Anti-Racism Action Plan

Publication Type
Anti-racism work
Subject Matter
Human Rights


This updated version of the Canadian Human Rights Commission's (the Commission) Anti-Racism Action Plan incorporates feedback from employees, unions and consultants. It represents the Commission's commitment to anti-racist action, both within and outside of the organization. We thank all those who provided thoughtful feedback into the first draft of this plan. We took great effort to incorporate as many suggestions as possible.

The work to implement the commitments outlined in the Plan is well underway. In some cases, the work has been completed. A detailed progress report is available on the Anti-Racism work section of the Commission's website.

As Canada's human rights watchdog and national human rights institution, the Commission is dedicated to meeting the highest standards of equality, non-discrimination, inclusion, dignity and respect within an anti-racist context.

Over the last few years, we have undertaken an organization-wide evaluation of our structure and our processes. This Action Plan is the result of an ongoing commitment by the Chief Commissioner, our commissioners, our leadership team and all our staff to "walk the talk" of addressing the effects of societal systemic racism and discrimination across our three roles: employer, service provider and regulator, and human rights advocate. The key to the success of this work is that it be never-ending. It must be continuous, it must be evergreen, and it must be sustainable. Together, each Director General will oversee the implementation of this plan, led by our anti-racism co-champions: the Executive Director and Chief Commissioner.

In this updated version of our Action Plan, we have reorganized our commitments and actions according to our three unique and interconnected roles.

As an employer, we are committed to creating an open, healthy, safe and inclusive workplace that has at its core the principles of anti-racism and equity. We value and respect the diversity of our commissioners, leadership and staff. We are mindful of the various historic and structural inequities that have created societal barriers for Indigenous, Black and other Racialized people. We are committed to ensuring that anti-racism and equity measures continue to promote full participation of our diverse staff.

As a service provider and regulator, we are committed to safeguarding equity and inclusion, and providing access to justice for everyone in Canada. This includes continuous improvement of our systems, and ongoing identification and elimination of barriers to the human rights programs we deliver. To achieve this, we rely on meaningful engagement with stakeholders and rights holders to hear their feedback on how we can best adapt our systems to reduce the impacts of systemic racism, discrimination and inequality on access to human rights justice. In protecting and upholding human rights in our role as a regulator, we are committed to helping and supporting federally-regulated employers and service providers to proactively identify and remove barriers to accessibility, equity and inclusion.

As a human rights advocate, we are committed to being bold in speaking out on human rights issues, and in amplifying the voices of people in marginalized and vulnerable situations in Canada. This work includes raising awareness of the systemic inequalities and barriers facing Indigenous, Black and other Racialized people. It also means being an ally and a valued partner and collaborator with Canada's strong community of human rights organizations, anti-racism experts, stakeholders and rights holders.

Through all our anti-racism efforts, these guiding values will remain at the core of our decisions and actions:

  • Being open, clear and accountable: We are committed to transparency and accountability in our efforts to bring about sustainable anti-racist organizational change.
  • Leadership: We will integrate equity principles into our decision-making regarding policies, practices, programs, partnerships, and services and will continue to address systemic barriers and historic challenges.
  • Inclusiveness: We will foster a welcoming, barrier free environment, and build and nurture relationships with communities through targeted outreach activities.
  • Responsiveness: Our programs, activities and services will meet and respond to the varied needs of the diversity of people in Canada.
  • Sustainability: We commit to sustainable anti-racist action — embedding anti-racism values, strategies and actions in our governance and operations, and continuously identifying, removing, and mitigating barriers that result from systemic racism in Canada.

This Action Plan is an evergreen, foundational document that will continue to evolve through our ongoing anti-racism efforts. It is an important step in our collective effort to take meaningful anti-racist action, both within and outside of our organization.

We are determined to be a leader and hold ourselves to the highest standard and utmost transparency and accountability.
We are committed to continuing our journey of listening, learning, and taking meaningful action.

1. Anti-Racism Action as an employer

The Commission commits to fostering a workplace that represents Canada’s diversity and ensures an inclusive and welcoming work environment that promotes a sense of value, belonging, and well-being for all employees.

Enhancing Internal Accountability and Leadership at the CHRC

Action Milestones
1.1 Appoint a senior executive to develop an action plan and to support the implementation of key pieces of work with key partners in the organization for a one-year period. Develop a transition plan to ensure ongoing commitment and coordination of this work. A senior executive is appointed during the calendar year 2020 to carry out this work.

A draft action plan is developed by the executive team based on existing feedback by December 2020. Feedback from bargaining agents, employees and external consultant is sought by March 31, 2021.

Updated version is drafted and shared with bargaining agents, employees and relevant consultants.

Plan is further reviewed on an ongoing basis in order to ensure that the results of an independent employment equity audit and any other assessments and/or feedback are incorporated appropriately.

A transition plan is established by September 2021 to ensure the coordination of this work as part of regular operations of the Commission. Going forward, each Director General will oversee the implementation of this plan, led by our anti-racism co-champions: the Executive Director and Chief Commissioner.
1.2 Establish an internal consultation committee comprising Indigenous, Black and other Racialized employees.

The Committee will be consulted by the executive team on the implementation of the Commission’s anti-racism work. The perspectives of members with lived experience will also be sought and incorporated in the development of policies and other program initiatives. The Committee will also assist in the continued identification and elimination of barriers.
A call out for 8 employees and 1 employee co-chair is made in early January 2021. One executive co-chair and one executive member will also be sought during this timeframe.

Members reflect a variety of different lived experiences, different classification groups and levels, and represent a variety of program areas from within the organization.

Local union representatives are consulted on membership and preliminary terms of reference are drafted by January 31, 2021. Committee is functional (including adopted terms of reference) by April 30, 2021.
1.3 Tie this plan’s progress to executive performance management. Performance objectives in regard to the implementation of this plan are added to executives’ performance accords starting in fiscal year 2021–22.
1.4 Report regularly on the progress of this plan. Monthly progress updates are requested and provided at Commission Executive Management Committee (CEMC) meetings on a regular basis, starting in January 2021. (CEMC comprises all Commission directors, Directors General, as well as the Executive Director and the Chief Commissioner.)
1.5 Provide regular updates to Commission staff on this plan’s progress. Periodic reporting on the progress of this plan is shared with staff and made public as of June 2021. Reporting is done at least twice a year. CEMC members and Decolonization and Anti-Racism Consultation Committee members to provide updates on the implementation of this plan at regular division meetings and/or branch meetings.
1.6 Explore leadership and behavioral competency related to diversity and inclusion for all Commission staff. Discussions with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat on the creation of both a leadership and behavioural competency to reflect diversity and inclusion commitments in the public service are initiated during fiscal 2021–22.

The Commission provides support to Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat as needed on the development of this work.

Making Policies and Procedures Inclusive

Action Milestones
1.7 Ensure awareness of major religious and spiritual observances by sharing resources.

Those in management positions will refrain from scheduling mandatory events on those days if they have a team member(s) observing the religious or spiritual holiday. Employees are encouraged to proactively identify religious and/or spiritual observances requiring accommodation to their direct supervisor as soon as practicable.
A Microsoft Outlook Calendar solution to include religious holidays is pushed out to all calendars in early 2021.

All Executives and Team Leaders add additional days of observance to their Outlook calendars by March 31, 2021.

IT is working to integrate an expanded, inclusive calendar into the Help Desk onboarding process by July 26, 2021, to ensure the continuity of this inclusion with new employees.

Managers are actively consulted and seek input from employees prior to scheduling mandatory events.
1.8 Develop and implement a plan to ensure that the 13 Factors of Psychological Health and Safety take into account the perspectives of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized employees either through consultation with the Decolonization and Anti-Racism Consultation Committee or through other means. An updated Mental Health Action Plan is developed based on the results of the assessment of the 13 Factors of Psychological Health and Safety by December 31, 2021. This new version is inclusive of the perspectives of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized employees through appropriate consultation.
1.9 Ensure that the development of IM/IT services and solutions includes consultation with diverse groups of stakeholders early in the development process as well as engagement through User Acceptance Testing at the later stages of the development process for new products or services.

