Following a lengthy hearing process, involving a complaint filed under the Human Rights Code by Michael McKinnon against the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, it was proposed that a joint working group of the three parties be struck to both support MCSCS’s change initiatives and to satisfy the OHRC’s need to ensure the process for change addresses its public interest concerns.
2. Project Objective & Term
The Human Rights Project aims to provide time limited support to MCSCS in its ongoing initiatives aimed at identifying and eliminating any possible discrimination in the employment of MCSCS employees and in the delivery of services by MCSCS. The work required to attain these objectives is described in this document as the “Project”. The Project is for a term of no more than three years and may be extended on agreement of all three parties.
This Project Charter details the agreed upon relationship to be established between the three parties to fulfill these aims. It is acknowledged by all three parties that the Project Charter is a joint undertaking to address the issues identified in this Charter and is not an admission of liability as to those issues by MCSCS as it relates to any past, present or future complaints or other legal proceedings against MCSCS.
The Project Charter recognizes the primacy of the Human Rights Code and in no way fetters the statutory powers or duties of the OHRC.
3. Project Approach
The Project is supported at the highest levels of the three organizations, with the Chief Commissioner of the OHRC, and Deputy Ministers of MCSCS and MGS acting as Project Sponsors. An Executive Group consisting of 1 member from each organization, and designated alternates, will be appointed by the Project Sponsor’s Committee to coordinate all aspects of the project, including identifying issues of concern, generating agendas, preparing background materials and seeking Project Sponsor approval for all important items.
The Executive Group will establish Committees to administer the Project’s objectives: each committee will have at least one representative from each of the three organizations.
A Working Group of all the Committee leads will work with the Executive Group to coordinate the activity of the committees. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) may also assign a representative to the Working Group. Committees and the Working Group will meet more frequently than the Project Sponsor Committee. All Groups and Committees are to aim for consistent representation: representatives should not send alternate delegates unless specifically agreed to by the Group or Committee.
All Committees and Groups will attempt to achieve objectives by consensus. If consensus cannot be achieved, the issue will be referred to the next level up for consideration. In the event a matter reaches the Project Sponsors and they cannot reach consensus, the parties agree to mediation, and if required, binding arbitration with Michael Gottheil on the particular issue and will carry on with the rest of their work.
MCSCS will establish an External Advisory Group consisting of individuals from outside the Ontario Public Service with expertise in Aboriginal issues, human rights issues, and/or organizational change. The External Advisory Group will provide advice to the Project Sponsors as called upon. The External Advisory Group will be provided necessary and relevant background information.
It is agreed that MCSCS is the owner of its own change process. The OHRC’s role will be to provide advice to MCSCS regarding its ongoing change initiatives, assist in the development of target change objectives, and report on the progress of MCSCS in relation to these initiatives.
An initial list of agreed upon change objectives is identified in Appendix A to this Charter and includes (A) Aboriginal Issues, (B) Recruitment, Selection, Promotion and Retention, (C) Training, (D) Accountability and (E) the design of the WDHP handling and tracking system. Over the course of the Project, amendments to the change objectives may be appropriate. If all three Project Sponsors agree to a proposed amendment, revised change objectives will be drafted and added to this Project Charter as Appendices.
The Project Sponsors’ Committee Meetings
The Project will be directed by the Project Sponsors’ Committee. It will meet on a regular basis and will maintain the following features/functions:
- Only the Project Sponsors are voting members of the Sponsor’s Group.
- The Executive Group will develop the Agenda for the Project Sponsor’s Committee and participate in meetings.
- Two Sponsors will constitute a quorum for discussion purposes. All Sponsors must be present for voting on approvals.
- Other staff from the three organizations may attend the meetings of the Project Sponsor’s Group at the discretion of Project Sponsors.
- Involvement from the OHRC may include the Executive Director.
- Meetings will be held at least quarterly, unless otherwise agreed by the Project Sponsors.
- The meetings will be held at MCSCS’s offices, unless otherwise agreed by the Project Sponsors.
- MCSCS will provide staff to address meeting logistics and minute keeping. Minutes will be approved by the Project Sponsors.
- The OHRC, MCSCS, MGS will each designate one “contact” person to facilitate ongoing communication.
- All parties agree that the use of alternates and/or acting members is not permitted at the Sponsor Group due to the need for speedy decision-making and the sensitive nature of some issues.
- MCSCS will provide a formal update of change initiatives at each meeting.
- The OHRC will provide feedback and identify concerns related to the update.
- The Project Sponsors’ Committee will review the progress of the Project annually, updating this Charter as necessary. After three years a review and evaluation will occur to determine whether the Project is completed or should continue. The latter must have the agreement of all Parties.
- Given that sensitive matters are likely to be discussed, confidentiality shall be maintained with respect to all matters discussed at the meetings of the Project Sponsor’s Committee and the Executive Group unless the parties agree otherwise and are legally entitled to disclose the information.
The OHRC, MCSCS and MGS will communicate their activities both within their organizations and to the general public as stated below.
- Detailed minutes will be distributed after each meeting in accordance with the following distribution list.
Chief Commissioner Hall
Deputy Minister Davidson
Deputy Minister McKerlie
- An internal annual report will be developed jointly to review progress of the Project.
- The Deputy Ministers of MCSCS and MGS will report to the Secretary of Cabinet on progress annually.
- The OHRC shall make the Human Rights Project Charter public once it has been entered into, as well as any amendments.
- The Commission shall report on the initiatives undertaken under the Project Charter in its annual report under s.31.6 of the Human Rights Code.
- Special issue specific reports will be produced when appropriate.
5. Indicators of success (as determined by the joint working group)
The Project Sponsor Committee and the Executive Group will identify indicators for success for the Project and will create an evaluation plan during the first six months of the Project, that will measure, through data collection and other means, the success of specific elements of the Project and the achievement of goals for the duration of the Project.
6. Assumptions & Challenges
The parties understand the challenges inherent in this Project. For example, change has the potential to create resistance among both internal and external stakeholders. The parties recognize that perceived failure to respond to human rights concerns as a result of this Project has the real potential to further frustrate communities and groups.
The Project assumes the following:
- the parties will remain committed to the stated objectives;
- the parties will provide sufficient resources to achieve the Project’s goal; and,
- the parties will commit to providing timely responses and approvals when required.