CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies


December 7th, 2012

Celebrating International Human Rights Day Across Canada

Toronto – In December, human rights commissions and agencies across Canada are celebrating the 1948 signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Barbara Hall, President of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies and Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, invites all Canadians to recognize this special day, commenting, “It is a chance for everyone to appreciate how precious human rights are and how important it is for each of us to do the hard work needed to make human rights, real lived rights for all of us.”

Here are some highlights of what human rights commissions across the country are doing to mark this day.

Northwest Territories

The Commission is delivering a public noon hour talk in Yellowknife on "Nasty texts at work:  When does texting become a human rights issue?"  It is also hosting a mix-and-mingle event with the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce to celebrate International Human Rights Day that gives members of the public an opportunity to meet members of the Human Rights Commission. 


On December 7th, will be celebrating both International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3rd) and International Human Rights Day, by launching a locally produced film by the Yukon Human Rights Commission with funding support from the Law Foundation of Yukon. Entitled, “Aren’t You Supposed to Be Doing Something? – Mallory’s Story”, the film documents the story of Mallory Pigage, a young woman and self-advocate for people with disabilities.

Prince Edward Island

The Commission is teaming up with the PEI Council of People with Disabilities to publish an ad that will appear in a special supplement of the Guardian newspaper that recognizes both December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and December 10th, International Human Rights Day.

New Brunswick

The Commission is co-sponsoring with the Atlantic Human Rights Centre, a performance on December 19th of an abridged version of Ariel Dorfman’s play on human rights entitled “Speak Truth to Power”. The play will be performed at St. Thomas University in Fredericton by the Hampton High School Theatre Company before an audience of about 150 students from Leo Hayes High School. The Commission’s Chairperson will give welcoming remarks. The Commission is also issuing a statement to mark International Human Rights Day.

Nova Scotia

Featuring the theme Voice It! Change It! December 10th International Human Rights Day activities focus on the presentation of the 2012 Human Rights Awards. The awards recognize the contributions and underline the importance of people who have made promoting human rights a priority, and in so doing, made a difference in the province. 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Commission is issuing a press release calling on individuals and organizations across the province to reflect on the importance of promoting equality, understanding, and mutual respect for all members of its community, and reminding everyone of their collective responsibility to protect and preserve these rights for future generations. It is also hosting a continuing legal education seminar for the Newfoundland and Labrador law society.

As part of the 2012 celebration of International Human Rights Day, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse awarded its 25th annual Rights and Freedoms Prize to the Journal de la Rue, a not-for-profit organization working with marginalized youth, through creative projects as well as social and economic outreach programs. It also awarded Autisme et troubles envahissants du développement Montréal (ATEDM) with an honourable mention in appreciation of its work defending the rights of people with autism and their families.

Capping a year that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the Commission will be giving keynote presentations on December 10th and 11th on connecting history with today’s human rights at “History meets humanity – Student conference on WWII in Asia”, to more than 500 high school students. At the event, students will have a chance to see videos from the OHRC’s “Living Rights Project”. The Project captures individuals talking about their own personal experiences with rights issues, adding a human face to a virtual library on Ontario’s human rights history.


In recognition of International Human Rights Day, on December 6th, the Commission together with the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, is awarding its annual 2012 human rights awards recognizing a number of individuals and organizations working in various areas and with diverse communities to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and advance the rights of all Manitobans.


While the Commission is focusing its efforts this year on celebrating the UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities with a Disability Forum on December 3rd, followed by a two-day education workshop on disability issues on December 4th and 5th, it will also be posting human rights-related information on its website to mark December 10th.


The Commission is participating in a number of events across the province to commemorate International Human Rights Day. Celebrations include an information session that will explore the evolution of human rights, the role that human rights law has played in Alberta and its relevance to today’s workplace. A day-long conference to explore the current realities of human rights, existing barriers and opportunities is also planned, as well as an annual Human Rights Awards Gala with keynote speaker Premier Alison Redford. More information is available on its website.

For further information:

Afroze Edwards
Senior Communications Officer                                      
Communications and Issues Management


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CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies