Alberta Human Rights Information Service March 9, 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
Canadian news

Related publications and resources


1. Alberta human rights tribunal decisions released in 2011 available through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII): Tribunal decisions released after January 1, 2011 can now be accessed free of charge through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). All tribunal decisions dating back to 2000 will eventually be transferred from the Commission website to the CanLII website.

2. Recent tribunal decisions:
The Commission has recently released the following tribunal decisions:

  • Edmund McElheron v.
Murray's Trucking Inc. (Preliminary matters decision; January 28, 2011; The Honourable Paul Chrumka, Q.C., Tribunal Chair)
  • Dale Yakimchuk v. Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (Preliminary decision on severance agreement; January 31, 2011; Delano W. Tolley, Tribunal Chair)
  • Delorie Walsh v. Mobil Oil Canada Ltd. (Decision on costs and interest; February 8, 2011; Beth Bryant, Tribunal Chair)
  • These tribunal decisions can now be accessed free of charge through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII).

    3. The Commission has updated two publications: The Commission continues to update its website and all of its publications to reflect the October 2009 amendments to Alberta's human rights legislation. As website sections and publications are updated, you will be notified through AHRIS. The following publications have recently been updated:

    • Interpretive bulletin:
     The Commission interpretive bulletin Human right in the hospitality industry has been updated to reflect the October 2009 amendments to the province's human rights legislation, to clarify content, and to update the case law. In addition, the section "Examples of prohibited discrimination in the hospitality industry" has been expanded to include examples related to refusing service to, discriminating against, or harassing a person based on their sexual orientation or gender. The bulletin is available in a text version and a printable PDF version.

  • Plain language publication: The Commission plain language publication Human rights in Alberta has been updated to reflect the October 2009 amendments to the province's human rights legislation.

    For more information, see:

    4. Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) update:

    Ville de Saguenay, Quebec has recently joined CMARD, bringing the number of municipalities involved in the Coalition to 41. Read the List of Signatory Municipalities who have joined the Coalition.

  • The City of Lethbridge and CMARD Lethbridge hosted a community forum in October 2010, "Building Bridges ... Finding Common Ground." This forum led to the completion of the report titled Building Bridges: A Welcoming and Inclusive Lethbridge: Community Action Plan 2011-2021.

  • The Commission and Alberta Culture and Community Spirit have a Welcoming and Inclusive Communities Project partnership with Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA). The purpose of the partnership is to develop increased capacity to build Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) and to advance CMARD in Alberta. The partnership also serves to support municipalities in becoming more welcoming and inclusive, and to support their efforts to combat racism and discrimination.

    At the annual convention of AUMA, held in November 2010, the following resolution was passed:
    "NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association encourage all municipalities in Alberta to join the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination."
  • 5. Chief of the Commission and Tribunals and Commission member re-appointed: On December 10, 2010, the Lieutenant Governor in Council re-appointed the Honourable David Blair Mason, Q.C. as a member of the Commission and redesignated him as Chief of the Commission and Tribunals. On December 16, 2010, the Lieutenant Governor in Council re-appointed Brenda Scragg as a member of the Commission. Both terms are to expire on December 31, 2011. Read the biographies of  members of the Commission.

      6. Diversity Leadership Award 2011:

      Ghost River Rediscovery Society of Calgary is this year's recipient of the Alberta Human Rights Commission Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction. The award recognizes organizations that embrace diversity in their workforce and encourage respect and inclusion.

      Other finalists recognized for their commitment to diversity and inclusion were Carewest Innovative Healthcare, Husky Energy Inc. and YMCA Calgary.

      The Diversity Leadership Award is one of the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction. The winner was announced at a ceremony in Edmonton on March 4. Read more on the Alberta Chambers of Commerce website, and read more about the awards ceremony.

      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 work with one of the HREMF consultants to develop projects that are viable and maximize the resources available. Please contact a consultant to discuss your ideas for fostering equality, reducing discrimination and encouraging full civic participation. The next deadline for receipt of Letters of Intent to apply for financial assistance is May 2, 2011.

      Grant recipients: The Alberta government is helping three non-profit organizations to assist the province's communities to embrace diversity and to become welcoming to all. More than $200,000 in Access and Equity Initiatives grants will be provided through the HREMF. Read the information bulletin and learn more about what these organizations are doing.

      Survey results provide valuable insight for improving the HREMF grant process: In order to make it easier for applicants to apply for HREMF funding and to refocus its support to organizations on project development, HREMF piloted a Letter of Intent in October 2009 and May 2010. An anonymous survey was sent to each grant applicant that participated in the pilot. The majority of the survey respondents indicated that they appreciated the Letter of Intent process. The process has been adopted for future grant applications. Read more about the survey results.

      2. Significant dates:

      January 27 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Communities across the world gathered on January 27, 2011 to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

      March 4 to 20 is Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie: This national two-week celebration of French culture and history runs from March 4 to 20, 2011. Check out the website and read about national activities planned, including activities throughout the province.

      March 6 to 12 is International Women's Week:
       2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. Canada's theme for International Women's Day and Week 2011 is Girls' Rights Matter / Les droits des filles comptent. From the Status of Women Canada website: "The theme focuses on the importance of equality and access to opportunity for all girls and women throughout their lives. This theme encourages us to reflect on the situation of girls in Canada, and to look beyond women's relative privilege domestically, to the international context."
      Read more about International Women's Day and Week.

      March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed all around the world to focus attention on the problems of racism and the need to promote racial harmony. The United Nations designated this day in memory of anti-apartheid demonstrators killed in Sharpeville, South Africa in 1960. Albertans are invited to participate in events organized across the province. Read more about International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

      May 1 is Yom ha-Shoah, Holocaust Memorial Day:
      Albertans are encouraged to remember the systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewish men, women and children during the Holocaust, as well as millions of others who have perished in acts of genocide. See Alberta's Holocaust Memorial Day and Genocide Remembrance Act. Teachers may be interested in the publication Guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust.

      May is Asian Heritage Month: In December 2001, the Senate of Canada passed a motion officially designating May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada. You can read about the Official Declaration, check out festivities across the country, and order or download a poster online.

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


      Alberta news

      1. Easy access to information about provincial social-based assistance:
      For the first time, Albertans can access information about provincial social-based assistance by visiting a single Alberta Supports website or by calling one phone number (1-877-644-9992 toll free, or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton). Read the Government of Alberta news release.

      2. Social outlook report: The City of Calgary released a report that provides timely information on key social trends and issues that shape Calgary. The report titled Calgary and Region Social Outlook 2010-2015 is produced annually by the Social Policy and Planning Division of Community and Neighbourhood Services, City of Calgary.

      3. Progress report on Foreign Qualification Recognition Plan: Alberta Employment and Immigration has released a report that details the progress the province has made in the Foreign Qualification Recognition Plan. Read the news release and the complete report.

      4. English as a Second Language (ESL) resource for rural setting: The Centre for Excellence in Intercultural Education at Norquest College offers a resource titled Roots & Connections Phase 2 - Rural ESL Enhancement intended for ESL students in a rural setting. From the website: "The Roots and Connections resource is a culturally integrated English as a Second Language (ESL) resource that provides the foundation for English language learning using a community orientation and cultural integration approach." The resource includes a program planning guide, instructor guide, tool kit and curriculum.

      5. New resource for adult language learners: Employment and Immigration and CBC Edmonton are offering adult language learners a new resource to improve their English using news and feature stories with online written lessons. The news is read at a slower pace to help with listening and understanding. Learn more about the program Learning English with CBC and download free English lessons.

      Canadian news

      1. Report released on women in Canada:
      Statistics Canada released the sixth edition of Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report, 2010-2011 which represents the 25th anniversary of this publication. From the Statistics Canada website: "Women in Canada provides an unparalleled compilation of data related to women's family status, education, employment, economic well-being, unpaid work, health, and more."

      2. Recent survey of opinion on racism and prejudice: The Association for Canadian Studies and Canadian Race Relations Foundations conducted a survey to explore experiences with racism. From the survey: "Two in three Canadians agree that visible minorities and whites are treated equally in their place of work. Equal shares of Canadians (46%) and Americans (46%) think that racism is on the rise." Read more in the full report.

      3. New federal initiative regarding missing and murdered Aboriginal women: From the October 29, 2010 news release: "The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today announced concrete steps the Government of Canada is taking to address the disturbingly high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and to make our communities safer."
      Read the Government of Canada news release and read about the new funding available to Aboriginal organizations and community groups.

      4. Recent public opinion poll on multiculturalism in Canada:  A recent online survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion indicates that Canadians support the policy of multiculturalism, however they choose the concept of the melting pot over the mosaic society. Further, from the Angus Reid Public Opinion website: "At least three in ten respondents believe Canadian society is intolerant towards Muslims and Aboriginal Canadians." Read the full report.


      1. Resource for education for democratic citizenship and human rights: The Council of Europe released a policy tool titled Strategic support for decision makers: Policy tool for education for democratic citizenship and human rights. From the report: "This policy tool is practical, packed with guidance and examples for all those involved in education for democratic citizenship and human rights. The result is a key resource for policy makers, practitioners and stakeholders, as well as a vehicle for exchange among institutions and individuals."

      2. Website to improve local integration practices: The website Cities of Migration offers resources including a newsletter and e-library to help improve local integration practices. From the website: "Cities of Migration showcases good practice in the integration of urban migrants and promotes innovative ideas that create equity, social cohesion and urban prosperity."

      3. Teacher resource on media and children's rights: Media Awareness Network launched a new classroom resource on media and children's rights called Shaking the Movers: Youth rights and media, which encourages students to examine how the Convention on the Rights of the Child relates to their media use.


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