45 Calls for Inclusion: Celebrating 45 Years of the Canadian Human Rights Act

The Canadian Human Rights Act is celebrating its 45th anniversary! Since its passing in 1977, Canada’s human rights record has come quite far, with many noteworthy milestones along the way. But we still have a long way to go.

In our 45 Calls for Inclusion, we urge Canadian governments and people in Canada to take concrete action to help improve human rights for all. Let’s build upon our past to make a better future, starting today.

Each week, leading up to International Human Rights Day, we'll be adding new Calls for Inclusion to our list. Stay tuned!

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Calls to end hate

Video: Calls to end hate

  • Call #1: Shut down online hate. Canada needs new comprehensive legislation to combat online hate. Hate intensifies prejudice, it dehumanizes people, and it leads to harassment and violence. It requires a coordinated and proactive regime.
  • Call #2: End racist hate against Indigenous, Black and other racialized people. Combatting race-based hatred and systemic racism in all forms must be a priority for all of Canada — from our governments to our citizens.
  • Call #3: End antisemitic hate. We must all speak out and take action against antisemitism in any form. Antisemitic hate remains the highest religious-motivated crimes reported to Canadian police.
  • Call #4: End anti-Muslim hate. We must all stand up to this hatred and to the people who spread it. Anti-Muslim hate has no place in Canada. Governments must take action and we must ALL call out anti-Muslim hate and shut it down.
  • Call #5: End anti-trans hate. We must act to end the violence and hatred that intersex, trans and gender diverse people face every day.

Calls for reconciliation and decolonization

Video: Calls for reconciliation and decolonization

  • Call #6: Investigate Indian Residential School grounds. Canada must implement the TRC's Calls to Action on missing children and unmarked burials, and fully support the mandate of the Independent Special Interlocutor.
  • Call #7: Improve housing conditions in Indigenous communities. Governments must take all necessary steps to ensure that services in Indigenous communities – including housing – are equitable, adequate and appropriate. This must include respecting the right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination.
  • Call #8: Address over-representation of Indigenous people in prisons. Canada must work with Indigenous leaders to develop a comprehensive and holistic criminal justice strategy to address over-policing and over-incarceration of Indigenous people in prisons.
  • Call #9: Implement MMIWG Calls for Justice. Canada must work to fully implement the 231 Calls for Justice in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • Call #10: Improve employment equity for Indigenous peoples. Canadian employers must all work to end systemic exclusion and systemic barriers preventing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples from meaningful employment, hiring and retention.

Calls to protect economic, social and cultural rights

Video: Calls to protect economic, social and cultural rights

  • Call #11: Protect Indigenous languages and identities.Canada must adequately fund and support the work of the first Commissioner of Indigenous Languages in protecting and revitalizing Indigenous languages.
  • Call #12: Provide adequate housing for all.Governments at all levels must recognize their responsibilities and use all appropriate means and the maximum of available resources to achieve the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing for all.
  • Call #13: Protect the socioeconomic rights of people in Canada of African descent.Canada must protect the socioeconomic rights of people in Canada of African descent and continue the momentum of the UN Decade of Persons of African Descent.
  • Call #14: End child poverty.It is imperative that Canada’s new federal government initiatives on housing and poverty work to address the human rights of children living in poverty.
  • Call #15: Modernize the Employment Equity Act.The federal Task Force must embed bold and progressive changes to the law that can both redress historical harms and inequities in Canada, and lead the world with an invigorated view of inclusion.

Calls to eliminate gender discrimination in Canada

  • Call #16: End violence against Indigenous women and girls.Canada must do more to protect Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The timely and meaningful implementation of the MMIWG National Action Plan must be a national priority. This process must fully reflect the priorities and realities of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
  • Call #17: Close the gender wage gap in Canada.We all must work to close the gender wage gap to create work environments where all employees are valued and engaged, and to contribute to our country’s economic and social recovery.
  • Call #18: Remove barriers to employment for trans and non-binary people.Canadian employers must take steps to eliminate barriers to employment for trans and non-binary employees in Canada, and to fully respect gender diversity in the workplace.
  • Call #19: Protect caregiving rights.Canadian employers must support employees to fulfil both their family caregiving and work responsibilities, by putting in place policies and practices for caregiving leave, remote and flexible work, and other measures that recognize and respect the human right of employees to be accommodated.
  • Call #20: Investigate sexual coercion and violence against federal prisoners.Public Safety Canada and the Correctional Service of Canada must continue work to fulfill the government’s commitment to study and address the problem of sexual coercion and violence against women and non-binary people in Canada’s federal prisons.

