November 3, 2011

Human Rights Commission releases 2010 annual rep

Human Rights complaints based on pregnancy on the rise

"A new trend in human rights complaints is the increase in the number of complaints based on pregnancy," says Dianna Scarth, Executive Director of the Commission.

The 2010 Manitoba Human Rights Commission's Annual Report reveals that in 2008, 36 per cent of complaints based on sex were pregnancy related. In 2009, this increased to 67 per cent, and in 2010 the percentage was again high at almost 50%.

In response to this trend the Commission published a guideline "Pregnant Women and Parents" in 2009.

Another trend, which was first reported in 2009 and continues, is the increase in complaints filed on the basis of mental disability. In 2010 the Commission offered a new seminar as part of its education programs on mental health issues in the workplace.

"It is always difficult to determine what causes these increases," says Ms Scarth. "It could be more awareness, or it could be related to the economy. In a tight economy the most vulnerable in the workplace are often the first victims of cutbacks or reorganizations."

The 2010 Annual Report also highlights two major successful systemic settlements. One deals with Winnipeg City Council's Public Works Committee approving a plan allowing people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia to use Handi-Transit.

The other is an individual complaint with a systemic resolution involving changes to a Manitoba health care policy, which has resulted in more family members receiving funds when providing non-professional home care services.

In his annual report message, Chairperson Jerry Woods writes, "I strongly believe that confronting discrimination in our complaint process, recognizing our responsibility to develop educational workshops, building on partnerships, and increasing human rights awareness will result in a change of attitude, and incidents of discrimination and harassment will diminish in future generations."

The 2010 Annual Report is available on the Commission's website

For more information please contact

Patricia Knipe
Communications Director
Manitoba Human Rights Commission