Report on Plans and Priorities 2016-17

The Report on Plans and Priorities is an expenditure plan that provides a detailed overview of the Commission’s main priorities over a three-year period. These priorities are divided by strategic outcome, program activities, and planned and expected results. The Report on Plans and Priorities also provides details on human resource requirements, major capital projects, grants and contributions, and net program costs.

* This publication is only available in electronic format. If you require a paper version, please contact the Commission directly. Please allow 5-8 business days for processing.

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada



Table of Contents


Chief Commissioner's Message

It is my pleasure to present the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s (Commission) Report on Plans and Priorities for 2016–17.

This past summer, my first at the Commission, I asked our staff to pull their ideas together and re-envision our work. We put everything on the table and asked ourselves some difficult questions. Are we doing everything we can do to help people in Canada who are marginalized or living in vulnerable circumstances? Are we doing the best we can to protect citizens whose rights had been violated? Are we doing enough to promote and protect human rights in Canada? Are we meeting the expectations of Canadians?

We involved every single employee at the Commission. We consulted our part-time Commissioners as well. The results were profound. Thanks to this open, inclusive and collaborative process, we were able to reconnect with our broader purpose—the most fundamental reasons why we are in this human rights business.

We also went across the country—as we continue to do—and met with over 65 various groups and organizations that research and advocate for the rights of people in Canada. We also met with Ministers, Agents of Parliament, First Nations leaders and central agencies. The results were unanimous: more than ever, the Commission must change its approach if it wants to be a leader in human rights. Every one of these discussions resulted in invaluable insight that has helped shape our way forward.

We have taken all the feedback—both internal and external—from the human rights community across Canada, a first for the Commission, and have developed a new set of priorities for the next three years, to reflect Canadians’ expectations. We will adopt a service delivery model that puts people first in all that we do, always serving the public interest, and that will be at the very core of our decisions.

Therefore, beginning in 2016–17, we will concentrate our efforts on three key priority areas:

  1. We will respond to the need for an increase in our public presence and visibility as soon as human rights issues arise. We will engage more with the public and with our stakeholders across Canada. We will transform our education and awareness work, in collaboration with our partners, to focus on people in marginalized or vulnerable situations and promote our vision of inclusion and equality. We will strive to be a national, independent and influential voice for human rights, and will weigh in on all issues of human rights promotion and protection.
  2. We will streamline our complaints process so that it is simpler, quicker and more effective for Canadians, and that it provides support for the people who need it and who are using our process. We will strive to make our process accessible to people living in vulnerable circumstances.
  3. Finally, we will ensure that everything we choose to do is viable and sustainable for the organization.

I believe this is a new era for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Our ongoing coast to coast to coast engagement with human rights advocates is central to the shift we want to see happen and the plan we have developed to make it happen. Developing and nurturing these partnerships and networks across Canada and applying a collaborative approach to our common issues is the best way to move the human rights agenda forward in Canada.

As such, we will continue to build and maintain trust with our stakeholders and the public, to work together and make a difference. Our message will be the same from coast to coast and our efforts will focus on collaborative solutions to address current and emerging human rights issues in Canada.

We want to create an open and networked environment that engages citizens and partners for the public good. We want to have a value-added role, to balance views, to move human rights issues forward.

I have faith in what we can achieve, thanks to the dedicated and committed team of people we have at the Commission. These are people who have come together because they truly care about helping their fellow citizens, about making a difference, about building a Canada that includes everyone. They want to help people in Canada whose voices are not being heard, but who have a right, equal with others, to make for themselves the lives they are able and wish to have. I believe we can achieve this in communities, with communities, and for communities across Canada.

Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E.
Chief Commissioner


Section I : Organizational Expenditure Overview

Organizational Profile

Minister: The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould

A/Deputy head: Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E.

Ministerial portfolio: Justice

Main legislative authorities: Canadian Human Rights Act and Employment Equity Act

Year established: 1977


Organizational Context

Raison d’être

The Canadian Human Rights Commission was established in 1977 under Schedule I.1 of the Financial Administration Act in accordance with the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).

The Commission leads the administration of the CHRA and ensures compliance with the Employment Equity Act (EEA). The CHRA prohibits discrimination and the EEA promotes equality in the workplace. Both laws apply the principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination to federal government departments and agencies, Crown corporations, and federally regulated private sector organizations.


The Commission promotes the core principle of equal opportunity and works to prevent discrimination. It works closely with federally regulated employers and service providers, individuals, unions, and provincial, territorial and international human rights bodies to foster understanding of human rights and promote the development of human rights cultures.

The Commission’s mandate also includes protecting human rights through effective case and complaint management. This role involves representing the public interest to advance human rights for all Canadians.

The Commission is responsible for ensuring compliance with the EEA. This involves auditing federally regulated employers to ensure that they are providing equal opportunities to the four designated groups: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture

  1. Strategic Outcome: Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights

1.1 Program: Human Rights Program

Internal Services


Organizational Priorities

Priority 1: National, independent and influential voice for human rights


In 2015, the Commission conducted a series of consultations across Canada to better understand what people need from their national human rights institution. 

Organization after organization stated that the Commission needs to be more proactive, more vocal and needs to take more leadership in setting the human rights agenda in Canada. They also indicated that as Canada’s human rights watchdog, the Commission should hold governments accountable to their promises and obligations. They also said that the Commission should monitor and report on international human rights obligations, comment on bills and new laws, and create greater synergies with other human rights organizations and institutions. 

As such, the Commission needs to play a greater leadership role in human rights in Canada, and serve as a bridge between government and civil society. The Commission needs to reaffirm its independent national voice on human rights, and continue to act in the public interest. And the Commission needs to be a go-to source of human rights expertise that contributes to public policy and social change.

Priority Type 1 - New

Key Supporting Initiatives

Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Link to Program Alignment Architecture
Explore options to ensure that the Commission’s independence is further recognized. April 2016 March 2017 Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights

In collaboration with partners, adopt an advocacy coalition delivery model that will:

  • raise awareness on human rights issues with the public, with communities and with decision-makers;
  • mobilize stakeholders around human rights issues to positively influence opinions and actions.
April 2016 March 2019
Develop a human rights action plan, in consultation with the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) and other partners, to increase focus and attention on the human rights agenda, as well as to leverage the collective efforts of the human rights community. September 2016 March 2018
Provide support to all phases of the Government of Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. April 2016 March 2017

1 Type is defined as follows: previously committed to—committed to in the first or second fiscal year prior to the subject year of the report; ongoing—committed to at least three fiscal years prior to the subject year of the report; and new—newly committed to in the reporting year of the Report on Plans and Priorities or the Departmental Performance Report.

Priority 2:  A simpler, people-centred complaint process


During last year’s consultation process, stakeholders also shared their views on the Commission’s complaint process. 

Stakeholders indicated that the Commission’s actions must ultimately help people who are not sure where to turn to address their issues, or who will listen to their concerns. Stakeholders highlighted the need for a more user-friendly process, driven by people’s needs—a process that is simpler and not as legalistic so that everyone can fully participate. The Commission needs to adapt its work to serve those who need help, rather than asking them to adapt to the way we work. 

In this context, people in Canada should have the information and assistance they need to file their human rights complaints and receive help to resolve their issues efficiently, affordably, and fairly, either through informal resolution mechanisms or the formal human rights justice system, when necessary and appropriate.

Priority Type - New

Key Supporting Initiatives

Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Link to Program Alignment Architecture
Explore ways to make the complaint process more user-friendly, effective and efficient by reviewing the complaint process and implementing a “Lean” approach. April 2016 March 2019 Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights
Enhance the Commission’s case management approach throughout the lifecycle of the complaint, to better prioritize cases, flag systemic issues, and identify the best ways to ensure swifter resolution or strategic disposition of cases. April 2016 March 2019
Examine the Commission’s strategic litigation strategy to identify, earlier in the process, the cases with significant human rights impacts. This will include options for initiating complaints and ensuring that people can participate more in cases that go before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. April 2016 March 2019

Priority 3:  Sustainability and organizational excellence


The internal consultation process confirmed that sustainability and service excellence are key elements of the Commission’s three-year strategic plan.

The Commission strives to serve Canadians in the most effective and efficient manner possible. It is committed to having a stable workforce that is dedicated to service excellence in delivering the Commission’s vision and mandate. 

