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Giving human rights the personal touch

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Even though e-learning and other electronic options make training large numbers of people more possible, there is still a need to meet with people across Ontario – and in some cases across Canada and the world – to “put a face” to human rights. Staff consulted and offered human rights training on mental health, racism, school discipline, Aboriginal issues, municipal zoning and other issues.

Here are some highlights:

  • Hosted meetings and served on the Law Commission Disability Project
  • Welcomed delegation from Japan and offered advice on their work to develop human rights legislation and a commission
  • Met with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Provided input on the Association of Canadian Studies report to the European Union initiative comparing national human rights laws and policies from select countries
  • Took part in a video conference with Persons United for Self Help Ontario to hear concerns about unnecessary institutionalization and access to housing and community services
  • Gave advice to a school board on issues affecting student athletes undergoing gender transition
  • Wrote to the Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission supporting adding a bus stop to Variety Village, a centre that caters to persons with disabilities
  • Provided training to staff at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on human rights and mental health in employment.

In February 2011, we were pleased to meet with Feliciano Reyna, Executive Director of Venezuela’s Action in Solidarity, a non-government organization providing community support for people living with AIDS, and Sinergía, an umbrella structure for Venezuelan NGOs dealing with social issues and human rights. As recipient of the Embassy of Canada in Venezuela Human Rights Award, Mr. Reyna travelled in Canada and met with the OHRC to learn more about our human rights laws and system.

As well, Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall met and spoke with more than 60 communities and groups across Ontario, to promote a culture of human rights. Speaking venues included:

  • Holy Names Catholic High School, Windsor
  • C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, Toronto
  • Canadian Home Builders Association, Ottawa
  • Association of Canadian Cartoonists, Hamilton
  • Amnesty International, Ottawa
  • Association of Condo Managers of Ontario, London.


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