Alberta Human Rights Information Service September 30, 2009
In this issue:
1. Amended Alberta human rights legislation comes into force on October 1, 2009:
On September 14, 2009, the following Order in Council was approved:
"HONOURABLE MR. BLACKETT 438/2009 PROCLAMATION - Proclaiming the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Amendment Act, 2009, except section 9, in force on October 1, 2009; and proclaiming section 9 of the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Amendment Act, 2009 in force on September 1, 2010."
The Commission information sheet Amendments to Alberta's human rights legislation describes the amendments. You can also read the Commission's Notice of changes to Alberta's human rights legislation. The Commission is also in the process of updating its website and publications to reflect the amendments.
2. Recent panel and related court decisions:
The Commission has recently updated its website with new panel decisions, including a decision related to a severance agreement. Read the summaries of these panel decisions as well as summaries of important court decisions related to human rights.
3. Seeking nominations for the Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction: Nominations are now open for the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction. The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes organizations that welcome diversity in their workforces, are eliminating discrimination and barriers to employment, and are helping to build respectful and inclusive workplaces. The Diversity Leadership Award is one of the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction. Organizations in all sectors, including businesses, community organizations and public institutions, are eligible to apply. The deadline for nominations is November 20, 2009. Applications are submitted online.
4. Human rights in the workplace public workshops:
Fall public workshops still available: It's not too late to register for two upcoming human rights in the workplace public workshops. The workshops, intended for managers, supervisors, team leaders, human resource professionals, union leaders, and small business owners, will provide participants with:
- an overview of Alberta's human rights legislation,
- information on preventing harassment in the workplace, and
- information from the workshop module Duty to accommodate.
Fall public workshops are scheduled as follows:
Edmonton: October 14, 2009*
Calgary: October 28, 2009
*This workshop, offered in partnership with the Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations (NAARR), will offer information on cultural competency in addition to an overview of Alberta's human rights legislation and information on preventing harassment in the workplace.
Read more about the workshops. A registration form is available online.
5. Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) update:
The Town of Innisfail has recently joined CMARD, bringing the number of Alberta municipalities involved in the Coalition to nine. Read the List of Signatory Municipalities that have joined the Coalition.
6. Welcoming and Inclusive Communities network meeting:
The provincial network of Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) held a two-day networking and learning meeting on September 14 and 15 in Edmonton. Representatives from 13 municipalities were present, including elected officials, municipal employees and community members from Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Innisfail, Olds, Rocky Mountain House, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Camrose County, Brooks, Vegreville, Wetaskiwin, Red Deer and St. Albert. Participants learned from each other through the sharing of best practices and resources, as well as through participating in workshops on topics that included incorporating diversity work into a Municipal Sustainability Plan, social norms marketing, and practical evaluation tools for welcoming and inclusive work. Participants worked together to develop the common vision and to plan the future work of the network.
The Commission and the Human Rights and Citizenship Branch of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit have entered into the WIC partnership with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
For more information, contact Marc Colbourne at email@example.com or 780-989-7419.
PLEASE NOTE: In the following sections of the newsletter, we publish news and information provided by other organizations. We also link to other websites related to human rights and diversity. The Commission provides this information as a service and is not responsible for the content provided by other organizations on their websites or by other means. Please direct comments or inquiries regarding these organizations or their websites to the organization in question.
The Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Education Fund provides financial assistance to community organizations to help make changes that will:
- foster equality and reduce discrimination and racism,
- remove organizational barriers that exclude some Albertans, or
- increase community capacity to develop and sustain work in building inclusive organizations and communities.
If you are considering applying for financial assistance from the HRCM Education Fund, now is the time to contact a grant consultant who works with the Education Fund. The consultant will assist you with the application process and advise you on your project. Grant guidelines and the application form are available online.
