Message from Robert Philp, Queen’s Counsel,
Chief of the Commission and Tribunals

(January 18, 2017)

Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Alberta Human Rights Commission

“I am delighted to celebrate forty-five years of human rights protections in Alberta.

“Alberta’s human rights legislation aims to promote an environment in which all Albertans can participate in and contribute to the cultural, social, economic and political life of Alberta.

“Human rights progress over time, and it is remarkable to see how far we have come over four and a half decades.

“From the very first human rights act that prohibited discrimination on the grounds of race, religious beliefs, colour, ancestry and place of origin, Alberta’s human rights legislation has evolved over time to include gender, marital status, age, physical ‘characteristics', source of income and family status in the 80s, to mental disability, sexual orientation and family status in the 90s, and most recently to include the additions of gender identity and gender expression as expressly prohibited grounds of discrimination.

“But our work is not done. We know that certain groups—among them Indigenous Peoples, racial and religious minority groups, immigrants and refugees, homeless people and people living in poverty, people with mental and physical disabilities, women and the LGBTQ community—continue to experience discrimination and other barriers and inequities in their day-to-day lives.

“As we mark forty-five years since the introduction of the Individual’s Rights Protection Act, the Alberta Bill of Rights and the establishment of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, we must increase our resolve and our vigilance to better protect and promote the rights of Albertans and build on our human rights work in communities across the province.

“On the occasion of this 45th anniversary, I want to recognize the important advances in human rights, diversity and inclusion that have occurred because of initiatives undertaken within communities across Alberta. Some of that work has occurred with support from the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, which the Commission administers.

“Over the coming months, the Commission will be organizing a series of meetings across the province to talk with Albertans about the human rights issues in which they are engaged in order to better understand the issues they are facing and learn how best to support their efforts.”

Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.