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?

 
– Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism & Sport
 

 

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71 responses to “Discussion Topic 3 – Building Awareness

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    [-] Sarah

    Human Rights Commissioners– please consider educating the public on disability rights. This is such a necessary step in breaking down the stigma attached to disabled people and their lives, and to increase understanding of what it means to be disabled (eg. not all disabilities are visible!). I truly hope for the B.C. government to take action on behalf of disabled people in the province to educate and inform the public about the nuances of life as a person with disability, and what it means to promote inclusion/acceptance/tolerance for disabled people. If the HRC begins the conversation with public education/awareness, I believe it will lead to more disabled voices being heard.

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    [-] Tiffany

    I believe education for the public and for organizations is important to bring awareness to human rights and the obligations of employers, service providers, etc. This can be done in a variety of ways, including workshops, written materials, on-line learning (webinars, video). Topics such as the duty to accommodate are not well understood by all employers, as well as areas of human rights protection and how employers can investigate and resolve issues of discrimination/discriminatory harassment.

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    [-] Joel

    Part of the education component isn’t just “this is a human right,” “this is not a human right,” but root-cause issues need to be addressed that can systematically and functionally shift attitudes, behaviours, and policies. We need to teach people about the importance of human rights and how to centre work in anti-oppression. Anti-oppression work isn’t just for the service providers that are serving marginalized communities, it needs to be ingrained and woven through all aspects of our society – with teachers; health care professionals; law firms; business and tech; shelter and housing; on and on and on… So when I think of education, to me, it’s not about “here’s what discrimination based on race looks like, so don’t do it,” but a much more authentic, genuine approach to shift narratives and attitudes at both the individual and systems levels.

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    [-] Corey

    There are so many areas the new Commission could be educating people on. For example, bullying in school, human rights for people with disabilities in the workplace, the rights of women to breastfeed in public (I’m a man, but I support the right of women to breastfeet discretely in public) and women’s rights to equal pay for equal work are all very big issues in BC (and everywhere else) right now. The rights of a patient in the hospital, regardless of the reason they’re in the hospital is another big one. Patients should have the right to seek a second opinion, and they should have the right to see immediately upon request, all information the hospital has been recording about them. If they feel they’ve been mistreated and it falls under the Human Rights Code, it should be easy for them to seek restitution within the system, but also outside of the healthcare system if necessary. I agree with other suggestions about the Commission going into schools, workplaces, universities, hospitals etc. and educating staff, students, patients, etc about human rights. I don’t think all human rights violations are intentional; I think sometimes people just don’t understand how big an impact a seemingly simple decision can have on someone else’s life, or indeed, on the lives of many.

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    [-] Jennifer

    Combining education on parental breastfeeding rights with education on what is currently recommended to parents by the Government of Canada, WHO and other leading health organizations, could be the difference between parents thriving instead of surviving. Current recommendations are that babies should be fed human milk exclusively for the first six months prior to the introduction of solids and then continue to receive human milk until the age of two and beyond. This is not common knowledge and this ignorance could prevent buy-in from those who should be supporting and protecting this right. This two-pronged education should be spread outside the traditional settings of hospitals and public health offices. Government should not rely on parents to educate the public on current recommendations and rights.

    Public Awareness and Education will:
    1) Take the pressure off parents to have to educate non-parents and older relatives who were raised with different expectations.
    2) Spread knowledge that breastfeeding and breastmilk recommendations have changed drastically between generations (there is much history online, and local groups can supply background if consulted)
    3) Supply understanding as to why it is so important to protect this human right by highlighting some of the challenges breastfeeding and pumping parents and people commonly face.
    4) Offer practical ways to support this right through small acts of kindness or support.

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    [-] Sydelle

    On behalf of Council of Service Providers which consist of 40 representatives from organizations that serve deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind clients from birth to 99, we are submitting this as a group. We need more human rights information to be translated into American Sign Language (which is entirely different from written English) and printed in larger fonts for the Deafblind community as well Braille. As well, we need ASL interpretation services and CART (text) services to be able to access any information or workshops. Equal access for all!

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    [-] Zelpha

    I leave a short story, on this matter. About ten years ago, the community of Bountiful BC (a polygamist community) agreed to visit with the RCMP to create a bond and relationship between them and our community. The visit was going well, until I asked the Constable what he would do if our rights were infringed upon? Could we count on him to protect us? This was a difficult question and made for an even more difficult answer. Thankfully the constable was relocated and did not have to be a part of the arrest of the men in our community. My question today is, Why are their laws created that infringe upon peoples basic human rights. Why does it take going to court and spending millions of dollars to dismiss these laws that violate basic human rights? Did you know that today in BC it is against the law to have anal sex? I am confused? We allow gay marriages in BC, but any one who makes a complaint has the right to prosecute them if they engage in sex? I don’t mean to bring this up to be inappropriate but to prove a point. Laws should not be made that are not meant to be followed. If we are to be a Democracy, why are we making laws that take away Human Rights? If BC wants its citizens to respect the law, these laws need to stop conflicting with a person’s or peoples basic human rights. My suggestion for this commission is for the BC government do a overhaul on their laws to get rid of those that create grey areas, leading to unrest, fear, and hate in its society.

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    [-] Robin

    In a word, Enforcement. It’s been my experience that too many BC government employees don’t realise the work for the people of BC. There needs to be clear communication that violating human rights and breaking the law is punishable. Too many health care workers hide behind privacy laws. Wrong doing is kept quiet and people are helped when they have been assaulted, gaslighted… This behaviour needs to be taken seriously. Everyone deserves respect.

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    [-] charlotte

    Topics bullied , inclusion, mandatory communication workshops or programs actually used , team work , conflict resolution for real a program actually used, encouraged problem solving again actually implemented, actual confidentiality in manager or supervisor conversations one on one again implemented, a process for monitoring these programs and making them accountable for real, thank you.

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