Putting people at the centre of the Commission’s processes calls for a viable and sustainable shift in the way services are designed, integrated, managed and delivered. This requires a highly skilled workforce that is compassionate, dedicated and empowered to provide the best services possible.

Priority Type - Previously committed to

Key Supporting Initiatives

Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Link to Program Alignment Architecture
Assess the impact of the new strategic plan on the Commission’s current processes and structure, and then adopt new options on how to fully deploy resources in order to successfully implement and sustain the Commission’s new strategic plan. April 2016 March 2017 Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights
Strengthen leadership and oversight by developing a change management strategy to manage the people side of change. April 2016 March 2017
Develop and implement a people empowerment model to support employees and give them the tools, the knowledge and the competencies they need to succeed in the new delivery model. April 2016 March 2017


Risk Analysis

Key Risks

Risk* Risk Response Strategy Link to Program Alignment Architecture
An opportunity for the Commission to align its direction, approach and resources to close the gap in stakeholder’s expectations
  • Identify priorities and supporting actions to respond to identified stakeholder’s expectations.
  • Monitor the implementation of the priorities to ensure continued alignment
  • Establish feedback mechanisms to monitor Canadians use of and satisfaction with our services
  • Nurture strong, collaborative, and integrated stakeholder partnerships
Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights
A risk that the Commission may not have the resources to implement its people first approach
  • Use a coalition approach, working in concert with other human rights advocates to maximize efforts
A risk that the diverse types of change across the Commission might negatively impact individuals and thus the organization
  • Develop and implement a robust change management strategy

*Risks include both threats and opportunities.

As mentioned earlier, the Chief Commissioner is leading a process to re-envision the work of the Commission. The process began by consulting a diverse range of stakeholders about human rights priorities in Canada, the strengths and weaknesses of the Commission and its unique contributions. These consultations revealed gaps between what the Commission is currently doing and what the Commission should be doing. There is an opportunity for the Commission to align its direction, approach and resources to close the identified gaps. To this end, the Commission will identify priorities and supporting actions to address the expectations of Canadians, foster stronger stakeholder relationships and set up a process to monitor Canadians’ satisfaction with its services.

Putting people at the centre of the Commission’s processes calls for a shift in the way services are designed, integrated, managed and delivered. It may also require face-to-face interaction with people, particularly for individuals in vulnerable circumstances. The Commission may not have the resources needed. To mitigate this risk, the Commission will use a coalition approach and work with a network of partners to maximize support for people living in vulnerable circumstances or who have been victims of discrimination.

As well, the new direction for the Commission brings about change on several fronts—both at the strategic and operational level. There will be changes in the approach, processes, tools and competencies required. Change will bring about risks at the organizational and individual level. To identify and mitigate risks, the Commission will develop and implement a robust change management strategy.


Planned Expenditures

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)

2016–17 Main Estimates 2016–17 Planned Spending 2017–18 Planned Spending 2018–19 Planned Spending
22,149,172 22,149,172 22,149,310 22,149,310

Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents - FTEs)

2016–17 2017–18 2018-19
194* 194* 194*

* It includes 13 FTEs for Internal Support Services that the Commission provides to some other small government departments.

Budgetary Planning Summary for Strategic Outcome and Programs (dollars)

Strategic Outcome, Programs and Internal Services 2013–14 Expenditures 2014–15 Expenditures 2015–16 Forecast Spending 2016–17 Main Estimates 2016–17 Planned Spending 2017–18 Planned Spending 2018–19 Planned Spending
Strategic Outcome: Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights
Human Rights Knowledge Development and Dissemination 4,263,215 3,343,961 - - - - -
Discrimination Prevention 3,400,798 3,453,586 - - - - -
Human Rights Dispute Resolution 9,561,614 9,432,216 - - - - -
Human Rights Program * * 15,387,026  15,371,307 15,371,307 15,371,403 15,371,403
Strategic Outcome Subtotal 17,225,627 16,229,763 15,387,026  15,371,307 15,371,307 15,371,403 15,371,403
Internal Services Subtotal 6,448,023 6,989,399 7,241,100 6,777,865 6,777,865 6,777,907 6,777,907
Total 23,673,650 23,219,162 22,628,126 22,149,172 22,149,172 22,149,310 22,149,310

* The Commission introduced significant changes to its Program Alignment Architecture for 2015–16. Expenditures for 2013–14 and 2014–15 have been provided according to the former PAA.

