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Manitoba Human Rights Commission releases 2017 Annual Report

July 24, 2018

MHRC’s 2017 annual report was tabled in the Manitoba Legislature late last month.

“Almost seventy years since Canada signed on to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it is as clear as ever that we have work to do. We also know that our work today must be guided by what Manitobans want from us. That is why we offer human rights resources that are accessible and in plain language on our new website and publications – and there is no question, that the demand for human rights education is growing”, said John Burchill, MHRC Vice Chairperson.

In 2017, in keeping with its strategic priority to extend the reach of its education programs, MHRC offered free human rights training to superintendents and senior administrators in every school division in the province. This initiative was successful in building the capacity of school administrators to navigate and address human rights issues – based on disability, ancestry, sexual orientation and gender identity – before they encounter complaints. It also enabled MHRC to build stronger relationships with communities across the province and identify areas where more training is needed, including around discrimination against trans and Indigenous students.

“If we are going to change the culture in our schools; if we are going to contribute to reconciliation in this country, we have to prioritize building meaningful relationships with Manitobans in all areas of our province. We must listen and we must call out discrimination when we see it. The recent decision from the Human Rights Adjudication Panel, Ross v. Gillam Motor Inn, confirms that employers must ensure that work spaces are free of negative stereotypes and prejudice and that all are treated with dignity, regardless of the colour of our skin or where we come from”, said Isha Khan, MHRC’s Executive Director.

As in past years, the annual report provides the public with a snapshot of what discrimination looks like in 2017. Complaints by persons with disabilities in the workplace remain at the top of the list, followed by complaints based on ancestry, sex and age. Manitoba also saw an increase in the number of harassment complaints; not surprising given the social movements that are increasing awareness of sexual harassment.

The report highlights the activities of MHRC and, separately, the work of the independent Human Rights Adjudication Panel that hears complaints referred to it by MHRC. The report’s prevalent theme is that MHRC offers a legal mechanism to enforce human rights law but also, that its work to promote the principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights requires trust and collaboration with the community.

“MHRC is charged with the hefty responsibility of promoting human rights and administering a mechanism that ensures equality for all Manitobans. A reflection on our work in 2017 tells us that we can’t just rely on the bravery of individuals to bring forward their complaints. It is now as important as ever that we find innovative ways to address systemic issues, educate the public, and live the principle that we are all born free and equal in dignity and in rights”, comments Burchill.

2017 Annual Report highlights:

  • More than 4000 people contacted MHRC for information about filing a complaint, human rights principles or to request education programs.
  • Almost 1000 of those enquiries were from people who believed that they had been discriminated against based on their ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religious or political belief, family status, source of income or because they are socially disadvantaged.
  • More than 2000 people participated in human rights training.
  • On average, MHRC responds to enquiries from the media once every 2 weeks.

To read the full Annual Report and for more information see:

To arrange an interview, please contact: George Sarides, Assistant Executive Director; 204-945-5815;



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