Message from the Chief Commissioner
In June 2011, the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act will be fully implemented and First Nations peoples living under the Indian Act will have full access to human rights protection for the first time in Canadian history.
This exciting and historic change exemplifies the evolutionary nature of human rights in Canada—as our society evolves, new challenges emerge. Adapting and responding to those new challenges requires commitment from employers, service providers, non-governmental organizations, and communities. Everyone has a role in creating and nurturing a human rights culture within Canada.
In the coming year, the Canadian Human Rights Commission's activities will be guided by two priorities that strive to influence positive and lasting change.
Our first priority is to work with First Nations to develop and increase their capacity to address human rights issues within their own communities. Working closely with First Nations groups, we will raise awareness of the Employment Equity Act and the Canadian Human Rights Act; enhance understanding of collective rights in the application of the latter; invest in learning programs and events to help First Nations and other Aboriginal organizations prevent discrimination; and provide support to First Nations communities wishing to create or adapt internal redress processes.
Our second priority is to provide federally regulated organizations with the tools and information necessary to create a self-sustaining human rights culture—an environment where human rights are integrated into daily practice, where every individual feels respected and equal; and where all can make for themselves the careers that they are able and wish to have, free from discrimination. As well, the investment made in preventing discrimination is a prudent business practice.
To assist organizations moving toward a self-sustaining human rights culture, the Commission will develop more model policies on key human rights issues; create a framework for identifying and addressing systemic issues; document alternative dispute resolution processes used by employers and service providers; and pilot the Integrated Human Rights Maturity Model, which is a roadmap for implementing workforce practices that continuously improve the organization's human rights capacity.
The Commission's accomplishments are possible because our workforce has the ability to collaborate, innovate, and draw from a deep pool of diverse skills and expertise. It is a privilege to lead people dedicated to promoting and protecting equality rights. I am proud of the work that they do. Their commitment to excellence, rooted firmly in our statute's purpose, that "all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have," free from discrimination, is an inspiration.
Section I – Overview
1.1 Summary Information
The Canadian Human Rights Commission's founding legislation inspires a vision for Canada in which "all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have," free from discrimination.
The Commission is responsible for the administration of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and ensures compliance with the Employment Equity Act (EEA). The CHRA prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted. The EEA promotes equality in the workplace of four designated groups: women, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities.
Both laws apply the principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination to federal government departments and agencies, Crown corporations and federally regulated private sector organizations. The provinces and territories have laws similar to the CHRA that address discrimination.
The Commission works within a service delivery model that provides discrimination prevention initiatives; modern dispute resolution approaches for addressing inquiries and complaints; as well as regulatory, policy, and knowledge development. It works with employers, service providers, individuals, unions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and provincial and territorial human rights bodies to foster understanding and commitment to achieving a society where human rights are respected in everyday practices.
The Commission is responsible for developing and conducting information programs to foster public understanding of the CHRA and of the role and activities of the Commission; and undertakes or sponsors research programs relating to its duties and functions under the CHRA.
The Commission's mandate includes receiving and processing complaints. Throughout this process, the Commission encourages settlements by providing opportunities for dialogue and mediation. Under the EEA, the Commission audits federally regulated employers to ensure that they are providing equal opportunities for employment.
Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture
In order to effectively pursue its mandate, the Commission aims to achieve a single strategic outcome supported by its Program Activity Architecture (PAA) depicted in the following figure.
1.2 Planning Summary
The financial resources table below provides a summary of the total planned spending for the Canadian Human Rights Commission for the next three fiscal years.
The human resources table below provides a summary of the total planned human resources expected to be available to the Canadian Human Rights Commission for the next three fiscal years.
Total Planned Spending
|Performance of public service employees who indicated they were not a victim of discrimination on the job.||84% by 2011 (1% higher than in 2002 and 2005 Public Service Employee surveys).|
|Program Activity||Forecast Spending
|Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes|
|Human Rights Knowledge Development and Dissemination Program||3,367||3,789||3,708||3,624||A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion.|
|Discrimination Prevention Program||4,163||4,515||4,739||4,679||A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion.|
|Human Rights Dispute Resolution Program||8,186||8,109||8,369||8,494||A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion.|
|Internal Services||5,846||6,062||6,142||6,142||A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion.|
|Total Planned Spending||22,475||22,958||22,939|
Contribution of Priorities to the Strategic Outcome
|Operational Priorities||Type||Link to the SO||Description|
|Increased capacity of First Nations to address human rights issues within their own communities||New||SO 1||Since 1977, when the CHRA was passed, First Nations and their members had been prohibited from filing complaints on matters covered by the Indian Act. This barrier was removed with the repeal of section 67 of the CHRA in 2008. As a result, the Commission is already accepting complaints against the federal government on matters related to the Indian Act.
