Discussion Topic 1 – Human Rights and You



Human rights are part of all our lives, yet they can be difficult to describe. In B.C., the Human Rights Code helps to protect you from discrimination and harassment. The personal characteristics protected in the Code may apply to certain situations only, and include:
 
Race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age (19 and older), criminal conviction, political belief, and lawful source of income.
 
Essentially, human rights are a responsibility we all share to respect each other.
 
As we begin this online public discussion, I want to start by listening. I want to hear your stories and work to understand the role of human rights in the lives of British Columbians.
 
I believe stories bind us. They are a reminder not only of the ways our lives are different, but of the very human ways we are connected. Sharing our stories raises awareness about issues others may have limited experience with. Using our voices can inspire others to use theirs, and telling our stories can urge those who aren’t accustomed to sharing their own to join the conversation.
 
I want to hear about the lived experiences that inform your outlook on human rights. You have a unique perspective, and I look forward to reading through your responses and sharing some of my own thoughts as we set out on this discussion together.
 
Which of the above Human Rights Code grounds have played a role in your own life?
 
– Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism & Sport
 
 

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253 responses to “Discussion Topic 1 – Human Rights and You

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    [-] Eva

    There is no one sitting in the Provincial Government Legislature for health care in B.C. The seat is vacant. We have the highest crime rate in Canada. We have the highest death rate in Canada, from opiate & fentanyl overdoses. The good samaritan act is not activated in Kelowna, B.C. at Interior Health clinics. It’s like Mac Donalds at these unregulated clinics. The attitude has to change! Make the drug addicts pay for their drugs and drug supplies. The Interior Health Authority clinics to be monitored as do the doctor’s that work. There is a mountain of discrepancies happening here in Kelowna, B.C.

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    [-] Sarah

    Most of the Human Rights Codes that apply to protecting myself have been broken by institutions/individuals with more power/wealth than I have access to and in more instances, I was unable to take action on them. For example, I was illegally fired from a job that I was coerced into (hired for one job/role, but instructed to do a different job/role) on the grounds of requesting disability accommodation. When I took action by visiting a lawyer with a free voucher from my student’s union, he listened to my case and served me the harsh reality that the individual who fired me broke three particular laws but because the institution had more power in the court room, I should not bother to carry on with the case as it would be a waste of legal funds I could not afford as is. I was crushed and ultimately lost out on around $2000-3000 wages as a result of the firing, money which I had planned to pay for treatments, adaptive devices, and to supplement my income in the following year at university.

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    [-] Sheila

    Disability and Mental Health.
    I was diagnosed years back with Graves disease, I had been unable to work due to the very dibilitating symptoms I experienced, and had been misdiagnosed for several years previous as I battled those symptoms. I am married and have a daughter. Due to the restrictions governing CPP disability, I was unable to collect any financial support (we had a business and our accountant did not advise us we must pay into CPP in the eventuality if either my husband or I would need assistance in the future). I never even heard of BC Disability, it is not advertised anywhere as existing that I came across, so years later, still unable to work I tried this avenue. My husband works full time but his income is not enough to provide more than basic necessities of food and housing, we have for years lived check to check, unable to get ahead, and actually we are further in debt than ever. Though I know my husband loves me, I no doubt am certain he resents my not being able to contribute to our financial needs and those of raising our daughter, who suffers from mental illness. When I approached BC Disability I learned I again did not qualify, as my husbands salary was considered too much. So I am left feeling like a parasite, unable to contribute and unable to get support from the federal or provincial government. Oddly enough, if my husband and I divorice and I have a separate address, I could collect BC disability. Is this my only recourse then, to divorice, rent a cheap accomodation for a mailing address to satisfy BC Disabilities policies so that I could possibly get a few hundred dollars to help my family? Absurd, but that is the truth of it. I wonder how many have been already forced to go this route? I feel like I am still considered my husbands property, his responsibility, I am not my own person who is in need of her own financial independence to both help her family and self.
    My daughter suffers from borderline personality disorder, because she is not yet legally an adult she is unable to benefit from treatments/therapies offered to adults, namely Dialetical Behaviour Therapy. DBT has proven to be the most successful therapy for those with BPD. My daughter suffers intense emotional pain, and this often manifests itself in various ways, making attending school extremely difficult, causes angry outbursts which are most directed at those closest to her, causes severe depression and hopelessness. On our limited budget we tried going through the mental health network which was a disaster and got us nowhere. For the past two years we have hired a private psychologist who has been a big help, this has caused us to slide further and further into debt. They psychologist is not trained in DBT and we have not been able to find one locally who is that we could also afford to hire. Our daughter has the right to be happy and psychologically healthy, but the poor and inadequate services available to her have been both dismal or not available.
    Both my daughter and myself have been discriminated against for being victims of bad health. We are limited by our lack of monies to secure help for our daughter outside the public system, and have too much monies to secure financial assistance for myself, which I would gladly use to help my daughter. Again, my daughter is unable to participate in treatment programs within the public system that would be beneficial to her because of her age. Feeling ashamed and defeated, I love my girl so very much, yet I can do little more to help her. Nobody cares.

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    [-] Dee

    I am not sure this is a human rights issue … but I will put it out there …. I think there is educational discrimination in work places … especially government work places.. I am not sure why someone would get paid more … for doing the exact same job as another employee .. simply because they have a degree (which may or may not have anything to do with the job being performed. It is especially insulting when the ones with a degree go to the ones without for advice on how to do the job … I say equal pay for equal work …

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    [-] Teresa

    Everyone in BC deserves the right to health care regardless of their finances or rational state of mind. 10 years ago my elderly uncle of 83 would wander off from his apartment in downtown Vancouver and get lost. His memory was quickly declining and he was alone. He never married; had no children and his siblings had predeceased him; my sister and I were his only family. Trying to support him from the Okanagan and Chilliwack was very difficult. As he didn’t realize his memory loses he would decline any assistance we set up for him. We were told this was his right as a Canadian Citizen even though he wasn’t rational, he was forgetting to eat so he was drastically losing weight. Is this right??? Is this how BC/Canada takes care of their elderly? Is this being a humanitarian society that historically Canada has been proud of??? Each Canadian, not just British Columbians should have the right to proper support and health care as we age especially when we get to the point where we can’t make rational decisions for ourselves.

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