2020-21 Departmental Results Report

Publication Type
Informing Parliament
Subject Matter
Accountability

Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


ISSN: 2561-1240


Chief Commissioner's message

Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry,

The 2020–21 year was a challenging year for Canada, and a reckoning year for human rights and equality in our country. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic raised renewed concerns about the inequalities and disparities in Canadian society. While immediately recognized as a public health crisis, the ripples of the pandemic's effects on social, economic and determiners of equality revealed the pandemic to also be a human rights crisis experienced by many in Canada.

Within just one unprecedented year, COVID-19 has highlighted long-standing, pre-existing inequalities across our country. It has disproportionately affected the people in our communities who were already living in vulnerable circumstances before the crisis hit. Single parents, people living in low-income, frontline workers, service industry workers, racialized women, and people with disabilities, are just some of the many groups of people in Canada who have been hit the hardest. The pandemic has brought social and racial injustice to the forefront of the public discussion.

This was also an unprecedented year for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. We adapted quickly so that people continued to have access to justice. We moved all aspects of the complaints online — from conducting mediations online to attending virtual Tribunal hearings.

We also continued work towards the implementation of three new pieces of human rights legislation: the Accessible Canada Act, the Pay Equity Act, and the National Housing Strategy Act. We prepared for the appointment of the Federal Housing Advocate, and the coming into force of the Pay Equity Act. In addition, we created a Proactive Compliance Branch to ensure efficient and consistent service for organizations working to comply with proactive human rights laws.

In 2020–21 we also saw the collective call for action to confront and dismantle systemic racism in Canada. Events south of our border ignited a nationwide wake-up call about the systemic racism that exists within our own society. This has prompted organizations across the country to look inwards at their own anti-racism accountability and meaningful action. As we have often said, no one is immune to systemic racism. The Commission recommitted ourselves to the work we started years ago to examine our own processes and operations from an anti-racism perspective. We have taken a closer look at how racism or racial bias may influence our processes, our decisions, and the way we serve people in Canada. We have established several anti-racism platforms and initiatives in an effort to "walk the talk" of anti-racism efforts, both within and outside of our organization.

This past year has been a unique year for us all. We experienced dramatic changes in our work and in our personal lives, which were unanticipated and unimaginable a little more than a year ago. I would like to acknowledge the fortitude and dedication of every one of our staff members who were living through this COVID-19 crisis along with the rest of Canada.

I am grateful for their resourcefulness and determination in the fight for a better Canada. As we emerge from this crisis and continue to move towards building back better, we will remain committed and relentless in our pursuit of equality and inclusion of all in Canada.

 

Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E.
Chief Commissioner

 


Results at a glance

The Commission serves as a national voice for equality and for the promotion and protection of human rights in Canada. In 2020–21, the Commission continued to raise awareness of human rights issues that affect Canadians through our engagement and advocacy work. In the midst of the unprecedented sea change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we adapted quickly to the new landscape and went about organizing, hosting and participating in online conferences and online speaking engagements. Notably, the Chief Commissioner participated in the 2020 Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Human Rights Ministers where she highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on marginalized groups and the need for action to dismantle systemic racism in Canada. In addition, the Chief Commissioner participated in bilateral meetings with Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and Senators. Together as a Commission, we participated in a series of live, virtual discussions and speaking engagements with our fellow human rights partners and defenders both across Canada, and the world.

Each year, the Commission helps thousands of people address their human rights concerns or find information about their rights. In many cases, the Commission helps people resolve their issues quickly and informally, or find the appropriate process to resolve their issue. In 2020–21, the Commission continued to work on providing a simpler, more efficient, and user-friendly complaints process by moving to electronic complaints processing and maintaining services via various digital platforms during the COVID pandemic. We published service commitments for people who come to use our complaints process. In response to requests from stakeholders representing Indigenous, Black and other racialized people in Canada, the Commission began a pilot project to collect retroactive disaggregated race data of individuals who used our complaints process in 2019–20.

In 2020–21, the Commission continued to represent the public interest by participating in legal proceedings raising novel or systemic human rights issues. Most of our litigation and legal work related to complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act. However, we also intervened in other matters of importance. For example, the Commission sought and was granted leave to intervene in a Supreme Court of Canada case about the boundaries between labour arbitrators and human rights decision makers. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we adapted quickly to virtual legal proceedings, including arguing and settling cases before the Tribunal and Federal Courts through online mediations and online hearings.

The Commission works to prevent discrimination through our work in administering and enforcing the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Accessible Canada Act, the Employment Equity Act and the Pay Equity Act. Under our newly established Proactive Compliance Branch, we continued the work in 2020–21 to provide guidance and service to organizations required to comply with these laws. To promote compliance with the Employment Equity Act, we conducted an audit of the employment of persons with disabilities in the communications sector and helped identify systemic issues and barriers within this sector. We also launched an employment equity audit to look at the representation of racialized people in management and executive roles across the federal public service. In addition, we issued individual audit reports to participating employers, who in turn, developed Management Action Plans to address audit findings. Like other areas of our work, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted audit timelines and caused significant changes, disruptions, and uncertainties for two employers whose audits had to be put on hold. Consequently, the Commission was not able to complete those audits, as originally intended, by March 2021.

In preparation for the arrival of the Accessibility Commissioner and the full implementation of the Accessible Canada Act, we established an Accessibility Unit and developed promotional tools, such as an explainer video on the Accessible Canada Act and an entire new section of the Commission's online platform. We also developed a logic model, performance indicators, and a compliance enforcement framework to help us proactively identify, remove and prevent accessibility barriers in seven priority areas: employment, built environment, information and communication technologies, communication, transportation, design and delivery of programs/services, and procurement.

In support of our Pay Equity mandate and in preparation for the Pay Equity Act coming into full force, we conducted extensive consultations with unions, employers, women's organizations, and employer associations. The feedback we received during these meetings proved to be essential as we developed guidance and other tools for employers to help them develop their pay equity plans and meet their new pay equity obligations.

In anticipation of the appointment of the Federal Housing Advocate, we continued building relationships with national and international experts on the right to housing, with Indigenous organizations, and with people who have lived experience with homelessness and housing need. The Commission also worked with the National Housing Council, supported by Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, on identifying a shared vision and key priorities.

For more information on the Commission's plans, priorities and results achieved, see the "Results: what we achieved" section of this report.


Results: what we achieved

Core Responsibilities

Engagement and Advocacy

Description

Provide a national credible voice for equality in Canada by raising public awareness of human rights issues; engaging civil society, governments, employers and the public to affect human rights change and by monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Government of Canada's obligations under the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Results

As Canada's national human rights institution, the Commission is a trusted source of human rights expertise. Throughout 2020–21, the Commission continued our leadership role in helping to shape the human rights agenda in Canada by being proactive and vocal. More specifically, the Commission:

  • Raised awareness and understanding of the barriers to equality and access to justice faced by individuals in vulnerable circumstances through over 20 public statements on issues such as combating hate and intolerance, the human rights impacts of COVID-19, systemic racism in Canada, and Economic Social and Cultural rights.
  • Partnered with organizations on research projects to raise awareness and understanding of the barriers to equality and access to justice faced by trans, nonbinary and gender diverse individuals in Canada; and to publish a number of surveys and reports, including reports on trans and nonbinary immigrants, refugees, and newcomers, on racialized trans persons, and on Indigenous trans people.
  • Co-led the Confronting Racism and Addressing Human Rights in a Pandemic virtual conference, together with the Government of Canada's Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, engaging with over 3,500 people across Canada on how to dismantle systemic racism in Canada.
  • Developed a human rights guide for employers and employees on how to approach mental health in the workplace in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.
  • Appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on amendments to the Criminal Code pertaining to medical assistance in dying.
  • Worked with the Innu Nation on the "Follow‑Up Report on the Rights of the Innu of Labrador," which will raise awareness of the lack of substantive equality faced by the Innu people.

In 2020–21, the Commission continued to represent the public interest in cases before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and courts that addressed key human rights issues. For example, the Commission worked on Tribunal cases involving:

  • substantive equality in the delivery of services to First Nations peoples;
  • human rights in the federal correctional system (including the impact of solitary confinement on Indigenous and racialized inmates, women and transgender inmates, and inmates with mental health disabilities);
  • sexual harassment in the workplace;
  • the rights of estates of deceased victims of discrimination to continue complaints or receive remedies;
  • the accommodation of mental health and other disability-related needs; and
  • adverse differential treatment of racialized individuals in the delivery of public services, and in employment (including with respect to hiring and promotions).

The Commission also intervened in other important human rights cases, including before the Superior Court of Quebec Superior Court (religious rights), and the Supreme Court of Canada (jurisdiction of labour arbitrators and human rights bodies).

In relation to monitoring and reporting on Canada's implementation of its international human rights obligations, the Commission:

  • Provided a submission to and participated in the 87th pre-session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to reflect on the progress of children's rights in Canada and highlight the important gaps and challenges that remain.
  • Participated in various UN events and processes to advocate for good practices that can contribute to the realization of human rights, particularly disability rights, in Canada.
  • Provided a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to help inform their general comment on the right of persons with disabilities to work and employment.
  • Provided a statement to the Human Rights Council on the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Highlighted the importance of promoting inclusive environments for children with disabilities at the 13th session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

In our role as the body responsible for monitoring the Government of Canada's implementation of the CRPD, we undertook a public engagement process to seek input from people with disabilities and the organizations that advocate on their behalf on what areas should be our priority in this new role, and how they want to be involved in this part of our work. We carried out this public engagement in the spirit of the CRPD's core theme of "nothing without us." The public engagement consisted of two parts: an accessible online survey, developed with the support of an informal advisory body that gathered input from nearly 3,000 people with disabilities across Canada and organizations that advocate on their behalf; and three accessible online dialogue sessions to hear from those who did not have an opportunity to participate in the survey. The Commission published two accessible and bilingual infographics highlighting the preliminary survey results.

The Commission continued to build relationships with national and international opinion leaders on the right to housing. This included dialogue with Indigenous organizations, key federal departments, and people with lived experience with homelessness and housing need. The Commission developed an educational video about the Right to Housing in Canada and commissioned a number of research reports on the human right to adequate housing within the Canadian landscape, to identify pressing and emerging issues and trends. In addition, work began on how the Housing Advocate will receive submissions from people across Canada and the systemic housing issues they are facing. This work will help the Housing Advocate make recommendations and monitor the implementation of federal government's housing policies and programs, as well as promote the key principles of a human rights-based approach to housing.

Gender-based analysis plus

The Commission is required to collect disaggregated data based on the legislative need to examine systemic housing issues and the progressive realization of the right to housing in Canada. More specifically, the National Housing Strategy identifies a need to look at the housing needs of equity seeking populations such as: women and children fleeing violence, gender diverse peoples, racialized people, newcomers, seniors, veterans, and people with mental health issues and addictions. Housing submissions will be accepted from the public and identity characteristics will be collected to better understand the housing issues facing equity seeking groups and Canadians more generally. Additionally, the Commission commissioned a research report on the Implementation of the Right to Housing for Women, Girls, and Gender Diverse People in Canada.

Experimentation

In light of travel restrictions and restrictions on the size of gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission shifted gears in terms of how it engages with stakeholders. The Commission increased our use of technology, hosted and participated in engagement sessions and meetings virtually, and used social media platforms to conduct environmental scans and identify prospective engagement opportunities.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The Commission continues to contribute to the achievement on SDG Target 16, and specifically target 16.A on ensuring the existence of independent national human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles. The Commission has been accredited with A-status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions — denoting full Paris Principles compliance — since 1999. It is anticipated that the Commission will next be reviewed in 2022.

Risks

The Commission identified the potential risk of unanticipated and pressing human rights matters diverting attention from the Commission's priorities. The mitigation strategies identified to address that risk partially helped to mitigate some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission also identified as a risk that the scope of the Housing Advocate's mandate may not be well understood. It planned to mitigate this risk by having the Housing Advocate engage with key stakeholders. However, the Housing Advocate was not appointed in 2020–21 (an unidentified risk.) Nevertheless, the Commission worked with key stakeholders to build awareness of the mandate.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19
Actual results
2019–20 Actual results 2020–21
Actual results
Full compliance with the Paris Principles Maintain A-status accreditation as Canada's national human rights institution A-status March 31, 2021 Yes Yes Yes
People in Canada are informed of their human rights and responsibilities # of Canadians who have been informed about the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Pay Equity Act, and the Accessible Canada Act 1.2 million March 31, 2021 1.8 million 1.82 million 2.4 million
CHRC interventions and decisions influence law and support the advancement of human rights, employment equity, pay equity and accessibility Judicial success rate 70% March 31, 2021 92% 77% 92%
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2020–21
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2020–21
Difference
(Actual spending minus Planned spending)
6,842,569 7,032,255 6,273,503 4,515,623 (2,516,632)
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21
Actual full-time equivalents
2020–21
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
38 29 (9)

Complaints

Description

Provide people in Canada with a mechanism to file and resolve complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act, Pay Equity Act, and Accessible Canada Act and to represent the public interest in achieving equality in Canada.

Results

Each year, the Commission helps thousands of people address their human rights concerns or find information about their rights. In 2020–21, the Commission continued to work on providing a simpler, more efficient, and user-friendly complaints process by improving our electronic complaints processing and continuing to pilot new approaches to our complaints process. We established service standards for each stage of the complaint process and published them on the Commission's website so that complainants and respondents can have a better sense of what to expect throughout the complaints process.

In 2020–21, the Commission was able to help people find the answers or solutions to 6,446 complaints-related inquiries without them filing a formal discrimination complaint. This marks a 48% increase in the number of inquiries compared to 4,347 in 2019–20. This spike was largely due to a group of almost 3,000 related inquiries which were not within the jurisdiction of the Commission. Overall, it took an average of 58 days for the Commission to process and analyse an inquiry from the date of first contact to the notification of an accepted complaint to the respondent in 2020–21. This represents an improvement in processing time over the previous year.

Of the more than 6,000 inquiries received, the Commission identified 988 inquiries that required a formal discrimination complaint to address the human rights issue. This is a 19% decrease relative to 2019–20 (1,210).

In the same reporting period, the Commission brought 748 complaints to a conclusion. Of these:

  • 35% (262) were settled at various stages (this includes mediation, conciliation, and pre-Tribunal settlements);
  • 37% (273) were preliminary decisions (which includes referring complaints to a more appropriate forum, determining a complaint is beyond our jurisdiction or beyond the statutory limitations of the Canadian Human Rights Act, or determining that a complaint has been addressed through another process or has no link to a discriminatory ground or practice);
  • 21% (155) complaints were referred to Tribunal; and
  • 7% (55) were dismissed.

On average, our processing time for a complaint was 16 months, beginning at the moment the parties were notified of a complaint to the point at which a report of final decision was submitted by the Commission. As we continue to undergo efforts to improve the complaints process, our "in/out ratio" for this year was 1:0.59. This means that for every 10 complaints accepted, 6 were completed in the same fiscal year.

The Commission transitioned to electronic communication of complaint related correspondence, from the notification of the complaint, to the request for submissions, and all the way through to Commission decisions, reducing processing times for the Commission and the parties.

The Commission also developed and published two new operational policies designed to improve the experience for complainants:

  • Accommodation in the Complaint Process, which outlines the process for participants to request accommodation based on individual needs; and
  • Right to Respect: Expectations in the Complaint Process, which establishes Commission expectations regarding respectful behaviour for both Commission employees and participants in the complaints process.

In recent years, the Commission has undergone a comprehensive review of our complaint screening tools in order to ensure the effective screening of race-based complaints. These and other ongoing efforts to address the possible impacts of systemic racism across our various roles, were set out in our Draft Anti-Racism Action Plan [PDF-394KB], which was published on our website in the winter of 2020, and is available on the Commission's website. As part of our anti-racism efforts in regards to our complaints process, we published new criteria and guidance in the report entitled, "Strengthening the Commission's handling of Race-based Cases." In addition, Human Rights Officers received extensive training on the new tools aimed at enhancing our capacity to assess race-based complaints.

In March 2020, Commission staff participated in a dialogue session about our complaints process with representatives of racialized groups from central and eastern Canada. The final report, "Canadian Human Rights Commission Dialogue Session with Racialized Communities on Advancing Racial Equality in Canada" [PDF-3.04MB], can be found on our website. Throughout the dialogue session, the need for disaggregated race-based data of people who file complaints was identified as a key priority for the Commission's work in identifying barriers and improving our complaints process. Accordingly, we began the work to integrate the collection of race-based data of new complaints into a permanent data-collection strategy. In addition, we initiated a project to retroactively collect disaggregated demographic data from people who filed complaints on the grounds of race, colour, and/or national or ethnic origin between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

Experimentation

The Commission initiated a pilot project designed to expedite decision-making for complaints where a decision is required under certain sub-sections of section 41 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Commission members render decisions based on material directly submitted by the parties, alleviating the staff time required to review materials, to summarize the relevant information, to draft a full assessment report, and to disclose it to parties. Over 100 files were processed through this new approach and 80 Commission decisions rendered. Preliminary findings suggest a 63% decrease in processing time, a saving of almost 5 months relative to a conventional assessment of preliminary objections.

Risk

While the pilot project process did result in faster processing, the ratio of complaints received and complaints completed decreased from 0.81 last year to 0.69. This was as a result of unavoidable processing delays, as we adjusted to pandemic work restrictions to move to remote work. However, the Commission continued to innovate, and productivity increased throughout the year to our pre-COVID levels, as we modified our approaches to handling complaints remotely.

Retaining staff was also identified as a risk. A staffing strategy was developed and a significant amount of staffing occurred over the fiscal year. However, this was offset by staff departures, meaning that this risk is likely to continue. The Commission continues to explore different recruitment and staffing opportunities to mitigate this risk.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19
Actual results
2019–20 Actual results 2020–21
Actual results
People in Canada have access to a complaint system for human rights, pay equity and accessibility complaints % of complaints concluded by the Commission 90% March 31, 2021 94% 96% 88%
Complaints are resolved consistent with private/public interest Mediation settlement rate 55% March 31, 2021 59% 64% 64%
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2020–21
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2020–21
Difference
(Actual spending minus Planned spending)
10,991,787 11,495,921 12,262,261 11,855,773 359,852
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21
Actual full-time equivalents
2020–21
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
85 89 4

Proactive Compliance

Description

Ensure federally regulated organizations comply with the requirements set out in the Employment Equity Act, Pay Equity Act, and the Accessible Canada Act and hold those who do not comply accountable.

Results

The Commission conducted an audit of the employment of persons with disabilities in the communications sector that helped identify systemic issues and barriers to equality within this sector. The Commission issued individual audit reports to participating employers, who in turn, developed Management Action Plans to address audit findings and set out actions to ensure compliance with the Employment Equity Act. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted audit timelines and caused major changes, disruptions, and uncertainties for two employers whose audits had to be put on hold. Consequently, the Commission was not able to complete the audit by March 2021.

The Commission also launched a horizontal audit looking at the employment of racialized people in management and executive positions in the public service in July 2020. The first of its kind, the audit will identify key employment gaps as well as barriers to the recruitment, promotion and retention of racialized employees in management and executive positions. Forty-seven departments and agencies with more than 500 employees received an employment equity survey to complete. In November 2020, 18 federal organizations were selected and notified of the audit. The Commission analysed the selected employers' submission indexes and prepared for interviews for the next phase of the audit process, which will be conducted in the 2021–22.

The Commission did not launch any new conventional audits given the COVID-19 situation. Instead, we focussed our efforts on closing existing conventional audits with employers. The pandemic's impact on employers and the disruption of their workforces resulted in delays in their ability to respond to the audit. However, a blitz audit approach to private sector employers was developed. This risk-based approach will focus both on employers with less than 300 employees and on two of the nine employment equity requirements: collection of workforce information; and workforce analysis. The Commission identified employers in preparation for the launch of this audit in 2021–22.

In addition, the Commission completed our three-year forward plan for employment equity audits (2021–22 to 2023–24). It will guide the Commission's future work with federally regulated employers to ensure compliance with the Employment Equity Act.

The Commission did not test the feasibility of having scorecards on equality in the workplace for all designated groups in the federally regulated sector across Canada, as the scorecard project was deemed no longer viable or necessary to address during the pandemic.

Adoption of the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) – In 2020–21, the Commission prepared for the arrival of the Accessibility Commissioner. To build capacity in support of the launch of the regulations and this arrival, the Commission developed a recruitment strategy and a staffing plan. The recruitment strategy included an analysis of the required competencies and classification of inspectors, a welcoming package for new staff and a learning architecture for inspectors. Key positions were staffed, and preparations were put in place for future staffing actions.

In June 2020, we conducted a survey asking people to weigh in on our new role as the body responsible for monitoring Canada's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We developed a survey to ask key audiences across Canada where how we should focus our work under this new responsibility.  We asked regulated entities, people with disabilities or organizations representing people with disabilities how they want to be involved in this work and what is most important in our path forward as Canada's National Monitoring Mechanism. A final report of the findings of the survey will be released later in 2021.

To inform and educate the public about the new ACA, we developed promotional tools, such as a two-minute explainer video for the broader public, a longer video that delves deeper in the legislation, and we launched a new section of our web platform devoted solely to ACA information and services.

The Commission also developed separate tools to support employers and service providers in their proactive compliance of the ACA. These included logic models and performance indicators, as well as an orientation module on Administrative Monetary Penalties. Work is underway to design and develop a Compliance and Enforcement Framework.

The Commission worked with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) on an Inter-Departmental Committee on Guidance in order to provide guidance to stakeholders on ACA regulatory requirements, with a focus on Part 4 of the Act (Duties of Regulated Entities). In addition, we worked closely with ESDC to provide guidance and feedback on the drafting instructions for the accessibility regulations, which is led by ESDC. Finally, a Memorandum of Understanding with Community of Regulators is in place to support the development of frameworks, policies and tools related to standards and regulations.

As the Chair of the Council of Federal Accessibility Agencies (CFAA), the Commission led the work done by the No Wrong Door Working Group. We hosted the CFAA's meetings that were held in April and September 2020, and in February 2021, to advance the commitment to create a complaints process that is easy to navigate. We worked to develop a process for transferring complaints and to organize the CFAA's engagement with stakeholders and rights holders that will be held in the spring of 2021. In addition, we launched a Proactive Compliance Working Group under the CFAA. The working group will focus on developing guidance and tools in support of alignment on Part 5 (Administration and Enforcement) of the ACA.

Preparing for Pay Equity Act's coming into force – The Commission conducted extensive consultations with unions, employers, women's organizations, and employer associations to develop targeted and useful tools that regulated entities can use in developing their pay equity plans. In total, 69 events took place over the last year, an increase of 146% in comparison to last year's outreach events.

In response to the needs identified during these meetings, the Commission began the development of educational materials, guidance documents and the Pay Equity software and toolkit, to support workplaces in their pay equity journeys.

The Commission designed an education strategy designed around a user-centric approach and co-development of tools. As of March 31, 2021, tools, such as interpretation and guidance, short explainers, and fact sheets, had been co-developed with employers, unions, and stakeholders through the Tripartite Working Group and the Technical Advisory Group.

The Commission continued to develop a program framework, policy, and processes for Pay Equity. We participated in the consultation on the proposed Pay Equity Regulations led by the Labour Program in the Winter 2021. The Commission also completed foundational documents, such as a compliance framework, a delegation instrument, two logic models, and process maps as well as templates and forms.

The Commission developed the vision and system requirements for an online dispute resolution platform for Pay Equity. The platform will include a full range of online dispute resolution services and information needed by employees, unions and employers to support their efforts in complying with the Act.

Finally, in support of a knowledge base to advance pay equity and more generally, gender equality in Canada, the Commission developed a fact sheet on considerations for the non-binary collection of data when implementing a binary type of legislation.

Gender-based analysis plus

The nature of the work done on Accessibility and Pay Equity puts the Commission in a unique position relative to GBA+ issues. GBA+ issues are an integral part of how we operate and they are central to our core mandate. Most of our employees already have significant expertise in accessibility which by nature is to build things in an inclusive manner with Universal design principles in mind. This includes spaces, policies, communication, events, etc. so we are uniquely positioned to bring an intersectional lens to our work. During our engagements this year, the Commission worked with partners to identify new organizations that focus on GBA+ to engage, that may not have traditionally been consulted to ensure a wider range of opinions to inform our work.

The Commission was particularly concerned about how it would address pay equity for the most vulnerable women (such as Indigenous women, racialized women, women with disabilities) and if there were any GBA+ considerations for the implementation of pay equity. Canadian women still earn, on average, only 87 cents for every dollar a man earns. Racialized, Indigenous, disabled and other women with intersecting identities often earn even less.  The proactive pay equity regime is likely to benefit women with intersecting identities, such as newcomer women, racialized women, Indigenous women and women with disabilities. Research indicates that women with intersecting identities face larger wage gaps due to, for example, part-time employment, precarious work, occupational segregation, social norms, stereotypes and unconscious bias. As part of our engagement strategy, the Commission is connecting with diverse women to better understand how intersectional factors affect their economic outcomes.

Risk

The risk that some employers would not support horizontal audits did not materialize mainly because the horizontal approach addresses longstanding needs expressed by employers and other stakeholders. We were also able to develop strong messaging on the benefits of a sector-wide approach. The publishing of a sector-wide report related to the horizontal audit approach also assisted in highlighting the value added of this approach.

The risk of a lack of cooperation between the multiple bodies responsible for ensuring compliance with the Accessible Canada Act did not materialize. The Chief Commissioner supported by the Accessibility Unit chaired the Council of Federal Accessibility Agencies and developed strong relationships with ESDC and Accessibility Standards Canada. These partnerships ensure a collaborative implementation of the ACA and ensure disability stakeholders are not negatively impacted by a sectoral approach.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the compliance sectors of the Commission adapted rapidly their practices to this new reality and started to use Zoom and Teams platforms. The engagement strategy with all compliance advisory groups was realigned to further use these platforms with a goal to facilitate exchanges and feedback. This allowed for a more targeted approach and supported in an efficient way the co-design of tools.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19
Actual results
2019–20 Actual results 2020–21
Actual results
Federally regulated organizations meet their employment equity, pay equity and accessibility obligations % of management action plans completed by federally regulated organizations within the negotiated timeframe 50% March 31, 2021 Not available Not available Not available
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2020–21
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2020–21
Difference
(Actual spending minus Planned spending)
5,237,731 5,296,249 6,403,000 4,425,403 (870,846)
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21
Actual full-time equivalents
2020–21
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
36 32 (4)

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Commission's Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:

  • Acquisition Management Services
  • Communications Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Legal Services
  • Materiel Management Services
  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Real Property Management Services

Results

The recent expansion of our mandate by the passing of three new pieces of human rights legislation continued to put pressure on all internal services. In order to meet key milestones for the new mandates, as well as keep the momentum on other human rights priorities, we had to adjust our workplans and priorities.

Added to all this, like all organizations across Canada, the Commission had to adapt quickly to a new reality of a global pandemic and the new safety measures it demanded. It was a challenging year, with uncertainty and added stress placed upon our staff. Yet at the same time, the pandemic provided the Commission with an opportunity to take steps to modernize our workplace and improve the organization's readiness to move to the GoC workplace accommodation standard. For example, the Commission invested resources to improve our IT infrastructure, specifically our remote connectivity for employees. The Commission also quickly transitioned from primarily paper-based processes to digital processes. This occurred across the organization, in all program areas, and included adopting digital signatures and digitization of business processes. As a result of this, and the paradigm shift that took place across the public service this past year in terms of a greater acceptance of telework, the Commission is now integrating telework into our long-term workplace accommodation plans.

Telework aside, the Commission continued to lay the groundwork towards making our workplace fully accessible in other areas as well. During 2020–21, the Commission completed a number of accessibility assessments to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, including an Employment Equity Audit.

The Commission continued to develop a new Case Management System, in particular its legal case module; testing by the business owner was underway at year end. This work will continue and be expanded to other business processes over the coming year.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2020–21
Actual spending
(authorities used)
2020–21
Difference
(Actual spending minus Planned spending)
9,425,185 9,779,847 10,409,633 10,202,360 422,513
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21
Actual full-time equivalents
2020–21
Difference
(Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
97Footnote 1 92Footnote 2 (5)

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Commission's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.


Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Actual expenditures

The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory spending) over time.

Departmental spending trend graph
Departmental spending trend graph - a text version follows
Departmental spending trend graph - Text version
In $ Thousands
  2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Statutory 2,437 2,740 3,369 3,854 4,109 4,082
Voted 20,276 22,302 27,630 34,960 33,636 31,104
Total 22,713 25,042 30,999 38,814 37,745 35,186

The increase starting in 2019-2020 and continuing until 2021-22 is mainly due to an increase in funding for three new programs: Accessible Canada Act, Pay Equity Act and the National Housing Strategy. Starting in 2022-23, funding decreases again in line with decreases in National Housing Strategy funding.

Budgetary performance summary for Core Responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020–21
Main Estimates
2020–21
Planned spending
2021–22
Planned spending
2022–23
Planned spending
2020–21
Total authorities available for use
2018–19
Actual spending (authorities used)
2019–20
Actual spending (authorities used)
2020–21
Actual spending (authorities used)
Engagement and advocacy 6,842,569 7,032,255 7,031,112 6,511,833 6,273,503 3,891,880 3,954,622 4,515,623
Complaints 10,991,787 11,495,921 11,766,063 10,998,686 12,262,261 10,343,569 10,549,682 11,855,773
Employment Equity Audits - - - - - 1,200,628 2,180,247 -
Proactive Compliance 5,237,731 5,296,249 7,718,507 9,076,676 6,403,000 - - 4,425,403
Subtotal 23,072,087 23,824,425 26,515,682 26,587,195 24,938,764 15,436,077 16,684,551 20,796,799
Internal Services 9,425,185 9,779,847 12,298,499 11,157,841 10,409,633 7,276,769 8,357,262 10,202,360
Total 32,497,272 33,604,272 38,814,181 37,745,036 35,348,397 22,712,846 25,041,813 30,999,159

The actual spending of $31 million in 2020-21 increased by $6 million compared to actual spending of $25 million in 2019-20. The increase is attributable to spending related to additional authorities received for 2020-21 to conduct three new mandates in support of the Pay Equity Act, the Accessible Canada Act and the National Housing Strategy Act as well as to modernize the Commission's case management system.

The increase in planned spending for 2021-22 and 2022-23 is attributable to additional funding received in support of the Pay Equity Act and the Accessible Canada Act.

2020–21 Budgetary actual gross spending summary (dollars)
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2020–21
Actual gross spending
2020–21
Actual revenues netted against expenditures
2020–21
Actual net spending (authorities used)
Engagement and advocacy 4,515,623 - 4,515,623
Complaints 11,855,773 - 11,855,773
Proactive Compliance 4,425,403 - 4,425,403
Subtotal 20,796,799 - 20,796,799
Internal Services 11,838,311 1,635,951 10,202,360
Total 32,635,110 1,635,951 30,999,159

The Commission provides internal support services to certain other small government departments and agencies such as finance, human resources, acquisition and information technology services. These internal support services agreements are recorded as revenues as per section 29.2 of the Financial Administration Act.

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for Core Responsibilities and Internal Services (full-time equivalents)
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2018–19 Actual full-time equivalents 2019–20 Actual full-time equivalents 2020–21
Planned full-time equivalents
2020–21 Actual full-time equivalents 2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents 2022–23 Planned full-time equivalents
Engagement and advocacy 24 25 38 29 35 38
Complaints 86 86 85 89 89 89
Employment Equity Audits 9 16 - - - -
Proactive Compliance - - 36 32 51 74
Subtotal 119 127 159 150 175 201
Internal Services 82Footnote 3 80Footnote 4 97Footnote 5 92Footnote 6 95Footnote 7 95Footnote 8
Total 201 207 256 242 270 296

The number of FTEs has remained consistent until fiscal year 2020-21. Staffing is anticipated to progressively increase over the next three fiscal years as a result of funding received for three new programs: Accessible Canada Act, Pay Equity Act, and the National Housing Strategy. The number of FTEs is anticipated to decrease in 2023-24 as a result of the reduction in funding for the National Housing Strategy.

Expenditures by vote

For information on the Commission's, organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2020–21.

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of the Commission's spending with the Government of Canada's spending and activities is available in the GC InfoBase.

Financial statements and financial statements highlights

Financial statements

The Commission's financial statements (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2021, are available on the Commission's website.

Financial statements highlights

Condensed Statement of Operations (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2021 (dollars)
Financial information 2020–21
Planned results
2020–21
Actual results
2019–20
Actual results
Difference (2020–21 Actual results minus
2020–21 Planned results)
Difference (2020–21 Actual results minus
2019–20 Actual results)
Total expenses 39,467,454 37,768,161 31,282,743 (1,699,294) 6,485,417
Total revenues 1,800,000 1,635,951 1,488,208 (164,049) 147,743
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 37,667,454 36,132,210 29,794,535 (1,535,245) 6,337,674

The Commission's total expenses of $37.8 million in 2020-21 consists of program expenses for the Commission as well as expenses for providing internal support services to other small government departments and agencies. The Commission's revenues of $1.6 million in 2020-21 resulted from respendable revenues for providing these internal support services related to finance, human resources, acquisition, administration and information technology services.

The increase of $6.3 million in the net cost of operations before government funding and transfers in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20 is mainly attributable to an increase of $6.5 million in total expenses as a result of increased funding received for the three new mandates under the Pay Equity Act, the Accessible Canada Act, and the National Housing Strategy Act and to modernize the Commission's Case Management System. This increase is largely explained through an increase in salaries and employee benefits expenses to deliver these new mandates and to develop the Case Management System.

The decrease of $1.5 million between the 2020-21 actual and planned net cost of operations before government funding and transfers is a result of less than anticipated spending under the Housing mandate as a result of delays in the appointment of the Federal Housing Advocate.

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited) as of March 31, 2021 (dollars)
Financial information 2020–21 2019–20 Difference
(2020–21 minus
2019–20)
Total net liabilities 6,324,894 5,747,964 576,930
Total net financial assets 3,700,077 3,840,000 (139,923)
Departmental net debt 2,624,817 1,907,964 716,853
Total non–financial assets 1,481,530 1,336,225 145,305
Departmental net financial position (1,143,287) (571,739) (571,548)

Total liabilities of $6.3 million consists of accounts payable and accrued liabilities and employee-related liabilities. The increase of $577 thousand is mainly attributable to an increase in the liability for vacation pay and compensatory leaves due to the continuation of carry forward leave policies instated at the government-wide level as a result of pay system issues.

The total financial assets of $3.7 million consists of amounts due from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which represents amounts that may be disbursed without further charges to the Commission's authorities, and accounts receivable. The decrease of $140 thousand is a result of timing differences in an annually performed salary recovery and various other insignificant adjustments in the accounts comprising financial assets.

The total non-financial assets of $1.5 million consists primarily of tangible capital assets. The increase of $145 thousand is mainly attributable to the acquisition of additional informatics software for the Case Management System offset by annual depreciation costs.


Corporate Information

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister: The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P.

Institutional head: Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E.

Ministerial portfolio: Justice

Enabling instrument: Canadian Human Rights Act, Employment Equity Act, Accessible Canada Act and Pay Equity Act.

Year of incorporation / commencement: 1977

Raison d'être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

"Raison d'être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do" is available on the Commission's website.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on the Commission's website.

Reporting Framework

The Canadian Human Rights Commission's Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory of record for 2020–21 are shown below.

Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory
Framework and Program Inventory - a text version follows
Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory - Text version
Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory
Program Inventory Internal Services
Promotion Program Engagement and Advocacy
  • Full compliance with the Paris Principles
  • Maintain A-status accreditation as Canada's national human rights institution
  • People in Canada are informed of their human rights and responsibilities
  • Number of Canadians who have been informed about the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Pay Equity Act, and the Accessible Canada Act
  • CHRC interventions and decisions influence law and support the advancement of human rights employment equity, pay equity and accessibility
  • Judicial review success rate
Protection Program Complaints
  • People in Canada have access to a human rights complaint system
  • Percentage of complaints concluded by the Commission
  • Complaints are resolved consistent with private and publlic interest
  • Mediation settlement rate
Audit Program Proactive Compliance
  • Federally regulated organizations meet their employment equity, pay equity and accessibility obligations
  • Percentage of management action plans completed by federally regulated organizations within the negociated timeframe

Supporting information on the Program Inventory

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Commission's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.


Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on the Commission's website:


Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related to federal spending programs as well as evaluations and GBA+ of tax expenditures.


Organizational contact information

Canadian Human Rights Commission
344 Slater Street, 8th Floor 
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1E1
Telephone: 613– 995–1151
Toll Free: 1–888–214–1090
TTY: 1–800–465–7735
Fax: 613–996–9661
https://www.chrc–ccdp.gc.ca
Twitter: @CdnHumanRights
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CanadianHumanRightsCommission


Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)
Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)
Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.
core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)
An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.
Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)
A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3‑year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.
departmental priority (priorité)
A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.
departmental result (résultat ministériel)
A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments' immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.
departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)
A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.
departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)
A framework that connects the department's core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.
Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
A report on a department's actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
experimentation (expérimentation)
The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.
full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)
A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full‑time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person's collective agreement.
gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS+])
An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
For the purpose of the 2019–20 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government's agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.
horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)
An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.
non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)
Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.
performance (rendement)
What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compared to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.
performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)
A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.
performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision-making, accountability and transparency.
plan (plan)
The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.
planned spending (dépenses prévues)
For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates. A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.
program (programme)
Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.
program inventory (répertoire des programmes)
Identifies all the department's programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department's core responsibilities and results.
result (résultat)
A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization's influence.
statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)
Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.
target (cible)
A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.
voted expenditures (dépenses votées)
Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.

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