Human Rights

This section contains links (both locally and internationally) to websites, legislation and Canadian case law pertaining to human rights issues.


The Convention on the Rights of the Child (bilingual website)

Description: UNICEF’s mission is to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided in doing this by the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


B.C. Human Rights Code

Description: B.C. Human Rights Code, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Description: The Assembly of First Nations bilingual website provides links to numerous legal/policy human rights issues concerning First Nations citizens, and in particular, providing current information on such important issues as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and proposed/suspended bills in the House of Commons.

The On September 13, 2007, the United Nations (UN) adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by a vote of 144 to 4 with 11 abstentions. Four nations voted against it - Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

According to the UN, the Declaration:

  1. establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world’s indigenous peoples;
  2. addresses individual and collective rights;
  3. identifies rights to education, health, employment and language;
  4. outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples;
  5. ensures their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development; and
  6. encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and indigenous peoples”.


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Description: A bilingual website with links to government publications such as Hansard debates, current Bills in the Senate and House of Commons, current standing orders, and so on.


House of Commons - Chamber Business

Description: A bilingual website with links to government publications such as Hansard debates, current Bills in the Senate and House of Commons, current standing orders, and so on.


Canadian Children’s Right Council

Description: A multilingual website that contains links to human rights issues on Family Law Reform, Child Identity Rights, and Corporal Punishment.


Child Rights Information Network (International) (“CRIN”)

Description: CRIN is a global network coordinating and promoting information and action on child rights. More than 2,000 member organisations and tens of thousands more activists from across the world rely on CRIN for research and information.


EGALE Canada

Description: Egale Canada is a national organization that advances equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-identified people and their families across Canada. This website has links to education surveys, controversial new government legislation, safe school campaigns, among many others.


Link: R. v. A. M. (Supreme Court of Canada decision)  

Description: The police accepted a long‑standing invitation by the principal of a high school to bring sniffer dogs into the school to search for drugs. The police had no knowledge that drugs were present in the school and would not have been able to obtain a warrant to search the school. The search took place while all the students were confined to their classrooms. In the gymnasium, the sniffer dog reacted to one of the unattended backpacks lined up against a wall. Without obtaining a warrant, the police opened the backpack and found illicit drugs.



WIC Radio Ltd. and Rafe Mair (Appellant) V. Kari Simpson (Respondent)

Description: M is a well‑known and sometimes controversial radio talk show host. The target of one of his editorials was S, a widely known social activist opposed to any positive portrayal of a gay lifestyle. M and S took opposing sides in the debate about whether the purpose of introducing materials dealing with homosexuality into public schools was to teach tolerance of homosexuality or to promote a homosexual lifestyle. In his editorial, M compared S in her public persona to Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads. S brought an action against M and WIC Radio, claiming that certain words in the broadcast were defamatory.


Balvir Singh Multani and Balvir Singh Multani(Appellants) V. Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys and Attorney General of Quebec (Respondents)

Description: G and his father B are orthodox Sikhs. G believes that his religion requires him to wear a kirpan at all times; a kirpan is a religious object that resembles a dagger and must be made of metal. In 2001, G accidentally dropped the kirpan he was wearing under his clothes in the yard of the school he was attending. The school board sent G’s parents a letter in which, as a reasonable accommodation, it authorized their son to wear his kirpan to school provided that he complied with certain conditions to ensure that it was sealed inside his clothing. G and his parents agreed to this arrangement. The governing board of the school refused to ratify the agreement on the basis that wearing a kirpan at the school violated art. 5 of the school’s Code de vie (code of conduct), which prohibited the carrying of weapons.


Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law (Appellants) V. Attorney General of Canada (Respondents)

Description: Section 43 of the Criminal Code justifies the reasonable use of force by way of correction by parents and teachers against children in their care.  The appellant sought a declaration that s. 43 violates ss. 7, 12 and 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The trial judge and the Court of Appeal rejected the appellant’s contentions and refused to issue the declaration requested. The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal and again refused to issue the requested declaration.


The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (Appellants) V. Gloria and Mike Mahussier (Respondents)

Description: The issue on this appeal is very narrow.  Was Travis Mahussier discriminated against by reason of his disability, Williams Syndrome, when he was suspended for three days because of his use of profanity in the classroom, resource room and surrounding area with the result that he was denied an education?  The parents appealed the suspension, the appeal was denied and a formal complaint was lodged with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.


Lisa Millar (Complainant) V. British Columbia Teachers' Federation (Respondents)

Description: On February 2, 2005, Ms. Miller sent the following email to many of the parents in her son’s class: As the grade 5 class rep I am passing along some very important information, as requested by [CT]. I believe everyone is aware of the situation in our children’s classroom. A parent spoke to [C] today about it and [C] immediately took her to [TR-J, the School Principal, sometimes also referred to as “T” or “R-J”] and requested a confidential meeting. During the course of this meeting [T] acknowledged knowing about the general concerns parent have had about their children’s negative educational environment, but I believe this was the first time she had heard directly from the source how truly awful things have been. She is committed to helping us but she needs to follow protocol to be successful...


William Whatcott (Appellant) V. Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal...(Respondents)

Description: This appeal before the Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan stems from a hearing before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal, in which the Tribunal ruled that William Whatcott contravened s. 14 of the Saskatchewan Human Right Code.


Edmund Hunter Newman, Charlotte Elizabeth... (Plaintiffs) V. Susan Pearl Halstead, Telus Corporation, Shaw Communications Inc...(Defendants)

Description: The defendant, Ms. Halstead, long involved in her community as a volunteer, had become focused on her concern that certain teachers, school board officials and parents involved in the education system have acted improperly. The defendant posted her views, including very serious allegations of manifestly improper conduct, on Internet websites, chat rooms and via e-mail. Most of her allegations involved the plaintiffs.