Human Rights In Canada

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Hi everyone, my name is Robin Durling and I've been an advocate with the BC Human Rights Coalition for about seven years now. Speaking to groups like yours is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I enjoy explaining to newcomers to Canada how their new country protects their rights. To start I'd like to tell you a little bit about the BC Human Rights Coalition. We work to improve human rights for everyone in British Columbia. We do this by informing people about their rights and asking the government to create laws that better protect those rights.

Everyone who is in Canada has human rights from the moment they arrive. You don't have to be a citizen and it doesn't matter where you are from, or if you are a permanent resident, a temporary worker, a tourist, or a refugee. Here are just some examples of your rights and freedoms in Canada. You have the right to live free from discrimination. You have the right to protection from hateful speech. You have a right to your political beliefs. You can believe in any religion or no religion. You have the right to be free from sexual harassment.

I know human rights can seem a bit complicated, but you will find it all makes good sense in the end, because human rights are really about all of us living together treating each other with respect and not discriminating.

In Canada our human rights law says that it is against the law to discriminate against people. Discrimination occurs when you treat people differently because of their personal characteristics and it affects them negatively.

What do you mean when you said personal characteristics?

Good question. A personal characteristic includes things about you such as your race, where you come from, the color of your skin, your religion, your sex, your age, and whether you have a mental or physical disability. Those are just some examples. So discriminating based on personal characteristics could include a number of things like, if someone refuses to serve you in a store because of your race or religion, if you receive a worse kind of service because of your skin color, if a manager does not hire you because of your sex, if you are fired because you become pregnant, if the landlord does not rent an apartment to you because you are gay, and if your employer fires you because you are disabled and need time away from work. When someone discriminates against another person based on their personal characteristics, he or she is breaking laws that are created to protect your human rights.

So how am I protected against discrimination?

In fact, there are a number of laws that protect you. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlines the broad areas of our human rights. It is the minimum human rights you have in Canada. On top of that the Canadian Human Rights Act protects you even more when dealing with the Government of Canada or any organization that it regulates. Then each province in Canada has its own laws that also build on the protections of the Charter. In British Columbia our human rights law is called the BC Human Rights code. Code is just another word for law.

How does someone know if a human rights law is under the control of Canada or British Columbia?

An organization is either federally regulated or provincially regulated. The Canadian Human Rights Act protects you against discrimination by organizations that are overseen by the Government of Canada, such as banks, but not credit unions, TV and radio stations, communications companies - including telephone companies, and transportation companies such as Airlines and railways to cross provincial or international borders.

The BC Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination in areas for which the BC government is responsible. Most of the time your protection will come from the BC Human Rights code. The Code provides protection in employment, in housing, in public services like going to a restaurant, shopping in a store, taking a bus or taxi, going to a school or hospital, or using provincial or municipal services.

Well I broke my leg last year and I had to use a wheelchair for about six weeks. I couldn't visit a store close to my home because the entrance had three stairs, but no ramp. Was the store breaking any laws by not providing me a way to enter it?

Well, maybe. Under the BC Human Rights Code, the store had a duty to accommodate you. Accommodate means to help or assist someone, so duty to accommodate means the duty to help and to assist. The store should have a ramp to make it accessible to those with disabilities that may prevent them from being able to use stairs. They have to assist you unless it is very difficult or impossible for them to do so. Can anyone give me another example of the duty to accommodate?

Like if you're blind and call the taxi, the driver would have to allow you to bring your guide dog into the taxi.

Yes. Can anyone give me more examples of discrimination?

If a restaurant doesn't serve someone because he has a religious turban.

Right again.

It would be discrimination under the BC Human Rights Code if I was being sexually harassed at work?

Yes.

Or if I took a job and was told women get paid less than men.

Right on.

If someone are the writers types a job opening that state only Chinese people wanted.

You got it.

If someone refused to rent to me because of my color or race?

True.

One thing I've noticed is that all of these examples are when I'm out of the house, out in the community, eating at a restaurant, working at a job, being in stores or using the bus. What about what goes on in private between two people?

Good point. Human rights laws cover what goes on in public, like when you are using a service open to the public like a store. They do not cover what goes on in private or in a place that is not open to the public, like a private golf course.

What if I think I'm being discriminated against? What should I do?

I'm going to talk more about that later, but you can start by contacting us at the BC Human Rights Coalition. We can tell you if what happened to you is a case of discrimination, what law applies, and help you understand and protect your human rights. Our office is located in downtown Vancouver. You can visit our website at www.BCHRcoalition.org to get our contact information.
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Hi everyone, my name is Robin Durling and I've been an advocate with the BC Human Rights Coalition for about seven years now. Speaking to groups like yours is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I enjoy explaining to newcomers to Canada how their new country protects their rights. To start I'd like to tell you a little bit about the BC Human Rights Coalition. We work to improve human rights for everyone in British Columbia. We do this by informing people about their rights and asking the government to create laws that better protect those rights.

