Discussion Topic 3 – Building Awareness

This public engagement to re-establish the B.C. Human Rights Commission has been an eye-opening experience for me. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much through peoples’ expertise, experiences and stories. A big takeaway so far has been the call for more public education on human rights as a crucial consideration when building the new commission.  From my face-to-face meetings and phone calls with human rights experts and organizations, to the comments I am reading here in the discussion forum, public education has risen as a central theme. Thank you for bringing that to the forefront.
It is clear that when people know their rights, they are better prepared to identify when those rights are being violated and what they can do about it. But public education does more than empower those who face discrimination. It also educates people and organizations – such as employers, landlords, teachers, police, service providers, governments and so forth– about their responsibility to uphold human rights. Greater understanding on all sides can lead to appropriate expectations, empathy, compassion and an understanding of available options.
Participants in the dialogue so far have made it clear that education is a valued tool for building a strong future for human rights in B.C. I would like us now to consider how the commission might design and focus its public education efforts.

How do you feel the new commission should educate people about human rights under the B.C. Human Rights Code?

Based on your experience, what topics of education would be important to individuals?  What would be most helpful for employers or other organizations? What are the most convenient ways that you use to find information you need in your daily life?


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22 responses to “Discussion Topic 3 – Building Awareness

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    [-] Susan

    Topic number one: what are disabilities how they manifest and how they are on a spectrum at least most are on a spectrum from severe to mild or something variable so people must dispel with the notion that all disabilities fit a mold and secondly that disabled are individuals however dealing with most disabilities in most situations is practical in nature and can be understood with common sense, so that is the first thing is to normalize or demystify and leave the subject of definition of disability quite open to future modifications as medical science comes up with stuff all the time but make sure to let everyone know it could be you with a disability and treat others as you would like to be treated which is with respect and courtesy and not just when people are in wheelchairs. Raise the bar for conduct amongst average people give examples of behavior on buses, like not taking all the disabled seating or pushing disabled or elderly how to behave towards anyone really and taking disability into account as well. Employers really need to back off in terms of trying to get strict definitions of all disabilities and need to have incentives to hire the disabled and promote their work especially us older workers being marginalized due to issues like fibromyalgia, arthritis and related anxiety and depression. These are not making me unable to work but when the employer at the same time does not provide adequate opportunity for the person with disabilities we can get hung up in problems like work flow, supervisor attitudes which can be negative for no reason, and scapegoated because naturally if we have a disability we may be to blame if there are mistakes or performance issues, it is a stereotype that employers will need a push to overcome, incentives to hire and promote the disabled and the older workers because we have a great deal to do and contribute. Employers need to spend time getting to know the worker in some way, on a friendly and not antagonistic level so that they can accept them and overcome their own ignorance so maybe promote a workshop for organizations who want to have both managers and voluntary disclosure disabled employees, and others who are interested but don’t just talk about it show people examples and let them know that many variations exist because people have told me that on the bus I am not disabled unless I am in a wheelchair, and that was a person from outside of Canada I think based on accent and the message itself, but it shows so much ignorance. You should try to overcome some cultural and language barriers because people in some cultures are ashamed of disability and discussion of it. The workplace reflects this too. The internet is the best place to find information so please put lots of good information and also people still need more print to be available paper is used by everyone who does not have or access to a computer and leave information for libraries to dispense and give workshops in libraries if you can if you do people will join in readily

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    [-] George

    Since 1982, the changes to Canada which creates the condition of a semi-republic due to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, have not bee well understood by the general public except in the Province of Quebec, where a Civil Code exists, updated every 5 years.
    The legal profession is well aware of this, the CAF has made many changes due to this, but the General Public remains ignorant.
    How to effect a change in this situation I do not know other than Government action, publicizing court cases where monetary awards are made and why.
    The recent decision to compensate one Omar Khadr, for mistreatment by the Federal Government, has caused controversy based on his past conduct as a terrorist functionary, but under the Human Rights code is justified.
    The new Human Rights Commissioner will have a leading role to play in educating the public to their GUARANTEED Rights under the Federal and BC Charter.