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6. Public education

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The OHRC is mandated to undertake public education activities directed at promoting a greater understanding of human rights principles and voluntary compliance with the provisions of the Code.

The OHRC recognizes the benefits to be gained towards the eradication of the practice of FGM through public education. Therefore, the OHRC is committed to working with members and organizations of the at-risk communities, as well as with other agencies in the public sector, within the boundaries of its mandate and resources, in developing public education initiatives around FGM. The efforts of the OHRC, together with those of the affected communities and concerned organizations, can help to create an environment in which people are encouraged to eradicate the practice, without imposing a threat to the dignity and cultural identity of the affected communities.[48]

A further document, Know Your Rights: Female Genital Mutilation and the Ontario ”Human Rights Code” is available on the OHRC website at

[48] At the June 1995 CASHRA (Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Associations) Conference, the Commission tabled the following resolution which was unanimously passed:


WHEREAS Canada is a party to international instruments that provide for the respect and protection of the fundamental human rights of women and children; and

WHEREAS Canada is participating in an international initiative to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation; and

WHEREAS Canadians are concerned that women and girls who are ordinarily resident in Canada are being subjected to the practice of female genital mutilation;

BE IT RESOLVED that CASHRA recommend to the Minister of Employment and Immigration that all prospective immigrants be provided with information setting out Canada's commitment to upholding international human rights instruments; emphasizing that the protection and respect of human rights is a cornerstone of Canadian society and extends to the protection of women and children against any acts which would cause grave interference with their personal inviolability, including female genital mutilation; and advising that practices such as female genital mutilation are deemed to be a criminal activity under the Canadian Criminal Code.

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