Alberta Human Rights Information Service June 1, 2011

In this issue:

Commission news

Human rights and diversity news from Alberta Culture and Community Spirit

Other human rights and diversity news:

Alberta news

Related publications and resources


1.  National human rights conference: From June 13 to 15, 2011, the Commission will host the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies in Calgary, Alberta. This year's conference is titled Human Rights in Canada: New Realities, New Directions. The Commission looks forward to welcoming up to 350 delegates representing a wide range of sectors to the conference and presenting them with a rich, informed and energetic conference to support their efforts in building welcoming and inclusive communities and workplaces. Visit the conference website to learn more.

2. Alberta human rights tribunal decisions now available through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII): Tribunal decisions dating back to 2000 have been published on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website where they can be accessed free of charge. The Commission is in the process of removing all tribunal decisions from its website.

3. Recent tribunal decision:

Gary Richard Halfyard v. The City of Calgary (April 21, 2011; William D. McFetridge, Tribunal Chair)

    This tribunal decision can now be accessed free of charge through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII).

    4. New promotional resource: The Commission has developed a new promotional resource titled Aboriginal People and the Alberta Human Rights Act. The resource will raise awareness in the Aboriginal community in Alberta about the programs and services of the Commission and the purpose of the Alberta Human Rights Act. It was developed in collaboration with the Commission's partners in the Aboriginal community, including the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, the Aboriginal Commission on Human Rights and Justice, and the Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative. To order this resource, e-mail or call 403-297-8407 in Calgary (toll-free from other Alberta locations by first dialing 310-0000).

    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.


    1. Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund:

    The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund (HREMF) supports communities and organizations to make changes so that all Albertans can contribute to the economic, social and cultural life of the province without discrimination. The HREMF also provides financial support for outcome-based projects that are tools for change in communities and in community organizations. The HREMF's grant priorities are:

    • to remove organizational barriers that exclude groups protected under Alberta's human rights legislation, and

    • to increase community or organizational capacity to develop and sustain work in building welcoming communities and inclusive organizations.

    When developing initiatives, organizations are encouraged to contact a HREMF consultant to develop projects that are viable and maximize the resources available. Please contact Nicholas Ameyaw, HREMF senior consultant, at or 780-427-4001 to discuss your ideas for fostering equality, reducing discrimination and encouraging full civic participation. 

    New communities engaging in diversity project: Active Creative and Engaged Communities (ACE) announced four rural communities that will participate in their Diversity Friendly Communities project. Carstairs, Grande Cache, Jasper and Rocky Mountain House will strengthen their community leadership using recreation, parks, arts, culture or heritage as a catalyst to foster equality and reduce discrimination and racism. This project is supported by an Access and Equity grant from the HREMF.

    Survey responses provide valuable insight for improving access to medical services for Albertans with disabilities: With the support of the HREMF, the Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD) produced a comprehensive report on the barriers that Albertans with disabilities experience when accessing preventive and on-going health and medical services. This 360-page report tabulates feedback from 464 surveys of individuals with disabilities as well as from 114 Albertans who attended community consultations. Survey findings are cross-tabulated for different disability categories including speech, hearing, psychological, and mobility. Read the report.  

    2. Resources promoting human rights and diversity: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit has created an attractive flyer and a poster titled Celebrate All Year Round to promote days significant to human rights and diversity. The resources are intended to remind Albertans of significant international, national and provincial days related to human rights and diversity throughout the year. To order this resource, e-mail or call 403-297-8407 in Calgary (toll-free from other Alberta locations by first dialing 310-0000).

    3. Significant dates:

    June 20 is World Refugee Day: This year marks 60 years since governments throughout the world expressed their solidarity with refugees by signing the 1951 Refugee Convention. This year's campaign theme is 1 is too many. From the website of  Canada's United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: "The campaign involves three '1's: 1 refugee, (I am) 1 who cares, and a call to action: Do 1 Thing (learn, take action, spread the word, give, follow us)." Read about suggested activities and events to mark this day.

    June 21 to July 1 is Celebrate Canada:  This 11-day celebration is an opportunity to celebrate Canada and to discover and appreciate the wealth and diversity of Canadian society. Celebrate Canada includes National Aboriginal Day, Saint-Jean Baptiste Day, Canadian Multiculturalism Day, and Canada Day.

     provides Canadians with an opportunity to celebrate the diverse and rich cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and to honour their place in Canadian society.

  • June 24 is Saint-Jean Baptiste Day: French Canadians across Canada will express their cultural pride and honour their rich heritage on Saint-Jean Baptiste Day.

  • June 27 is Canadian Multiculturalism Day: On Canadian Multiculturalism Day, Canadians will celebrate our country's rich cultural mosaic and recognize the valuable role Albertans from all backgrounds play in helping to build vibrant and prosperous communities that benefit everyone. On November 13, 2002, the Government of Canada, by Royal Proclamation, designated June 27 of each year as Canadian Multiculturalism Day. Learn more about Government of Alberta programs and services that support diversity and human rights in the province.
  • Events will take place across the province to mark Celebrate Canada. Visit the Canadian Heritage website for ideas and tips on organizing an event in recognition of significant days taking place during Celebrate Canada.

    August 6 is Alberta Heritage Day: Celebrated annually, Alberta Heritage Day recognizes and celebrates the province's cultural heritage. This special day has been recognized since 1974, when legislation was passed to dedicate the first Monday of August as Alberta Heritage Day.

    September 21 is International Day of Peace: United Nations member countries are calling for worldwide observance of a 24-hour ceasefire and a day of peace and non-violence on September 21. Read more

    See the list of significant days on the Help Make a Difference website.


    Alberta news

    1. Edmonton Public School Board to develop policy to protect LGBTQ students and staff:
    The Edmonton Public Schools is the first school board in Alberta to develop policy to prevent harassment of and discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgendered and Queer (LGBTQ) students and staff. Read the media release issued by Edmonton Public Schools.


    1. National study on homophobia in Canadian schools: A report on homophobia in Canadian schools, Every Class in Every School: Egale's Final Report on Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in Canadian Schools, was recently released. From the University of Winnipeg news release: "A national three-year study involving 3,607 Canadian teens finds public schools a bleak place for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) students."  Read the report and the news release from the University of Winnipeg.

    2. New handbook aims to strengthen the evaluation of human rights education and training activities: Equitas: The International Centre for Human Rights Education and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have jointly published Evaluating Human Rights Training Activities: A Handbook for Human Rights Educators. The handbook highlights relevant research and practice in educational evaluation and contains step-by-step guidance to integrate evaluation throughout the entire human rights education process. Read the report.


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