This will help ensure representation of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized people in the governance boards that are responsible for IM/IT investment and decision-making.
IM/IT Steering committee is in place by March 2021, and its work is informed by diverse groups of stakeholders.

Development and testing of new products or services is carried out in consultation and collaboration with diverse external stakeholder groups with a view to ensuring that products and services are responsive to their needs.

Anti-racism considerations are also part of the IM/IT business intake process which will promote the use of an anti-racism lens for all IM/IT projects and investments.

Increasing Diversity and Removing Barriers in the Workplace

Action Milestones
1.10 Engage an external facilitator to meet with Indigenous, Black and other Racialized employees to gain their perspectives and views on barriers that may exist within the Commission, with the goal of eliminating systemic barriers and instituting anti-racist organizational change. An external facilitator is retained, has met with Indigenous, Black and other Racialized employees on a voluntary basis and delivers a verbal briefing by August 31, 2021.
1.11 Engage an external organization to conduct an independent employment equity audit in order to evaluate the Commission’s hiring, promotion and retention of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized people, as well as people with disabilities, at all levels of our organization using a GBA+ lens. An Employment Equity Plan will be developed to address the identified gaps. As part of this work, the Commission will pay particular attention to potential gaps in the area of frontline staff, team leaders and executives.

The Commission recognizes that the Employment Equity Act is a minimum legal requirement regarding diversity levels in the workplace and continues to strive to exceed these requirements.
Internal Employment Equity Act audit is completed by March 31, 2021.

An Employment System Review is completed by December 31, 2021.

An Employment Equity Plan is developed by March 31, 2022 in consultation with local representatives of bargaining agents and the Decolonization and Anti-Racism Consultation Committee.

Employment equity gaps identified by Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in its annual list are reported by the Human Resources Division to each Branch by May of each year to inform recruitment efforts.
1.12 In order to further enhance transparency and fairness in staffing as well as to broaden the pool of eligible candidates, ensure that the use of non-advertised appointments does not act as a barrier to Racialized individuals in search of opportunities. Develop criteria for the use of non-advertised processes by December 31, 2021. These criteria will be developed to ensure that non-advertised processes do not act as a barrier to employment opportunities and/or promotional opportunities for equity deserving groups, particularly Indigenous, Black and other Racialized peoples.

Approval of these criteria will be sought from the executive team by January 28, 2022 with a view to consistent implementation by hiring managers by April 1. 2022.

Continued efforts will be made to increase the use of advertised processes where this meets both the Commission’s diversity objectives and operational requirements.
1.13 Ensure staffing decisions take into account human rights experience, education and lived experience. The Commission recognizes the value of human rights experience and education as well as the lived experience of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized individuals.

This will continue to guide staffing decisions in a number of ways, including by:
  • ensuring diversity across the organization and in every business unit; and
  • ensuring that those hired in human rights positions have the required expertise.
Human rights experience and education are identified as a criterion for staffing where relevant to the core functions of a position. The value of a candidate’s diverse lived experiences is considered across all staffing processes.

A value statement is added to job posters by the Human Resources team.

Job requirements are examined to ensure they are necessary for the position and do not inadvertently perpetuate systemic barriers.
1.14 Ensure diversity in the composition of the Commission’s hiring boards.

Particular efforts will be made to ensure representation of Indigenous, Black or other Racialized board members when hiring for positions where a gap exists and at the EX (-1) level.
Hiring boards for positions are diverse in their make-up — especially where employment equity gaps exist — and include the representation of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized executives or staff members.

A list of potential qualified Indigenous, Black and other Racialized staffing board members from other federal organizations is created by the Human Resources Division.
1.15 Reach out to relevant equity-seeking communities and stakeholders where gaps exist in representation and no Indigenous, Black or other Racialized candidates apply. Where gaps exist, the area of selection in job advertisements is restricted to specific employment equity groups.