Alignment of Spending with the Whole-of-Government Framework

Alignment of 2016–17 Planned Spending with the Whole-of-Government Spending Area (dollars)

Strategic Outcome Program Spending Area Government of Canada Outcome 2016–17 Planned Spending
Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights Human Rights Program Social Affairs A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion 15,371,307


Total Planned Spending by Spending Area (dollars)

Spending Area Total Planned Spending
Economic Affairs  
Social Affairs 15,371,307
International Affairs  
Government Affairs  

Departmental Spending Trend

This subsection examines the fluctuations in overall financial resources and expenditures over time and the reasons for such shifts. The following figure illustrates the Commission’s spending trend from 2013–14 to 2018–19.

Departmental Spending Trend

[Text version]

The decrease in spending depicted in the graph is mainly due to the sunset of funding related to the implementation of the repeal of Section 67 of the CHRA that ended in March 2014; to the one-time transition payment for implementing salary payment in arrears by the Government of Canada in 2014–15; and to the the cash-out of severance pay following the signing of new collective agreements.

Estimates by Vote

For information on the Commission’s organizational appropriations, please see the 2016–17 Main Estimates

Section II : Analysis of Programs by Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome: Equality of opportunity and respect for human rights

Human Rights Program

This program helps people and federally regulated organizations understand and comply with the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act. It respects the Paris Principles, a set of international standards which frame and guide the work of national human rights institutions. The program promotes and protects human rights by developing and sharing knowledge, conducting audits, and managing complaints. It works collaboratively with people and organizations to conduct research, develop tools and policies, and raise awareness. It audits federally regulated employers to ensure that they are providing equal opportunities to the four designated groups: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities. It screens, investigates and resolves human rights complaints, and decides whether they should go to a full legal hearing. It represents the public interest in legal cases to advance human rights in Canada.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)

2016–17 Main Estimates 2016–17 Planned Spending 2017–18 Planned Spending 2018–19 Planned Spending
15,371,307 15,371,307 15,371,403 15,371,403

Human Resources (FTEs)

2016–17 2017–18 2018–19
125 125 125

Performance Measurement

Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets Date to be achieved
Equality of opportunity and protection from discrimination in Canada # of Canadians who have been protected by and/or informed about the CHRA and the EEA 1.2 million March 31, 2017
Equality of opportunity in the workplace % of employers with more successful results, improving or in compliance when notified of an EE assessment 80% March 31, 2018
The system for human rights justice is accessible to Canadians % of complaints concluded by the Commission 90% March 31, 2017

Planning Highlights

In addition to support its new organizational priorities and continue its ongoing work to deliver on expected results, the Commission will focus on the following initiatives in 2016–17 to help promote and protect human rights and equality of opportunity in Canada:

  • Investigate the feasibility of a national human rights portal that could provide a single point of access for the public to all human rights jurisdictions in Canada. This could help facilitate access to human rights information for the public through the sharing of resources, tools, research and policy information.
  • Create steering committees to provide strategic insights concerning emerging human rights issues and future planning.
  • Plan a human rights symposium/conference in 2017 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as to establish legacy initiatives for the future.
  • Explore options to provide support to people in vulnerable circumstances who are facing barriers to the Commission’s discrimination complaint process.
  • Use the Access to Justice Index as a diagnosis tool to further enhance the complaint process.
  • Enhance the Alternative Dispute Resolution process.
  • Continue implementing the three tier approach for employment equity audits to closely monitor progress, and focus on employers that are less successful in meeting their employment equity obligations.


Internal Services

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization, and not those provided to a specific program. The groups of activities are Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)

2016–17 Main Estimates 2016–17 Planned Spending 2017–18 Planned Spending 2018–19 Planned Spending
6,777,865 6,777,865 6,777,907 6,777,907

Human Resources (FTEs)

2016–17 2017–18 2019–10
69* 69* 69*

*It includes 13 FTEs for Internal Support Services that the Commission provides to some other small government departments.

