CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies

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Alberta Human Rights Commission

Alberta Human Rights Commission

CASHRA 2011, Calgary, Alberta

The Alberta Human Rights Commission was honoured to have organized and hosted the 2011 annual conference of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) in Calgary, Alberta from June 13 to June 15, 2011. The conference, titled Human Rights in Canada: New Realities, New Directions was organized in partnership with Alberta Culture and Community Spirit.

A total of 391 delegates and speakers from Alberta and across the country participated in the sold-out conference which set a new attendance record for a CASHRA conference. In addition, 24 individuals participated in a pre-conference program exploring history and the contemporary realities of Aboriginal peoples, and 84 individuals participated in a post-conference educational workshop on conducting high-quality investigations.

Delegates, representing a wide range of sectors (including the human rights field, the legal community, employers, business and human resource professionals, educators and community organizations), explored some of the new realities of life in Canada today and acquired knowledge and tools to enable them to move forward in their work related to human rights, diversity and inclusion.

Plenary and luncheon addresses delivered by prominent and inspiring speakers were highlights of the conference. Plenary and luncheon speakers included: Professor Daniel Weinstock, Université de Montréal; Chief Wilton Littlechild, Commissioner, Truth and Reconcilaition Commission; Grand Chief Edward John, First Nations Summit Task Group (Political Executive), and North American Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenhsi. Concurrent conference sessions were presented by a host of expert speakers from across the country who explored topics ranging from privacy and workplace accommodation to hate crimes and the impact of recent decisions by Canada’s human rights tribunals.  Many presentations delivered at the conference are available on the CASHRA 2011 conference website. You can also read the speaker biographies

The majority of respondents to the post-conference survey agreed or strongly agreed that the conference met the conference’s overall objectives and their individual expectations. The majority of participants in the post-conference workshop similarly reported that the workshop met their expectations and was relevant to their work.

The Alberta Human Rights Commissions values the opportunity it had to offer this conference and support delegates in their work in building discrimination-free, welcoming, and inclusive organizations, workplaces and communities. The Commission looks forward to building on what was achieved at the conference and will continue to work collaboratively towards this end.

The Manitoba Human Rights Commission is hosting the 2012 annual conference of CASHRA titled, “Are we there yet?” Contact the Manitoba Human Rights Commission for more information about CASHRA 2012.

Building discrimination-free, welcoming and inclusive communities in Alberta

Eleven municipalities have now joined the Alberta network of the Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD). The Town of Fort Mcleod is the most recent community to join CMARD, having formally signed on to the coalition in July 2011. Visit the Commission’s website to read the list of signatory municipalities and for more information about CMARD.

The second meeting of the Provincial Network of Welcoming and Inclusive Communities is taking place on December 1st to 2nd, 2011. The network was formed in September 2009 and is an outcome of the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) partnership initiative between the Alberta Government, Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. The partnership initiative was developed to help build the capacity of communities to build welcoming and inclusive communities. 14 Alberta municipalities are part of the Provincial Network of WIC, including municipalities signed up to CMARD, and other municipalities that are working to become more welcoming and inclusive. For more information about the WIC partnership and the provincial network, visit the WIC website.

Alberta Human Rights Commission now reports to Minister of Justice

On October 12, 2011, recently-elected Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford named a new cabinet team and implemented a new government structure. Along with other changes to the responsibilities of respective Ministries in the new Cabinet, the Alberta Human Rights Commission now reports to the Minister of Justice. The Commission—an independent Commission of the Government of Alberta— previously reported to the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit (now Culture and Community Services).  

Passing of Pardeep Gundara, former Southern Regional Office Director, Alberta Human Rights Commission

Pardeep Gundara - former Southern Regional Office Director, Alberta Human Rights Commission

It is with deep sadness that the Commission announces the passing of Pardeep Gundara, a champion and defender of human rights in Alberta and former Southern Regional Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Pardeep was a remarkable man who began his service with the Alberta Government 33 years ago, September 1978. He began his career in human rights as a Human Rights Officer and ultimately became Director of the Southern Regional Office of the Alberta Human Rights Commission in Calgary.

Born in Kenya, Pardeep went to the United States of America as a young man and there achieved an impressive education, earning his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Nasson College after studying at the prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine, and his Master of Arts (MA) from Niagara University in New York.

While living in the United States, Pardeep had an inspirational involvement in the civil rights movement by taking part in Martin Luther King Junior's famous March on Washington.

Pardeep was strongly committed to and had a passion for human rights. This, along with his international perspective, knowledge of diverse groups and ability to speak seven languages, allowed him to reach out to and support Alberta's diverse community.

Pardeep's commitment to the most vulnerable in our society including Albertans with disabilities, Aboriginal people and many others served as a model for all staff at the Alberta Human Rights Commission as well as the many other people who came to the Commission seeking help.

Pardeep will be dearly missed and always remembered.

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CASHRA - The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies