Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission
The Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission is an independent body that administers and enforces the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Act. The Commission has a staff of three: the Executive Director, Human Rights Officer and Administrative/Intake Officer. Currently, there are five Commissioners who are appointed by the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island on the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Social Development.
In 1998, the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island adopted amendments to the Human Rights Act which give the Executive Director the screening function that had been performed previously by the Commission. The Executive Director or Delegate investigates and attempts to effect settlement of human rights complaints, and may refer cases to a Human Rights Panel when settlement is not possible. The Chair may review the Executive Director's decision to dismiss or discontinue action on a complaint. Commissioners now act as adjudicators at human rights hearings.
The Commission also engages in public education on human rights topics, and strives to raise awareness of human rights issues. Staff and Commissioners conduct education presentations at schools, post-secondary institutions, community organizations and workplaces either in response to requests or as part of a settlement.
Annually, the Commission receives an average of 60 new complaints and our caseload is approximately 100 ongoing matters. The Executive Director or Chair refers an average of 6 matters for Panel Hearings each year. The Commission also participates in approximately 5 Judicial Review matters and fields approximately 1,800 general inquiries a year.
Immigration Changing the Island
A wave of new immigrants is changing the Island Community. In the past 10 years, the Government of Prince Edward Island has established programmes designed to attract economic immigrants. In 2001, there were 135 immigrants in all categories, including 50 economic immigrants, who are those selected for their ability to contribute to the Island economy. In 2010, 2,140 immigrants in all categories came to the Island, of whom 2,046 were economic immigrants. In a Province of fewer than 130,000 people, this number is significant. While the majority of immigrants are from China, the presence in Prince Edward Island of immigrants from all over the globe is transforming the Island Community. Once known for its rural ways and Scottish roots, the Island's new wave of immigrants is making an impact on schools, the economy and the street scape. Responding to the needs of new immigrants is one of the challenges of the Commission, which is charged with developing programmes of public information and education in the field of human rights.
Human Rights Award
In 2008, the Commission created the Award for the Advancement of Human Rights. The Award is presented annually to an individual, group or organization to recognize significant contributions to the advancement of human rights on Prince Edward Island.
The Award is presented each year on December 10th during the celebration of International Human Rights Day. The 2010 recipient of the Award was the Prince Edward Island Council of People with Disabilities.
In response to a recognized need for education in the area of human rights in employment, the Commission also published “Workplace Rights: A Guide to the PEI Human Rights Act for Employers and Employees.”
Both booklets were published in French and English through generous funding from the Law Foundation of Prince Edward Island.
If you would like further information on the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission, please visit our recently updated web site at www.peihumanrights.caBack to Top