News items tagged as Equality relate to treatment received by Canadian organizations, individuals and institutions by the federal government.

Syrian seeking refugee status still in limbo years after arriving in Canada

By iPolitics, 9 September 2015

Hussein Rahim had already lost his cousin and uncle — one shot dead, the other missing — when he was arrested by military forces during a protest in his native Syria.

His family paid thousands of dollars for his release, but fear of being detained again as the unrest turned to armed conflict prompted him to seek asylum in Canada. But three years later, the 35-year-old said he remains in limbo, his case unheard and his fate uncertain.

Worldwide attention has focused on the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing the war-torn country. Some have family members living abroad who are trying to sponsor from afar; others, like Rahim, take matters into their own hands. Either way is a difficult process.

Student debt collection to ramp up, according to government documents

By CBC News, 31 August 2015

Hundreds of thousands of university and college students walking onto campuses this week with help from federal loans could find themselves under more pressure than ever to repay billions of dollars in loans and grants.

Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees the Canada Student Loans program, has set more aggressive collection targets after feeling pressure from its political masters to stem the rising amount of student debt the government must write off each year, an amount that topped $300 million just two years ago.

Opinion: Why does Canada jail migrants?

By Vancouver Sun, 31 August 2015

A new multimedia project Never Home: Legislating Discrimination in Canadian Immigration chronicles a decade of drastic immigration changes by the federal government and its devastating effects on families in Canada.

Never Home finds the number of immigration avenues that grant permanent residency — such as those that facilitate entry of skilled workers, refugees or family members — has plunged. The federal government eliminated nearly 280,000 applications under the Skilled Worker Program. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of family-class immigrants dropped 20 per cent, while the number of accepted refugees dropped 30 per cent.

Canada Without Poverty’s Leilani Farha thinks we can end homelessness

By The Globe and Mailn, 21 August 2015

[Leilani Farha] is executive director of Canada Without Poverty – a think tank and advocacy group geared to the daunting task of alleviating poverty in this country. At the same time, she is also the United Nations’ current “special rapporteur” on adequate housing, a position that sees her travel around the globe and comment on key housing problems and crises.

What’s needed the most, she says, is an awareness among policy-makers around the world that everyone is part of the human family, and that they need to have real empathy with those who are suffering. She says they need to put themselves “in the shoes of a single mom with two teenage daughters who has no bathroom. [We should] try to do policy from that place."

Canadian government must work with human rights defenders, Indigenous communities, not against them: United Nations Committee report

23 July 2015 (Montreal, QC) – In a scathing report issued this morning, the United Nations Human Rights Committee said the Canadian government must act to protect the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression and to remove obstacles hindering the work of human rights organizations in the country.

"We're pleased to see that the UN Human Rights Committee has recognized the concerns expressed by organizations across Canada that our government must do more to protect the right to dissent, debate and the protection of human rights in our country," said Tim McSorley, Voices-Voix Coalition co-ordinator.

Media Advisory: United Nations Human Rights Committee to release report on Canada tomorrow, July 23, at 7:30am EST

22 JULY 2015--Tomorrow, July 23, 2015, at 7:30am EST, the United Nations Human Rights Committee will hold a press conference and release its report on the committee's latest review of Canada's adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Members of the Voices-Voix coalition who are experts in human rights and can speak to the importance of this report will be available for comment throughout the day.

Canada set to receive failing grade at first UN human rights review in a decade

For immediate release

July 6, 2015 (GENEVA, Switzerland) – The Canadian government should be preparing itself for a failing grade as it enters its first human rights review at the UN in a decade, says Voices-Voix, a coalition endorsed by over 230 organizations and 5,000 individuals across Canada.

New report says federal government “dismantling democracy”

16 June 2015 (Ottawa) — In a hard-hitting report that documents federal government tactics that undermine Canadian democracy, a coalition of citizens’ groups calls for a fundamental shift in actions and attitudes to promote healthy debate, dissent and diversity.

Voices, a volunteer-led coalition of more than 200 citizens’ groups, has developed more than 110 case studies that ‘connect the dots’, showing a pattern of actions by the federal government to silence critics, stifle debate, diminish knowledge, and dodge accountability.

Dismantling Democracy: Stifling debate and dissent in Canada

Dismantling Democracy: Stifling debate and dissent in Canada documents the abuse of parliamentary rules, the intimidation of public servants, and the defunding and intimidation of organizations that hold views at odds with the government.

From scuttling the long-form census, to muzzling scientists, to cutting funding for evidence-based advocacy, the federal government has pursued a deliberate strategy to repress alternative views.