Calls to protect the rights of people with disabilities

Video: The rights of people with disabilities

  • Call #21: Improve the right to meaningful work for people with disabilities.Canada must ensure that all workplaces are inclusive and accessible so that people with disabilities can fully participate and succeed.
  • Call #22: End disproportionate poverty among people with disabilities.Canada must eliminate the disproportionate levels of poverty faced by people with disabilities.
  • Call #23: Ensure that institutionalization is not the only housing option for people with disabilities.We must put an end to people with disabilities being forced to live in long-term care facilities due to a lack of adequate community-based supports.
  • Call #24: Realize the human right to accessibility for all.Everyone in Canada must work to eliminate barriers that prevent people from full participation and inclusion in society.
  • Call #25: Improve access to justice for people with disabilities.Canada must work with the provinces and territories to ensure people with disabilities are supported in making their own decisions instead of allowing others to make decisions for them.

Calls to protect the rights of those deprived of their liberty

  • Call 26: Improve mental health care for federal prisoners.The CSC must ensure that its staff and facilities are equipped to meet the varied and complex needs of prisoners with mental health disabilities.
  • Call 27: End the use of solitary confinement for prisoners with mental health disabilities.The CSC must ensure that it has appropriate therapeutic alternatives to solitary confinement when it is required to separate prisoners with mental health disabilities from the general population.
  • Call 28: Stop detaining migrants when other alternatives exist.Canada must end the practice of indefinite immigration detention immediately and ensure that the detention of migrants is used only as a last resort.
  • Call 29: Protect the human rights of trans and gender diverse prisoners.The CSC must ensure that its policies and its practices fully respect the rights and meet the needs of trans, non-binary and gender-diverse prisoners, including with respect to transfer requests.
  • Call 30: Protect the rights of aging and dying prisoners.Canada must review and implement the joint recommendations put forward by the CHRC and the OCI in their joint investigative report, “Aging and Dying in Prison: An Investigation into the Experiences of Older Individuals in Federal Custody.”

Calls to protect the rights of children

  • Call #31: Improve life for Indigenous children and their families.Canada must ensure that federally-funded services for Indigenous children and their families are equitable, culturally appropriate, and adequately meet their needs and culturally appropriate.
  • Call #32: Address systemic racism against children in Canada.Canada must address the barriers to equality racialized children face in Canada, particular in education and child welfare.
  • Call #33: Address Indigenous youth suicide.Canada must address Indigenous youth suicide by collaborating with Indigenous leaders and communities on a strategy to ensure that culturally-appropriate mental health services are available to First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth.
  • Call #34: Remove barriers to education for children with disabilities.Canada must address systemic social and institutional barriers to education for children and youth in Canada with physical and mental health disabilities.
  • Call 35: Protect human rights of intersex children and youth.Canada must take steps to protect intersex children and youth from unnecessary and non-consensual cosmetic surgeries including removing the exemption in the Criminal Code of Canada that allows such surgeries.

Calls to deliver on sustainable development goals

Video: Calls to deliver on sustainable development goals

  • Call 36: Use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to push human rights forward.We encourage Canada to use the SDGs to make measurable progress in realizing Canada’s human rights obligations.
  • Call 37: Study and address environmental racism.Canada must address environmental racism experienced by those in marginalized communities. We encourage Parliament to study the links between race, socio-economic status and environmental risk. Canada must protect and fulfill the rights of all Canadians to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
  • Call 38: Deliver clean water to all Indigenous communities.Canada must end the inequitable funding to Indigenous communities and ensure all Indigenous communities have access to clean drinking water.
  • Call 39: Improve the environmental rights of children in Canada.Canada must take action to address the immediate risks and environmental well-being of children and youth in Canada, particularly in relation to children in marginalized communities.
  • Call 40: Ensure the independence of human rights institutions.Canada’s human rights institutions at all levels must be able to operate under and adhere to the Paris Principles, including maintaining their independence.
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