Recently completed projects:
- With a grant from the HRCM Education Fund, the Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations designed and piloted a training curriculum for youth that provides tools to overcome negative stereotypes, build confidence, and enhance public speaking and leadership skills. The Keshotu Leadership Academy: Ethnocultural Youth Leadership and the Arts curriculum was developed in response to the needs of youth in racial minority communities and is now used in an ongoing program called Leadership Development through the Performing Arts. The 82-page curriculum guide and training DVD describe the roadblocks experienced in the pilot program and solutions to bypass them. Both guide and DVD are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Coalition for Equal Access to Education has produced a guide titled Community Leadership: A Guide for Leadership Development of Enthnocultural Members with a grant from the HRCM Education Fund. The guide provides a curriculum to support ethnocultural members to influence, contribute and initiate positive changes in their communities. It focuses on critical dialogues about issues relevant to community leadership and the socio-political realities facing ethnocultural members. The curriculum promotes a facilitative approach to training with an emphasis on critical dialogue, individual and collective empowerment, integration of life experiences, prior learning and experiential learning. View a video of participants using this guide.
- With the support of the HRCM Education Fund, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights has developed a colourful bilingual guide for youth describing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To order the guide, e-mail email@example.com.
- The Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Alberta (SCCSA) is working in partnership with the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB), with support from the HRCM Education Fund, to address challenges faced by Somali parents and students. The SCCSA and the EPSB will work together to help support the estimated 5,000 Somali students and to increase parents' involvement in the Edmonton school system, in order to reduce the school drop-out rate. Read the information bulletin.
Read about other projects that the HRCM Education Fund has funded.
Scholarship awarded: A PhD student and a master's student, both from the University of Calgary, were granted the Alberta Award for the Study of Canadian Human Rights and Multiculturalism, enabling them to undertake research that will benefit practitioners working in the health field. This is the second year that the scholarship has been awarded to both a master's and a doctoral student. The intent of the scholarship is to help develop expertise about effective ways to reduce discrimination and to support the full participation of Albertans in all aspects of life. Read the information bulletin.
2. Significant dates:
September 21 was the International Day of Peace: On September 21 of each year, the United Nations asks warring parties around the world to observe one day of cease-fire. Read more about ideas, resources and, events that took place to recognize the day.
Relating to the International Day of Peace, the Calgary Peace Pole was unveiled at a community celebration on September 20, 2009. The committee for the Calgary Community Peace Pole Project, which included representatives from over 40 faith and community groups, cultural associations, and interested residents, led the development of the Peace Pole. The committee was formed in April 2007, with a vision to create a permanent symbol for peace, serving as a constant reminder of the importance of working together to maintain a society free from war and violence. There are now an estimated 250,000 peace poles world-wide in 180 different countries. Canadian peace poles are found in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montreal, and now Calgary. Read more about the Peace Pole Project.
October is Women's History Month: This year's theme for Women's History Month is Women in the Lead: Winter Sports, inspired by the women and girls, past and present, who excel in winter sports. The theme is timely as Canada prepares to host the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver.
October 18 is Persons Day: Persons Day commemorates the 1929 landmark decision when women were declared "persons" under the law. Read more about the Persons Case. Five Alberta women (Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, and Henrietta Edwards) led this victory and distinctively became known as the "Famous Five." Provincially, Alberta recognizes Persons Day through the Persons Case Scholarships, available for students who choose studies that contribute to the advancement of women, or for students who are pursuing careers in fields where members of their gender are under-represented. Scholarship applications are available online.
November 20 is Universal Children's Day and marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child: Universal Children's Day commemorates the day on which both the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) were adopted. Read more about the 20th anniversary celebration.
November 25 is the International Day to End Violence Against Women: From Unifem's website: "UNIFEM's 'Say NO' initiative is a global platform for advocacy and action, contributing towards the objectives of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's campaign 'Unite to End Violence against Women' through social mobilization." Read more.
November 25 - December 10: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence: "Commit-Act-Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women!" is the 2009 theme, building upon last year's momentum celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read more and download a TakeAction Kit.
See the list of significant days on the Help Make a Difference website.
OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIVERSITY NEWS
1. Repatriation of sacred ceremonial objects celebrated: At an event on July 30, the Alberta government returned sacred ceremonial items to Alberta's three Blackfoot Nations so these significant items can be actively used in traditional ceremonies. These sacred bundles are of deep spiritual and cultural significance and are gradually being returned to the First Nations. Repatriation has been made possible with passage and implementation of Alberta's First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act, 2000 and the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Amendment Act, 2008. Read the news release.
