Human Rights

Canadian Unitarian Council

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has told the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) that it can no longer work for justice in the world. This is an unexpected development given Prime Minister Trudeau’s Mandate Letter directing the Minister of National Revenue to implement a policy to “allow charities to do their work on behalf of Canadians free of political harassment.”

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement

On February 22, 2016, the House of Commons passed a Conservative motion to “reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement” and “call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.” The Canadian government has repeatedly silenced criticism of the policies of the state of Israel, as well as discussion of Palestinian human rights.

Canadian Human Rights Commission and Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Harper government rolled back longstanding human rights protections in Canada by repealing section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).[1] Section 13 prohibited speech inciting hatred of people based on race, religion, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics.

Court Challenges Program

Court Challenges Program

En septembre 2006, le gouvernement Harper a coupé le budget entier du Programme de contestation judiciaire du Canada. Les coupures de financement étant sous l’autorité de l’exécutif seulement, cette décision n’a exigé aucun débat ni ratification de la part de la Chambre des communes.

Public Science

The previous federal Conservative government waged a systematic assault on public science. ​The assault included the natural and social sciences. It was not restricted to government scientists, but ran the full gamut of organizations connected to scientific research: government departments, at arms-length government funded organizations, organizations that funded other research, universities, NGOs and individual researchers who obtained grants through one of the funding agencies, and even included a UN convention conducting research relevant to climate change.

Federal Judicial Appointments

Chambers of the Supreme Court of Canada

An independent and impartial judiciary is a cornerstone of Canada’s constitutional democracy. However, the past decade has seen trends towards political judicial appointments and opaque appointments processes that threaten to undermine the judiciary’s role as protector of the rule of law and facilitator of a robust and diverse Canadian democracy.


Voices-Voix logo

Since 2010, Voices-Voix has been documenting the federal government’s treatment of civil society groups, Indigenous organizations, public institutions, and science.

On June 16, 2015 Voices-Voix released a report synthesizing more than 100 case studies, entitled Dismantling Democracy: Stifling debate and dissent in Canada. The report received widespread public attention and was raised by Liberal and NDP MPs in the House. Conservative Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney responded by alleging that Voices-Voix “supports a terrorist group.”

Voices-Voix itself now joins a list of more than 30 groups and individuals targeted by similar official government statements designed to publicly vilify and smear those who express their right to dissent in Canada.

National Council of Canadian Muslims

National Council of Canadian Muslims logo

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is suing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his chief spokesman, Communications Director Jason MacDonald, after the spokesman alleged that NCCM was connected to a terrorist group. The NCCM filed a notice of libel in January 2014, which quotes the spokesman as saying: "We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas." During a Bill C-51 hearing in March 2015, Diane Ablonczy, MP of the Conservative Party, refers to this statement when questioning NCCM’s executive director about "a continuing series of allegations" that the NCCM is tied to groups that support "Islamic terrorist groups" like Hamas. The NCCM maintained these allegations are false and slanderous, as the NCCM has consistently condemned terrorism of any kind.

Dying With Dignity

Dying With Dignity logo

In 2011, the charitable organization Dying With Dignity Canada (DWD) partnered with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) to support physician-assisted death before the courts as a human rights issue in the landmark case of Carter v. Canada.

Steelworkers Humanity Fund

Steelworkers Humanity Fund  logo

In 2012, the Canada Revenue Canada (CRA) began a “blitz” of reviews of the registered status of charities that are critical of the federal government and promote policy ideas that differ from the government's agenda.