February 24, 2017

Manitoba Human Rights Commission dedicates more resources to human rights education

Each of us must find our own way to end discrimination.
 
For 35 years, human rights and the guarantee of equality for people living in Canada has been protected by our Constitution through the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Here in Manitoba, for 30 years, The Human Rights Code has prohibited discrimination based on characteristics such as ancestry, race and nationality, sex, gender identity, disability, family status and sexual orientation. Canadians take great pride and comfort in the existence of these important laws.

“Despite what the law says, human rights remain fragile, often because of fear and lack of information. This can lead to attitudes of hatred and intolerance, and in cases like the recent shootings at a mosque in Québec, violence”, says Yvonne Peters, Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners.

Manitoba like other areas of Canada is entering into an important time of change. We have begun the process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, more and more newcomers are making this province their home and recently people have risked their lives to seek asylum in Manitoba.  We have become a province of diverse peoples, cultures, religions, and traditions.

Despite our diversity, The Manitoba Human Rights Commission continues to hear accounts of discrimination and racism that indicate that our neighbours, friends, and fellow citizens are experiencing demeaning and degrading behaviour, or are being stereotyped and prejudiced based on who they are; where they come from, what they believe in, and who they appear to be.

The Commission has restructured its operations to meet the need for human rights education. We have created new positions directed solely to educating the public and promoting the objectives of The Human Rights Code.

Anyone who sees or experiences discrimination can make a complaint to the Commission. But we cannot rely solely on individuals to correct injustices. We all have a responsibility to prevent and eliminate discrimination. As individuals we should object to comments or behaviours that express discriminatory attitudes. Service providers such as restaurants, stores, health care facilities and places of education must ensure that they provide a discrimination-free environment for both staff and those customers/clients/students who wish to access their services. Likewise employers have a responsibility to ensure that employees are not discriminated against.

Each of us must find our own way  to take that extra step to live up to the promise of our laws which recognize the individual worth and dignity of every human being.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Isha Khan
A/Executive Director & Counsel
Manitoba Human Rights Commission
Phone: 204-945-3016
Email: Isha.Khan@gov.mb.ca