External postings are shared with targeted stakeholder groups where employment equity gaps exist.

Expanding Professional Development and Training

Action Milestones
1.16 Develop mentorship opportunities in consultation with the Decolonization and Anti-Racism Consultation Committee; explore the possibility of collaboration with other small agencies and human rights commissions to expand the number of mentors available to employees both at the CHRC and those agencies. A senior official is chosen to champion this initiative by December 31, 2020.

The development of a mentorship initiative is underway by September 30, 2021 in consultation with the Decolonization and Anti-Racism Consultation Committee.
1.17 Engage in discussions with staff regarding performance, career advancement, learning needs and areas where improvement is required in order to be successful in their current position, as well as to obtain career advancement opportunities. Performance assessments are held twice a year and discussions regarding career goals, learning needs and talent management are held as part of regular performance assessment meetings.
1.18 Grant training opportunities that are required for an employee’s current position and/or for their career advancement to the extent that operational and budgetary constraints allow. Funding for training is allocated fairly and in an equitable manner (note: the Commission’s Commission Executive Management Committee (CEMC) will review special training requests that exceed the normal amount allocated per employee and/or exceed more than 5 business days).

A policy to support fair distribution of the Commission’s training budget (including second language training) is developed by March 31, 2022.
1.19 Provide mandatory unconscious/implicit bias training for commissioners and staff.

Additional, ongoing training will be provided as needed to continue to build awareness and develop cultural competencies.
Mandatory unconscious/implicit bias training is delivered to all staff and commissioners by March 31, 2020.

CEMC members, together with staff, identify additional training needs in order to continue building awareness and developing cultural competencies.

The identification of training needs involves a staff survey and/or working group.
1.20 Provide unconscious/implicit bias training to all new CHRC employees during the first six to twelve months (maximum) of their employment, ideally through the Canada School of Public Service. 100% of new employees (including term employees and, when possible, students and casuals) complete unconscious/implicit bias training within their first year of employment with the Commission.

Self-pace/online courses are tested by Human Resources to see whether they meet our requirements by August 31, 2021. Executive team to agree on appropriate list of mandatory courses by September 30, 2021.

Updates are provided every 4 months to CEMC members on completion of mandatory training. Onboarding material is reviewed to identify opportunities to make diversity and inclusion expectation clear.
1.21 Facilitate workplace conversations about race within an anti-racist framework.

The Commission recognizes that priority must be given to preventing renewed or re-triggered Racialized trauma or alienation. The Commission will take the necessary steps to facilitate these discussions appropriately, as needed, within an anti-racist framework. The Commission will also address the impact that these discussions have had on workplace relationships in a way that promotes both a positive working environment and a continued openness to, and engagement on, anti-racism issues.
A dedicated trauma-informed counsellor is available to employees who feel they have experienced the effects of racism as of February 2021.

Opportunities are provided to staff to meet with executives, team leaders and external facilitators to provide feedback about the workplace, and to work towards resolution of concerns raised together by August 31, 2022. Following August 2022, staff will continue to be able to meet with executives and team leaders to provide feedback.

Advocating for Diversity and Inclusion in External Processes

Action Milestones
1.22 Advocate for the appointment of Indigenous, Black or other Racialized commissioners. As part of the selection process for Governor in Council appointments to the Commission, the Commission continues to advocate for the implementation of recruitment strategies that are free from bias and seek to attract diverse candidates.
1.23 Request that Health Canada’s Employment Assistance Program (EAP) identify counsellors with expertise in dealing with discrimination related trauma and ask that they be consistently, reliably and confidentially available to employees. Communication initiated to Health Canada by December 31, 2021. A proposal, developed in consultation with Health Canada, is completed for CORE’s consideration by Winter 2021. (CORE comprises the Commission’s senior-executive team of Directors General, commissioners, the Executive Director and the Chief Commissioner.)