2. Safe Communities pilot project for Aboriginal teens: A new three-year Safe Communities (SafeCom) pilot project has been launched to reduce the potential for harm and increase scholastic achievement among Blood Tribe teenagers. Supported by the Alberta government, the pilot project will address risk factors such as alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse that harm families and can lead to violence and other criminal behaviour. The program will be customized to meet the needs of Blood youth by providing access to culturally appropriate resources including Elders, addictions counselling, victim services and police services. It aims to involve up to 100 teens and their families each year. Read the news release.
1. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) offers two contests for youth:
- Youth once again invited to stand up and speak out!: Citizenship and Immigration Canada has launched the 2009-10 Racism. Stop it! National Video Competition. This contest provides youth with the opportunity to submit videos (45 to 60 seconds) about the elimination of racial discrimination. Ten winning videos will be chosen to be broadcast on national television. Preview past winning videos. Resources for teachers and students are available online. Deadline for submissions is January 15, 2010.
- National creative writing and artwork contest: Da Costa Challenge National Creative Writing and Artwork Contest provides youth with an opportunity to celebrate the importance of multiculturalism and diversity in Canada. Three winning entries will be selected from each age group (9-12, 13-15 and 16-18) in each of the following categories:
- Original piece of writing in English
- Original piece of writing in French
- Original piece of artwork
The deadline for submissions is February 19, 2010. Read more about the contest.
RELATED PUBLICATIONS AND RESOURCES
1. Aboriginal trades and apprenticeship website: A new website has been launched that will serve as a useful tool for employers and training institutions involved with Aboriginal people in trades and apprenticeship programs. From the website: "This website will help Aboriginal employment practitioners, employers, training institutions and sector councils engage in connections, explore skilled career opportunities and expand their knowledge about Aboriginal participation in trades."
2. Recent report on women in non-traditional trades: The National Centre for Vocational Education Research released a research paper titled The female "tradie": challenging employment perceptions in non-traditional trades for women. This paper examines the place of women in the manual trades, and sets out strategies for encouraging women to study and work in areas such as building and construction.
3. Research Brief on Sexual Minority Youth Health, Wellness and Safety Concerns: A report by Kristopher Wells indicates that it is important for educators, health-care professionals, social service providers, and parents to identify and understand risk and resiliency factors that compromise or promote healthy development of sexual minority youth. This understanding will help to support at-risk youth. Read the report.
4. Report on creating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-inclusive workplaces: A report released by Catalyst demonstrates that workplace barriers still exist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees, and that organizations play an important role in developing programs and practices to promote LGBT inclusion. The report titled Building LGBT-Inclusive Workplaces: Engaging Organizations and Individuals in Change is available online.
5. Stories from new immigrants: Alberta's official immigration website offers first-hand stories of newcomers' experiences as they adjust to their new lives in Alberta. Read stories from new immigrants.
6. Report on Canada's economic immigration policies: A report by Naomi Alboim titled Adjusting the balance: Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies indicates that Canada needs a strong long-term vision for economic immigration. A competetive immigration program will contribute to renewed prosperity.
7. Fast, Fair and Final: Reforming Canada's Refugee System: A report by Peter Showler reveals that Canada's refugee claim system takes up to eight years to finalize a claim. According to the author, Canada's refugee system needs a reformed system based on three concepts: (1) a good first decision; (2) a reliable appeal; and (3) the prompt removal of failed claimants. Read the report.
NOTICE TO SUBSCRIBERS
AOL, MSN, Hotmail, Yahoo!, and other e-mail users who enabled SPAM filtering: Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book and/or "safe list" as an acceptable sender. This will ensure that Alberta Human Rights Information Service arrives in your inbox safely and doesn't get filtered into your bulk/spam/junk folder. Thank you.
Due to confidentiality concerns, the Commission cannot reply to complaints of discrimination using the Internet. Please contact the Commission by telephone or regular mail if you have a specific complaint.
You can access information about making FOIP requests for records held by the Commission on our Contact us page.
The Commission will make publications available in accessible multiple formats upon request. Multiple formats provide access for people with disabilities who do not read conventional print.