albertans can participate in the campaign in a number of ways, including:

  • Reading a book
  • Watching a documentary or film
  • Volunteering at a local organization that promotes human rights causes
  • Attending a conference or webinar
  • Hosting a fundraiser for a human rights cause
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Taking a course
  • Hosting a human rights event at your school
  • Reading a report
  • Listening to a TED Talk or lecture
  • Attending a human rights workshop
  • Learning about the work of a human rights organization
  • Speaking with family and friends

Be sure to let us know how you're taking action by using the hashtag #AB50for50 on social media. Challenge friends, family, and colleagues by tagging them to join you in the campaign!

5. Appearing before the Senate

Kathryn Oviatt presenting at the Senate of Canada's Standing Senate Committee.

The Senate of Canada invited the Alberta Human Rights Commission to appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples. Held on April 19, 2023 in Ottawa, the meeting focused on exploring the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls' Call for Justice 1.7, which calls for the establishment of an independent, national Indigenous and human rights ombudsperson and a national Indigenous and human rights tribunal.

The Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Kathryn Oviatt, attended the meeting on behalf of the Commission. Ms. Oviatt presented on the Commission's Indigenous Human Rights Strategy, the role of our Indigenous Advisory Circle, and our recent external review. She also spoke about our ongoing initiatives that aim to make our human rights system more culturally relevant for Indigenous Peoples, including integrating Indigenous practices and customs into our complaints and tribunal processes, ongoing training for staff, and active efforts to recruit Indigenous staff and Members of the Commission.

Ms. Oviatt expressed the Commission's willingness to work with other provincial, territorial, and federal human rights bodies to improve access to justice and ensure Indigenous people have confidence in Canada's human rights systems. Importantly, she stressed that any reforms to human rights processes need to be Indigenous-led and reflect the diversity among First Nation, non-status, Métis, and Inuit communities.

6. Coming Fall 2023: New Commission website

The Alberta Human Rights Commission is set to unveil our new website in Fall 2023. The focus of our new website is to create an intuitive website design and provide simplified content. The goal is to have a website that is easy to navigate, more accessible, mobile-friendly, and easier for Albertans to access information. Development and testing are currently underway. Stay tuned for more information on our website's launch.

Other news

1. Alberta Hate Crimes Committee releases new research and receives 2023 Community Justice Award

Alberta Hate Crimes Committee black and white logo

The Alberta Human Rights Commission has been a supporter​ of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee (AHCC) since the committee's inception in 2022. ​The AHCC recently released its report, Victimized Community Perceptions about Hate Crimes and Incidents in Alberta: 2019-2022 Analysis, which assessed the current state of hate in Alberta and outlined opportunities to improve the situation. The feedback revealed that hateful actions were primarily communicative in nature, with derogatory slurs and graffiti being the most common forms. Incidents were reported across various settings, but public areas, transit, social media, and educational institutions were identified as the most problematic. Community feedback also noted that racial and ethnic minorities were substantially more likely to be victimized, followed by 2SLGBTQ+, religious, low socio-economic, and disability groups. The feedback highlighted that intersectionality increases the likelihood of hate crimes and incidents, with perpetrators more heavily targeting individuals who face multiple forms of vulnerability and visibility.

The AHCC also received the Alberta Community Justice Award (for Partnership and Collaboration), which recognizes the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations promoting community justice in the province.​


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