2. Anti-Racism Action as a service provider and regulator

The Commission commits to ensuring access to justice by improving: the accessibility of the Commission’s complaints processes; the identification of patterns and trends in complaints outcomes; and the advancement of strategic litigation to ensure the continued development of anti-racism case law in federal jurisdiction. The Commission also commits to ensuring that federal employers and service providers proactively identify and remove barriers to accessibility, equity and inclusion.

Enhancing Internal Accountability

Action Milestones
2.1 Develop a communications plan and provide regular updates on the implementation of the Anti-Racism Action Plan.

This will include public reporting on the Commission’s anti-racism work using a variety of means which may include the CHRC’s Annual Report, social media and website.
A communications plan is developed by June 30, 2021.

At least 10 individual communications products promoting anti-racism are published and widely distributed each year, including through the Commission’s Annual Report to Parliament, statements, social media posts and speeches. Progress reports on this plan are released at least twice a year.
2.2 Participate actively in Government of Canada anti-racism working groups. The Commission regularly participates in interdepartmental working groups and other fora that promote and share anti-racism information and work to implement anti-racism and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
2.3 Establish a national network of stakeholders representing Racialized people to consult and provide updates on the work of the CHRC.

This may include: improving access to the CHRC’s human rights complaints process; implementing proactive human rights legislation, such as the new Pay Equity Act and the Accessible Canada Act; implementing our new housing mandate, per the National Housing Strategy Act; and developing opportunities for collaboration and advocacy, among other topics.
Criteria are established for the composition of this network by August 31, 2021. Relevant stakeholders representing Racialized communities are identified by August 31, 2021.

Email invitation to network participants is sent by September 30, 2021. A national meeting is held at least once annually starting in 2021.
2.4 Establish an external mechanism for screening complaints against the CHRC. An inter-delegation agreement with a provincial or territorial human rights commission is entered into, and Governor in Council approval is sought during fiscal 2020–21.

Employees continue to have access to a grievance process, staffing complaint process, harassment coordinator and complaint system, and statutory protections from reprisal. In addition, employees have access to an Informal Conflict Management System to raise and discuss concerns informally.

Addressing Systemic Racism as Part of the Commission’s Regulatory and Compliance Enforcement Work

Action Milestones
2.5 Conduct a horizontal audit on the employment of Racialized public servants in management and executive positions in the federal public service. A sector-wide employment equity audit report on representation rates of Racialized public servants at the executive and management levels in the federal public service is published by June 2022.
2.6 Ensure the application of an intersectional lens as part of the Pay Equity and Accessibility Commissioners’ engagement activities and measurement strategy to the extent that the mandates and data collection allow.

Strive towards diverse representation and ensure that the perspectives of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized groups are part of stakeholder consultations and program development.

The Pay Equity program will ensure that attention is paid to how it will address pay equity for women (Indigenous women, Racialized women, women with disabilities) in the most vulnerable situations and if there are any GBA+ considerations for the implementation of the Pay Equity Act (PEA).
The list of stakeholders for both the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and Pay Equity Act (PEA) programs is reviewed with a view to increasing the representation of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized stakeholders in order to consult on engagement and communication strategies by August 31, 2021.

The annual reports for ACA and PEA (as soon as they are required under both legislations) include reporting on intersectionality with a particular focus on the intersections between people with disabilities, women, and Indigenous, Black and other Racialized people.

In cooperation with Employment and Social Development Canada, the analysis of a proposed measurement strategy for ACA is completed by June 30, 2021.

Engagement with diverse women, using a GBA+ lens, is undertaken by the Pay Equity unit to better understand how intersectional factors affect their economic outcomes.

Improving Disaggregated Data Collection

Action Milestones
2.7 Ensure that the collection of disaggregated race data is part of the Commission’s forward looking data strategy; ensure that the Commission’s new case management system allows for this collection and reporting. A Data Strategy is completed by March 31, 2021. The new Case Management System is developed and will allow for the organization to collect disaggregated race data.
2.8 Collect retroactive data (disaggregated by race) on the users of the CHRC’s complaints screening process for the period of 2019–20 as baseline. Integrate forward collection of disaggregated race data of the users of the CHRA complaints system.

