Human Rights

Canadian Charities and the Canada Revenue Agency

Update 30 October 2018— After Canada Without Poverty won a landmark case in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on 16 July, 2018, ruling that the CRA’s rules are an unconstitutional limit on free speech, the federal government decided to appeal in August 2018. On October 25, after numerous organizations provided joint comments and recommendations on the new regulations, the Minister of Finance tabled proposed changes to the Income Tax Act, which incorporate the most significant demands of the organizations and the recommendations of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities.

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society - Updated

Updated study: Chronic underfunding of child and family services for 163,000 First Nations children prompted First Nations Child and Family Caring Society to file a discrimination complaint against Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2007. After almost ten years of litigation and 72 days of hearings, an NDP motion may have forced the Liberal government into action. This is a fully updated version of the study first published in 2011.

Excellon Resources, the Canadian Embassy and Ejido community in Mexico

The Canadian Embassy in Mexico supported and prioritized the private business interests of Excellon Resources, a Toronto-based mining company, and failed to properly investigate repeated complaints from affected community members and workers. Policy implications for the Liberal government.

Ejido communities in Mexico, Blackfire Explorations & the Canadian Embassy

From 2007 to 2010, the Canadian Embassy in Mexico failed to properly investigate numerous and consistent human and environmental rights complaints surrounding the mine operated by Calgary-based Blackfire Ltd. in Chiapas, Mexico. Before, during and after the conflict, the Embassy actively supported Blackfire, including by advocating for the company with Mexican authorities. This contributed to a quickly escalating situation that ultimately led to the death of an anti-mining activist among other consequences. Policy implications for the Liberal government.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

From the moment of Israel (“Izzy”) Asper’s personal initiative to create a Canadian museum dedicated to the Holocaust, to the inauguration of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in 2014, the CMHR has been the focus of debate, dispute and dissent. This case study focuses on the controversy surrounding allegations of interference with curatorial independence of the CMHR by the Harper government between 2008 and 2014, and on the unique vulnerability of ‘ideas museums’ and human rights to instrumentalization by state interests.

Bill C-23 - Preclearance Act

Photo: David Delagarza | AirlineReporter

Bill C-23 would give new and expanded powers to U.S. preclearance officers. The fear of abuse or misuse of these powers, given the shift in the U.S. political climate, has created considerable discomfort for many in any notion of handing over more significant powers to the Trump administration, especially on Canadian soil.

Attack on Digital Privacy Rights of Canadians

Rather than reversing newly legislated state intrusions into digital privacy rights, the Liberal government agenda has effectively encouraged the expansion of digital surveillance of Canadians both at home and abroad. The civil liberties organizations and privacy watchdogs have repeatedly criticized the unnecessary and wide ranging digital privacy elements of C-51 and its establishment of the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act.

Abousfian Abdelrazik

Abousfian Abdelrazik

16 March 2017 - The federal government has settled the lawsuit initiated by Abousfian Abdelrazik over CSIS documents leaked to the newspaper La Presse in 2011, with the alleged intent to discredit him. These documents were subsequently used by the newspaper in a report which contained “inflammatory and false accusations about extremist activities.”

Asad Ansari

Asad Ansari, a Canadian-Pakistani dual citizen, faced the revocation of his Canadian Citizenship under the provisions of Bill C-24 (Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act). Convicted of terrorism charges under section 83.18(1) of the Criminal Code, and therefore facing revocation of his citizenship, Ansari joined the BCCLA and CARL in their challenge of the constitutionality of the law. The law is now in the process of being amended, under Bill C-6 (currently in front of the Senate). Mr. Ansari has retained his Canadian citizenship, but concerns continue to exist that C-6 does not go far enough in protecting other citizens from revocation of status.

Loyalty Oaths and the Public Service

Since 2012, the federal government has instituted a series of legislative and policy changes that threatened the freedom of expression guaranteed to members of the public service, both through their Charter rights as Canadians but also through decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada.