2 What are Human Rights?Human Rights: they are the benefits and freedoms to which all people are entitled.Canada is often considered one of the best countries in the world to live because of our HRWe place a high value on civil rights (civil rights and freedoms limit the power of the government)Human rights protect people from being unfairly discriminated against by other individuals
3 History of Human Rights Being equal under the law is a very recent legal concept in human historyMany wars and revolutions had to be fought to get to where we are todayHere are some dates of significance:1215 C.E. - King John signed the Magna Carta, limiting the monarch’s powerThe American Revolution occurred as the Thirteen Colonies fought for their independence from Great BritainJuly 4, 1776 – The American Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming the existence of a new country, the United States of America1791 – The U.S. Bill of Rights was passed, giving freedom and civil rights to AmericansAugust 26, 1789 – The National Assembly (similar to House of Commons) passed the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, guaranteeing all French citizens their basic freedoms1833, Britain’s Emancipation Act abolished slavery throughout its empire.1865 – The 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery1945 – A new international organization was formed: the United Nations
4 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1945, world leaders formed a new international organization: the United Nations. Its purpose is “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on December 10th, It was the first time nations from around the world signed a formal agreement on specific rights and freedoms for all human beings.Right to life, liberty, and nationalityFreedom of opinion, conscience, and religionRight to workRight to have an education
5 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1966 two further international agreements were adopted- called covenants and conventionsUnited Nations Convention on Economic Social and Cultural RightsInternational Convention on Civil and Political RightsSince 1966, further conventions have been adoptedConvention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1984)Convention Against Torture…(1986)Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)Conventions and initiatives led to creation of United Nations High Commission on Human Rights
6 Human Rights in CanadaWWI- Parliament passed the War Measures Act granting extraordinary powers to the gov. “enemy aliens” were put in internment campsWWII – during the war with Japan, Canada interned many Canadians of Japanese descentAugust 10, Canadian Bill of Rights (PM Diefenbaker)- Not a revolutionary piece of legislation- not entrenched in the constitutionApril 17, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was entrenched into in the constitution- pioneered by (PM Trudeau)
7 Canada and Human Rights The Difference between the Charter and human rights legislation is:Charter applies to actions of “public” laws and bodies, including acts of the Fed Parl. and Prov. LegislatureHuman Rights legislature applies to “private” laws and parties.
8 Federal Human Rights Legislation (CHRA)Canadian Human Rights Act (1978): applies to fed gov. departments and businesses that fall under fed jurisdiction. Ex. Armed Forces, Canada Post, CBC, etc…The CHRA prohibits discrimination on 11 grounds
9 Provincial Human Rights Legislation Each prov. and Terr. Has its own human rights law.(OHRC) Ontario Human Rights Code (1962)Prohibits discrimination on 16 grounds (pg. 169)
10 Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals Commissions are to:Investigate possible violations to HRProvide legal procedures to hear the complaintsTo find a solutionsIf you have experienced any kind of discrimination or sexual or racial harassment in your community, you can file a complaint with your provincial HR commission.
11 Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals (cont.) If a complaint cannot be resolved by the commission it will send the case to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing (Board of Inquiry)Commissions role is similar to that of a police officer.Tribunal is similar to the court but less formal
12 Board of Inquiry Board Chairperson: adjudicates the case/hearing Commission: supports the complainant with evidenceComplainant: person making complaint, can bring his/her own lawyerRespondent: person or organization named in the complaint. Represented by a lawyer
13 Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals (cont.) All parties in the Tribunal are allowed to plead their case without the strict rules of evidence.Under the OHRC, as in civil law, the complainant’s standard of proof is the Balance of Probabilities: the basis of greater likelihood. Who is more believable.If Discrimination has occurred, then the respondent must prove that there was a Bona Fide (legitimate) reason for the discrimination and that to act otherwise would bring undue hardship: result of change that would affect the economic viability of an employer or produce a health or safety risk that outweighs the benefit of accommodating someone.
14 Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals (cont.) A judgment may be appealed by any partyAll HR codes or acts provide only civil remedies, not criminal penaltiesCompanies or people may be required to compensate or make changes.