N.B. This data will be collected based on voluntary user self-identification.
A survey is developed in consultation with stakeholders by December 31, 2020 (stakeholders include: Statistics Canada, the Privacy Commission, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and representatives of a variety of Racialized communities).

Survey is conducted with complainants who filed during the April 2019 – March 2020 period and completed by March 31, 2021. The Commission will consider expansion of this timeframe if operationally feasible.

Report on data collected is prepared by June 30, 2021. Plans for future use of survey at the point at which complaints are officially accepted are drafted by March 31, 2021. Report on retrospective baseline data is available by September 30, 2021.

Plans for the long-term goal of integrating survey with online complaint form and case management system are drafted by October 31, 2021. Develop a plan by December 31, 2021 to integrate the collection of race-based data at the moment a complaint is filed.

Integration of race-based data collection with current online system is completed by 2023.
2.9 Monitor and report on the outcomes of discrimination complaints filed on the ground(s) of race, colour, and/or national or ethnic origin (RCNEO). The processing of RCNEO discrimination complaints is monitored and reported on an ongoing basis: regularly at Complaints Support Committee meetings; annually in the CHRC’s Annual Report and during scheduled meetings with the External Stakeholder Network.
2.10 The Commission will explore options to collect disaggregated race data in its Pay Equity and Accessibility programs when possible.

This will allow for a better understanding of the pay equity and accessibility challenges faced by Indigenous, Black and other Racialized groups in the workplace or in the provision of services.
The scoping for data collection options is completed for both programs, including the analysis of the proposed measurement strategy for Accessibility, by June 2021. All project plans for the development of tools to collect information, submissions or complaints for the Pay Equity and Accessibility programs include a specific analysis of race data options based on allowable data collection.

Advancing Access to Justice through the Human Rights Complaint Process

Action Milestones
2.11 Improve access to justice by: enhancing our online complaint form; ensuring that materials are easily understandable and accessible; and simplifying our processes and providing additional supports, including translation services where possible, to those in vulnerable circumstances. A project team is established to guide and support efforts by December 31, 2020.

The online complaint form is improved and expanded, and a new version launched by March 31, 2022.

Complaints services modernization, access to justice and simplification of processes initiatives are implemented. (This includes the increased use of s.49 of the Canadian Human Rights Act to allow for expeditious referrals to Tribunal when a basis in fact or law exists. It further includes the ongoing review of existing Commission template correspondence to ensure that they are written in clear, accessible and gender-neutral language).

New complaints services products for the public are easily understandable and accessible upon publication.

Translation services for vulnerable complainants are provided, when and where possible.
2.12 Include a diverse group of employees, including Indigenous, Black and other Racialized staff, in early triage discussions on complaint files.

Provide executive guidance and oversight through the Complaints Support Committee (CSC). Promote the dismantling of potential barriers for Indigenous, Black and other Racialized complainants by using an Internal accountability and governance framework, consistent with the Values and Ethics Code.
Terms of reference for the triage team and the CSC are updated by December 31, 2020 and include reference to:
  • anti-racism and equity as guiding principles,
  • inclusion of members with lived experience, and
  • standards for the proper conduct of discussions.
Terms of reference are understood, accepted and followed by current and new members of the triage team and breaches are addressed as part of regular performance management reviews.

Regular guidance and oversight of triage is provided through the CSC on an ongoing basis. CSC is briefed quarterly on the functioning of the triage team by the chair.

