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Increasing awareness through public education and partnerships

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Another important function of the Commission is to develop and conduct programs of public information and education.

During the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the Commission participated in a total of 105 public education events to community groups, employer groups, law offices and educators reaching nearly 9,000 individuals. Presentations covered a variety of topics ranging from workplace harassment and accommodation for persons with disabilities in educational settings to racial profiling and accessibility of public transit. The Chief Commissioner also spoke with educational groups, including elementary and secondary school students, and teacher and postsecondary faculties, at conferences organized by law offices and legal clinics, and met with visiting international delegations. And, many more individuals are reached through other initiatives, such as the Commission’s public awareness campaigns.

Shoppers Drug Mart and CARP – Age poster campaign

In July 2003, the Commission launched a public awareness campaign to counteract myths and stereotypes about older persons, in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart and CARP, Canada’s Association for the Fifty-Plus. For a two-week period from July 26th to August 9th, 2003, Shoppers Drug Mart stores across the country displayed the Commission’s Best Before posters of older persons with the tagline, "Nobody has a shelf life. Stop age discrimination now. It's illegal, and it's just plain wrong."  The drugstores also distributed a new leaflet on age discrimination to develop a better understanding by the public of ageism and its effects.

HRPAO – Revised Human Rights at Work publication

In February 2004, the Commission, in partnership with the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO) launched a revised and expanded version of Human Rights at Work. This plain language guide for employers is one of the Commission's most popular publications and covers the key human rights issues in today’s workplaces: job design and hiring, accommodating persons with disabilities, drug and alcohol testing, harassment policies and rights for pregnant employees and same-sex partners.

The Commission’s Web site provides quick access to Commission policies, plain language guides, and to case summaries, news releases and information on consultations and upcoming initiatives.

During the fiscal year 2003-2004, 461,365 unique visits to the Web site were recorded, which represents an increase of more than 130,000 unique visits over the previous fiscal year. On average 1,261 people visited the Web site each day.

International Human Rights Instruments

The Commission also provides input into Canada’s reports, which are required under the various international human rights instruments to which Canada is a signatory.

In 2003-2004, the Commission provided information for Ontario’s submission for Canada’s 5th Report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and submitted a response to the draft United Nations Human Rights Report on Canada (released in February 2004) following the Chief Commissioner’s meeting in September 2003 with M. Doudou Diene, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism. 

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