Everyone who is in Canada has human rights from the moment they arrive. You don't have to be a citizen and it doesn't matter where you are from, or if you are a permanent resident, a temporary worker, a tourist, or a refugee. Here are just some examples of your rights and freedoms in Canada. You have the right to live free from discrimination. You have the right to protection from hateful speech. You have a right to your political beliefs. You can believe in any religion or no religion. You have the right to be free from sexual harassment.

I know human rights can seem a bit complicated, but you will find it all makes good sense in the end, because human rights are really about all of us living together treating each other with respect and not discriminating.

In Canada our human rights law says that it is against the law to discriminate against people. Discrimination occurs when you treat people differently because of their personal characteristics and it affects them negatively.

What do you mean when you said personal characteristics?

Good question. A personal characteristic includes things about you such as your race, where you come from, the color of your skin, your religion, your sex, your age, and whether you have a mental or physical disability. Those are just some examples. So discriminating based on personal characteristics could include a number of things like, if someone refuses to serve you in a store because of your race or religion, if you receive a worse kind of service because of your skin color, if a manager does not hire you because of your sex, if you are fired because you become pregnant, if the landlord does not rent an apartment to you because you are gay, and if your employer fires you because you are disabled and need time away from work. When someone discriminates against another person based on their personal characteristics, he or she is breaking laws that are created to protect your human rights.

So how am I protected against discrimination?

In fact, there are a number of laws that protect you. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlines the broad areas of our human rights. It is the minimum human rights you have in Canada. On top of that the Canadian Human Rights Act protects you even more when dealing with the Government of Canada or any organization that it regulates. Then each province in Canada has its own laws that also build on the protections of the Charter. In British Columbia our human rights law is called the BC Human Rights code. Code is just another word for law.

How does someone know if a human rights law is under the control of Canada or British Columbia?

An organization is either federally regulated or provincially regulated. The Canadian Human Rights Act protects you against discrimination by organizations that are overseen by the Government of Canada, such as banks, but not credit unions, TV and radio stations, communications companies - including telephone companies, and transportation companies such as Airlines and railways to cross provincial or international borders.

The BC Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination in areas for which the BC government is responsible. Most of the time your protection will come from the BC Human Rights code. The Code provides protection in employment, in housing, in public services like going to a restaurant, shopping in a store, taking a bus or taxi, going to a school or hospital, or using provincial or municipal services.

Well I broke my leg last year and I had to use a wheelchair for about six weeks. I couldn't visit a store close to my home because the entrance had three stairs, but no ramp. Was the store breaking any laws by not providing me a way to enter it?

Well, maybe. Under the BC Human Rights Code, the store had a duty to accommodate you. Accommodate means to help or assist someone, so duty to accommodate means the duty to help and to assist. The store should have a ramp to make it accessible to those with disabilities that may prevent them from being able to use stairs. They have to assist you unless it is very difficult or impossible for them to do so. Can anyone give me another example of the duty to accommodate?

Like if you're blind and call the taxi, the driver would have to allow you to bring your guide dog into the taxi.

Yes. Can anyone give me more examples of discrimination?

If a restaurant doesn't serve someone because he has a religious turban.

Right again.

It would be discrimination under the BC Human Rights Code if I was being sexually harassed at work?

Yes.

Or if I took a job and was told women get paid less than men.

Right on.

If someone are the writers types a job opening that state only Chinese people wanted.

You got it.

If someone refused to rent to me because of my color or race?

True.

One thing I've noticed is that all of these examples are when I'm out of the house, out in the community, eating at a restaurant, working at a job, being in stores or using the bus. What about what goes on in private between two people?

Good point. Human rights laws cover what goes on in public, like when you are using a service open to the public like a store. They do not cover what goes on in private or in a place that is not open to the public, like a private golf course.

What if I think I'm being discriminated against? What should I do?

I'm going to talk more about that later, but you can start by contacting us at the BC Human Rights Coalition. We can tell you if what happened to you is a case of discrimination, what law applies, and help you understand and protect your human rights. Our office is located in downtown Vancouver. You can visit our website at www.BCHRcoalition.org to get our contact information.
There are no notes for this quiz.
+25 -12
Quiz #: 31422
Video from Justice Education Society of BC. Topics include your rights and freedoms, discrimination, and laws that protect you.
Quiz by: jennjenn
Intermediate

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Quiz #: 31422
Video from Justice Education Society of BC. Topics include your rights and freedoms, discrimination, and laws that protect you.
Quiz by: jennjenn
Intermediate




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