Planning Highlights

While supporting its organizational priorities, and continuing to deliver internal services that support its own operations as well as the operations of some other small agencies, the Commission will focus on the following internal initiatives in 2016–17: 

  • Continue to implement the Government of Canada transformation agenda, including the Policy on Service that requires a client service strategy, training of staff and a feedback mechanism.
  • Enhance the Commission’s risk management framework, applying a systemic approach that sets the best course of action to identify, assess, understand, act on, and communicate risks.
  • Improve organizational planning, performance monitoring and continuous learning capacity in support of Commission’s programs and its three-year plan.
  • Review the Commission’s competency-based approach to better identify and gain new advocacy competencies and skills from within the organization.
  • Provide flexible work arrangements to support the new model and employee growth.


Section III : Supplementary Information

Future-Oriented Statement of Operations

The future-oriented condensed statement of operations provides a general overview of the Commission’s operations. The forecast of financial information on expenses and revenues is prepared on an accrual accounting basis to strengthen accountability and to improve transparency and financial management.

Because the future-oriented condensed statement of operations is prepared on an accrual accounting basis, and the forecast and planned spending amounts presented in other sections of the Report on Plans and Priorities are prepared on an expenditure basis, amounts may differ.

A more detailed future-oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested authorities, are available on the Commission’s website. 

Future-Oriented Condensed Statement of Operations 
For the Year ended March 31, 2016 (dollars)

Financial Information 2015–16
Forecast Results
2016–17 Planned Results Difference (2016–17 Planned Results minus 2015–16 Forecast Results)
Total expenses 27,606,922 26,998,802 (608,120)
Total revenues 1,312,925 1,075,000 (237,925)
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 26,293,997 25,923,802 (370,195)

The decrease between 2015–16 and 2016–17 is mainly due to a reduction in services for one of the Commission’s clients (Truth Reconciliation Commission of Canada) who is winding down in 2015–16; and to a large amount of severance cash out that occurred in 2015–16.

Supplementary Information Tables

The supplementary information tables listed in the 2016–17 Report on Plans and Priorities can be found on the Commission’s website.

Tax Expenditures and Evaluations Report

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 Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication. The tax measures presented in that publication are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance. 

Section IV : 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: 1-888-643-3304
Fax: 613-996-9661
Twitter: @CdnHumanRights


Appendix: Definitions

Appropriation: Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

budgetary expenditures: Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.

Departmental Performance Report: Reports on an appropriated organization’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Reports on Plans and Priorities. These reports are tabled in Parliament in the fall.

full time equivalent: A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person year charge against a departmental budget. Full time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.

Government of Canada outcomes: A set of 16 high level objectives defined for the government as a whole, grouped in four spending areas: economic affairs, social affairs, international affairs and government affairs.

Management, Resources and Results Structure: A comprehensive framework that consists of an organization’s inventory of programs, resources, results, performance indicators and governance information. Programs and results are depicted in their hierarchical relationship to each other and to the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute. The Management, Resources and Results Structure is developed from the Program Alignment Architecture.

non budgetary expenditures: Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.

performance: What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.

performance indicator: 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: The process of communicating evidence based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.

planned spending: For Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs) and Departmental Performance Reports (DPRs), planned spending refers to those amounts that receive Treasury Board approval by February 1. Therefore, planned spending may include amounts incremental to planned expenditures presented in the 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 RPPs and DPRs.

plans: 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 up to the expected result.

priorities: Plans or projects that an organization 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 Strategic Outcome(s).

program: A group of related resource inputs and activities that are managed to meet specific needs and to achieve intended results and that are treated as a budgetary unit.

Program Alignment Architecture: A structured inventory of an organization’s programs depicting the hierarchical relationship between programs and the Strategic Outcome(s) to which they contribute.

Report on Plans and Priorities: Provides information on the plans and expected performance of appropriated organizations over a three year period. These reports are tabled in Parliament each spring.

results: An external 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: 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.

Strategic Outcome: A long term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the organization’s mandate, vision and core functions.

sunset program: A time limited program that does not have an ongoing funding and policy authority. When the program is set to expire, a decision must be made whether to continue the program. In the case of a renewal, the decision specifies the scope, funding level and duration.

target: 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: Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an Appropriation Act. The Vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.
whole of government framework: Maps the financial contributions of federal organizations receiving appropriations by aligning their Programs to a set of 16 government wide, high level outcome areas, grouped under four spending areas.