An Internal report is drafted by December 31, 2021.
2.13 Revise complaints screening tools in order to ensure that the necessary evidence, both individual and systemic, is gathered and considered effectively in all complaints, including those alleging racism. Complaints services tools are revised and updated by December 2020.
2.14 Provide policy and legal expertise in order to support effective screening of complaints, including those with allegations based on race, colour, and/or national or ethnic origin. Policy and legal support are consistently available to various complaints processing teams, such as the triage team, the complaint assessment teams, and the Complaints Support Committee. (This will continue to be achieved either by legal and policy participation in relevant meetings and/or the assignment of policy and legal advisors to complaints teams to ensure access to these supports).
2.15 Implement innovations to the Commission’s complaints process in order to assist in the improved screening of all complaints, including complaints alleging racism.

This includes moving towards evaluative mediation when appropriate and requiring parties to provide their submissions earlier in the process.
Improvements to the complaints process are implemented and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Procedures that allow for the earlier collection of responses and rebuttals to complaints are drafted by September 30, 2021.

Information about updates to the CHRC complaints screening process are made available:
  1. 1- internally on a quarterly basis;
  2. 2- through departmental results reporting to central agencies; and
  3. 3- during scheduled meetings with the External Stakeholder Network.
2.16 Participate fully in the litigation of systemic race cases to the extent that resources allow. Strategic litigation will focus on a number of areas including, for example:
  • Alleged discrimination in or by policing and other security and enforcement bodies;
  • Treatment of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized prisoners including the use of security classification tools, administrative segregation, access to mental health services;
  • Underrepresentation in employment, particularly at senior levels;
  • Equality of services on First Nation reserve lands; and
  • The intersectionality of race with other grounds of discrimination, including for incarcerated women.
Where relevant, the Commission will incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice into its legal submissions and arguments.
The Commission is fully participating at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in complaints that allege systemic discrimination on the basis of race, colour, and national or ethnic origin, particularly focusing on files involving novel and complex legal arguments. Policy input and support is provided throughout the litigation of systemic race cases.
2.17 Continue to build capacity and expand/advocate for community supports to assist complainants in accessing the federal human rights system.

This will involve exploring and engaging in partnerships with pro bono and legal aid organizations as well as Indigenous, Black and Racialized community stakeholders.

In addition, the Commission will continue to advocate for the availability of legal supports for vulnerable complainants.
Steps are taken to create a proposal for the striking of a distinction-based network of Indigenous stakeholders by March 31, 2022.

The Commission will continue to engage with Indigenous community organizations to support improved access to the federal human rights system, including NGOs with mandates to support complainants who wish to submit human rights complaints. Support to vulnerable complainants is provided through external partners, when and where possible.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions is developed by December 31, 2021, which may include video vignettes. A list of community-based resources is developed in consultation with stakeholders by December 31, 2021.

Training for the Complaints Team and Supporting Advisors

Action Milestones
2.18 Offering training to complaints staff, as well as supporting legal and policy advisors, to continue to build on their understanding of conscious and unconscious/implicit bias, systemic racism, and the discriminatory impacts of racism, including trauma. Training in understanding racial trauma and trauma-informed engagement is offered to all complaints staff and supporting legal and policy advisors by March 31, 2021 and all executives by June 30, 2021.

The "Right to Respect Policy" is finalized and training delivered by June 30, 2021 with the goal of supporting staff who experience racism and other forms of discrimination and harassment in the provision of services to the public.
2.19 Offer training to complaints staff and supporting legal and policy advisors on revised complaints assessment tools over a two-month period.

The objective is to provide an interactive and longer-term opportunity to use and refine the application of these tools. Ongoing training will be provided pursuant to review and assessment of needs.
The training of human rights officers is completed by December 2020.

The training of policy and legal advisors is completed by March 31, 2021. Ongoing training of officers involved in complaints processing is made available via recorded training sessions and written material.

Spot audits are performed by an external auditor every two years to ensure that guidance is being well implemented in the Commission’s screening process.

3. Anti-Racism Action as a human rights advocate

The Commission is committed to actively engaging in public dialogue and advocacy for equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism in Canadian society, in its laws and in its workplaces.

Applying an anti-racist lens when engaging, advocating and monitoring

Action Milestones
3.1 Participate in public dialogue on anti-racism in Canada; and amplify issues of importance as identified by Racialized stakeholders.

