Promoting Human Rights
Our work with our CASHRA colleagues involves sharing information and taking positions on emerging issues, exchanging best practices and getting involved in initiatives to promote human rights, including an annual conference that is held in a different jurisdiction each year.
We are currently redeveloping the CASHRA website and plans are underway to create an online public education platform. See: www.cashra.ca
Making Connections phase one
In 2016, the Commission launched a multi-year project called Making Connections to address systemic barriers against Indigenous peoples and newcomers. Phase 1 of the project is aimed at identifying barriers experienced by Indigenous peoples.We have gathered a Council of Elders to guide us as we develop relationships with Indigenous peoples across the province, raising awareness about the Commission and our work. Our objective is to gather information that we can use to inform our education work. Once complete we will report to the community
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)'s Call to Action #57 calls on federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to educate their employees on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, and Indigenous law.
Recognizing that it is important to proceed thoughtfully to build relationships with Indigenous communities, we thought it important to take Making Connections to ceremony.
Commission Board and staff were honoured to be invited to participate in a ceremony in St. Georges, Manitoba. Elders Paul Guimond and Norman Meade shared the sacred teachings with Commission staff in an evening sweat on a beautiful summer evening in July 2017.
Not only did we learn about the sacred teachings, we had the opportunity to reflect on reconciliation and its role in the work we do to advance human rights in this province.
Reaching out to School Divisions
In June 2017 as part of a targeted education strategy, the Commission reached out to all school divisions across the province offering a human rights workshop or seminar for their staff. The response was overwhelmingly positive and plans are underway to connect with most school divisions in Manitoba before the end of the year. Some divisions have taken the opportunity to bring in school principals and support staff for a more formal presentation while others have arranged a more informal meeting with administrators.
In all cases, the meetings with school divisions offer the Commission the opportunity to share information about The Human Rights Code and to address issues that arise in a school setting that the Commission frequently hears about through the complaint process and enquiries from the public.
Making Connections phase two
Phase 2 of the project is aimed at identifying barriers experienced by newcomers. Discrimination against Manitobans based on their ancestry and race is still a reality in workplaces, housing and in accessing services. Therefore, the Commission is stepping up its efforts to educate the public about the rights and responsibilities in provincial human rights law.
In May 2018 the Commission reached out to resource providers in Winnipeg who work with clients from racialized and marginalized communities to offer human rights education sessions. The sessions are intended to assist staff and clients to identify and address issues of discrimination. the Commission will reach out to resource provider beyond Winnipeg in the fall of 2018.