The repeal established a three-year transition period before complaints can be received against First Nations governing authorities on matters related to the Indian Act. The Commission has been working with key national Aboriginal organizations on a plan for the full implementation of the repeal.
To increase the capacity of First Nations in addressing human rights issues within their own communities, the Commission plans to:
|Federally regulated organizations demonstrate progress toward developing a self-sustaining human rights culture||New||SO 1||Everyone has a role in respecting and promoting human rights. Employers, non-governmental organizations and communities are crucial actors in supporting the development of a human rights culture within Canada. The Commission and its partners throughout the country work collectively towards fostering understanding and commitment to achieving a society where human rights are respected in everyday practice.
To assist organizations moving toward a self-sustaining human rights culture, the Commission plans to:
1.3 Risk Analysis
The Commission operates within a statutory mandate. Parliament has entrusted the Commission with implementing the CHRA and ensuring compliance with the EEA. A number of factors may influence the Commission's plans and priorities and may have implications on its ability to achieve expected results. The Commission identified these risks in its Corporate Risk Profile for 2010–11. The highest risks relate to:
- The risk that the Commission's reputation may be damaged by misinformation and misperceptions about its role and mandate, resulting in reduced public confidence. For example, over the course of discussion about the repeal of section 67 of the CHRA and the debate on section 13 (the section of the CHRA prohibiting hate messages on the Internet), it became clear to the Commission that many people do not clearly understand the way human rights redress processes work and the potential impact on communities and individuals. The Commission mitigates this risk through raising awareness and understanding of the Acts and the role of the Commission, through consultations with stakeholders, collaborative events and outreach activities; developing or identifying tools and best practices for promoting equal opportunity; and sharing information and tools systematically with federally regulated organizations.
- The risk that existing capacity and resource levels may not be sufficient for appropriately meeting service demands, resulting in program delivery shortfalls and perceived performance issues. Several demands on the Commission's resources have emerged concurrently. The main factor influencing this risk are legislative changes to the CHRA that have broadened the Commission's mandate, allowing First Nations and their members to file complaints on matters covered by the Indian Act. Although some initial funding was received for the repeal of section 67, it is not certain that these resources will be sufficient to meet the additional demand. At the same time, increasing resource pressures for other aspects of Commission activities remain. The Commission is required to monitor a larger client base, as the number of federally regulated organizations continues to grow. To mitigate this risk, the Commission will work collaboratively and leverage synergies with relevant stakeholders.
- The risk that the scope of its program activities will limit the potential reach and impact of the Commission. A progressively more diverse Canadian society (e.g., growing racial and religious diversity, an aging population, changing family structures) contributes to increasingly complex human rights issues. In the past, the Commission met its obligations by responding to caseloads and reacting to events. To enhance its reach and impact, the Commission will place more emphasis on systemic discrimination issues and initiatives to develop and maintain human rights cultures in employer workplaces.
- The risk that too many staff positions remain vacant for prolonged periods of time, resulting in excessive workload and significant program delivery challenges and the risk that succession plans may not ensure continuity of leadership, resulting in corporate memory loss and potential changes in direction. Key among the mitigation strategies is the Integrated Business Planning Process to determine the short-, medium- and long-term skill sets required to deliver on the Commission's priorities, and monitor and assess its succession plan.
1.4 Expenditure Profile
The figure below illustrates the Commission's spending trend from 2006–07 to 2012–13. During the past three years, actual spending has increased primarily due to:
- funding received for the development of a new Complaints Management System and Employment Equity Audit Tracking System, which ended in March 2008; and
- increased spending as a result of collective bargaining agreements and executive salary increases.
Starting 2009-10, funding for the repeal of the section 67 contributed to the increase in the Commission's spending.
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