This advocacy work includes: appearances before, and submissions to, Parliamentary Committees; engagement and collaborative work with other human rights commissions across the country; the release of public statements and engagement with the media, when appropriate; submissions and statements to United Nations bodies; and participation in other public engagement opportunities.
Opportunities for engagement with Parliamentarians on issues of importance raised by Racialized stakeholders are identified.

Opportunities to work with colleagues from the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) on issues of common importance related to race are identified. Submissions to UN bodies include a focus on issues of importance identified by Racialized stakeholders.

Relevant speaking opportunities and/or opportunities to collaborate with partners and stakeholders in co-hosting events to raise awareness are identified, e.g., external advisory groups, law schools, legal aid clinics, public policy courses.

Annual updates on race, colour, and/or national or ethnic origin (RCNEO) discrimination case law are provided by legal counsel to commissioners, Commission employees, and to Racialized stakeholders, where operationally feasible.  
3.2 Advocate for, and participate in the review and modernization of, the Employment Equity Act. The CHRC collaborates with Employment and Social Development Canada and the Labour Program in the review of the Act.

The Commission develops recommendations in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including on how to further the collection and reporting of disaggregated data for designated groups.
3.3 Continue to advocate for Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to provide disaggregated data to allow more accurate audits of the federal public service. Work with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer on the collection and sharing of disaggregated data on employment equity in the public service continues.
3.4 Monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with an intersectional lens, and ensure the perspectives and priorities of Indigenous, Black and other Racialized persons with disabilities are reflected throughout.

As part of its work in developing the framework, targeted engagement with Indigenous, Black and other Racialized people with disabilities will be undertaken.
Draft framework and work plan is completed by March 31, 2021. Targeted engagement with Indigenous, Black and other Racialized persons with disabilities takes place on an ongoing basis.

Advocacy efforts, including in submissions to UN bodies and in other reports, take an intersectional approach with a focus, where appropriate, on Indigenous, Black and other Racialized persons with disabilities.

Supporting Anti-Racism Work through the Commission's Publications

Action Milestones
3.5 Develop a guide on preventing and addressing racism in the workplace, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and partners. Stakeholders and partners are consulted to determine needs and views on what should be included in the guide.

A guide is drafted on preventing and addressing racism in the workplace by the end of 2022.
3.6 Release a guide on special programs that considers the situations faced by Indigenous, Black and other Racialized peoples or other groups experiencing socio-economic disadvantages due to historical social disadvantage. The ‘Leveling the Field’ guide providing guidance for employers or service providers who are seeking to develop or implement targeted programs consistent with special programs under section 16 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is finalized and completed by December 31, 2021.

Building Inclusive Processes

Action Milestones
3.7 Design and implement a public submission process that will allow the Federal Housing Advocate to gain a better understanding of systemic housing issues faced by populations in vulnerable circumstances, including Indigenous, Black and other Racialized people.

Research will be conducted in order to provide public guidance on how to tailor laws, policies and programs in order to address identified challenges. Members of the public making submissions will have the option to self-identify.
A submission process, including an appropriate data collection instrument, is in place in time for the appointment of the Advocate.

The Commission continues to advocate that Statistics Canada expand disaggregated data. Guidance is provided as part of consultations with Statistics Canada on the National Housing Survey and the Canadian Census.

Disaggregated data is collected on a voluntary basis from members of the public using the submission process.

Contact the Canadian Human Rights Commission

For more information about human rights, contact:

National office
344 Slater Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1E1

Telephone: 613-995-1151
Toll Free: 1-888-214-1090
TTY: 1-888-643-3304
Fax: 613-996-9661

For media inquiries, contact Media Relations at 613-943-9118
Note: All complaint-related inquiries will be transferred to the Commission’s national office.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2021.

PDF # HR4-57/2021E-1-PDF
ISBN – 978-0-660-40069-3
This publication is available on the CHRC’s website at: