Alberta Human Rights Information Service September 30, 2015

Human rights case law: Tribunal decisions

Commission news


1. The Commission recently released the following tribunal decisions:

  • Judy Schofield v. AltaSteel Ltd. (August 13, 2015; Joanne Archibald, Tribunal Chair)
  • Aleksandra Andric v. 585105 Alberta Ltd. o/a Spasation Salon & Day Spa (August 6, 2015; Sharon Lindgren-Hewlett, Tribunal Chair)
  • Fred Rosadiuk v. Altex Energy Ltd. (July 16, 2015; William D. McFetridge, Q.C., Tribunal Chair)

These tribunal decisions can be accessed free of charge through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website.


1. Human Rights in Employment Forum Series:
Accommodating Pregnancy in the Workplace
Edmonton: October 21, 2015
Calgary: November 18, 2015 

You can still register for these breakfast forums. Read more about the forums and learn how to register online.

2. Webinar: Developing and Implementing an Effective Harassment Prevention Policy in the Workplace
Date: October 14, 2015
Live Webinar Time: 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. MDT
Cost: No charge

You can read more about this webinar and register online.

3. Upcoming Human Rights in Employment Public Workshops:
Edmonton: January 20, 2016
Calgary: February 24, 2016

You can read more about these public workshops.

4. Members of the Commission reappointed and new members appointed: On August 21, 2015, the Lieutenant Governor in Council reappointed Sharon Lindgren-Hewlett and Melissa Luhtanen as members of the Commission, each for a term to expire on August 20, 2018.

Five new members of the Commission were also appointed, each for a term to expire on August 20, 2018. The new members of the Commission are:

  • Gwen Gray, Q.C.
  • Duncan Marsden
  • Jean Munn
  • Kathryn Oviatt
  • Karen Scott

You can read the Order in Council and the complete list of biographies of the members of the Commission. 

5. Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund:

The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund (the Fund) provides grants that support community projects that foster equality and reduce discrimination. These grants assist non-profit organizations, public institutions and communities to address the intersection of human rights and issues such as social exclusion, inequality of opportunity, discrimination, racism and other barriers that limit Albertans' ability to be full and contributing citizens.

Two new grant streams have been launched. Note the deadlines!

  • Experience Human Rights Grants: The Experience Human Rights Grant supports short-term projects that encourage engagement in and contributions toward human rights and diversity. The deadlines for this grant are July 15 and October 1, 2015. You can read more about the Experience Human Rights Grants.
  • Community Inclusion Grants: The Community Inclusion Grant helps municipalities build inclusive communities and advance their strategies associated with the principles of Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) or as a signatory to the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD). The deadline for this grant is September 15, 2015. You can read more about the Community Inclusion Grants.

The Human Rights Project Grants continue to assist non-profit organizations and public institutions to make changes so that all Albertans have the opportunity to participate in the cultural, social, economic and political life of the province without discrimination. The next deadline for this grant is October 1, 2015. You can read more about the Human Rights Project Grants.

6. Nominations open for the Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction 2016:


Nominations are now open for the Alberta Human Rights Commission Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction. The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes workplaces 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 15, 2015. You can read more about the award.

7. Homeless Charter of Rights Launch: On June 18, 2015, Mr. Robert Philp, Queen's Counsel, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, joined organizations in Calgary to launch a new Homeless Charter of Rights. This launch event provided a platform for partnering agencies to gather, learn more about the human rights issues faced by homeless people and show support for the Charter and its concepts.

The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund provided a grant to the Calgary Homeless Foundation to develop a Homeless Charter of Rights. This project was developed to bring awareness to the issue of discrimination against Albertans experiencing homelessness enabling them to have increased access to services, housing and employment without discrimination. As part of this project, a short documentary video titled Do You See Me? was created to portray the lived experience of some of Calgary's homeless people. In addition, a literature review, a report with recommendations for service providers and several plain language documents for people experiencing homelessness were developed.

At the launch, Mr. Philp congratulated the Calgary Homeless Foundation and its partners on their work in developing the Homeless Charter of Rights and its accompanying resources, and highlighted the importance of the Charter in "giving a voice to the voiceless." You can read more about the launch in the Calgary Homeless Foundation news release.

8. The Commission in the community:

  • Mr. Robert Philp, Queen's Counsel, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission and Don Smallwood, Director, Alberta Human Rights Commission, attended an Aboriginal Justice Camp offered by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) for their members from September 15 to 18, 2015. This intensive program offered an experiential learning opportunity to deepen understanding about Aboriginal culture and history, and the impacts of the system barriers that members of the Aboriginal community face, the challenges this creates in building inclusive and healthy communities, and the possibilities for the future. Participation in the program is helping to increase Commission understanding and effectiveness in engaging in human rights issues related to Aboriginal communities. In addition to input provided directly by Aboriginal Elders, CPS leadership spoke about the need for respectful behaviours around diversity and the importance of inclusion.
  • On September 10, 2015, Terri Susan Zurbrigg, Legal Counsel, Alberta Human Rights Commission, spoke at a meeting of Canadian Bar Association's Constitutional Law Group about recent trends in human rights law and provided an update regarding recent Alberta human rights tribunal decisions.
  • On September 8, 2015, Mr. Robert Philp, Queen's Counsel, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, presented at the Edmonton Police Services (EPS) Chief's Community Advisory Council Meeting. Mr. Philp provided an overview of the Commission and some examples of the Commission's work as it relates to the work of the EPS, as well as expressed an interest in discussing possibilities for future meaningful collaboration.
  • On August 19, 2015, Mr. Robert Philp, Queen's Counsel, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission, offered welcoming remarks at the GlobalFest Human Rights Forum Breakfast 2015. This annual forum, presented by TD as part of Calgary's GlobalFest celebrations, aims to promote diversity, cross-cultural respect and equality to encourage systemic change across the Canadian community in a positive and safe environment.

    Mr. Philp's remarks focused on the Commission's engagement with indigenous groups and organizations in Alberta to build stronger relationships and partnerships in order to better address the human rights issues facing their community. He encouraged participants to move forward on these issues in a meaningful and collaborative way.

    Keynote speaker, Dr. Amy Bombay, spoke on the topic "Intergenerational Transfer of Collective Trauma," addressing how Indian Residential School trauma is transmitted across generations.

    The Commission also participated in the week-long event with its display, providing information and resources on human rights and on the Commission's programs and services.

9. New law student internship program: The Commission welcomes two interns, Kathleen O'Driscoll and Kate Andress, who are third-year law students in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Law as part of a new Law Student Internship Program launched by the Commission. Two interns will be participating in the program during the fall semester and two will be participating during the winter semester.

10. The Commission featured on Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) website: The Alberta Human Rights Commission is a member of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), which is made up of provincial and territorial commissions and the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Each month a different commission takes the lead in preparing a feature article for the CASHRA website. The Commission was the featured agency for June 2015 and provided the article Creating Timely "Gate-Keeper 2.0" Model in Alberta.


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