Alberta Human Rights Commission marks 50 years
50 years: upholding human rights in Alberta
The year 2023 represents a major milestone for human rights in Alberta, marking 50 years since the Commission’s establishment and the enactment of legislation that formed the basis of the Alberta Human Rights Act we know today.
Since 1973, the Commission-and understanding of human rights in Alberta-has come a long way.
- We have increased our collaboration with non-profit organizations, employers and businesses, unions, civil society, all levels of government, legal professionals and justice sector organizations, post-secondary institutions, community groups, coalitions, and networks.
- We have seen many changes to the Act, including the addition of new grounds to protect those with physical disabilities and mental disabilities, recognize Indigenous spirituality, prohibit sexual harassment, recognize equal pay for equal work, and much more.
- For more than 30 years, we oversaw the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, a fund that provided grants to community organizations for projects that fostered equality and reduced discrimination and supported educational initiatives. In that time, we administered more than $20 million in grant funding and supported non-profit organizations and public institutions to reduce individual, institutional, and systemic racism and discrimination so that all Albertans could fully participate in all aspects of society without discrimination.
- Over the past 25 years, the Commission has resolved more than 18,000 human rights complaints in Alberta. In 2019, we launched the Case Inventory Resolution Project to manage the growing number of complaints that had been waiting a significant time in our system. This project concluded in 2021, closing more than 1,300 complaints. Since then, we have revised the complaints process to incorporate the learnings from the project. Combined, these efforts have helped reduce the time it takes to resolve complaints of discrimination.
- In 2021, with community feedback, we launched our Indigenous Human Rights Strategy. This strategy aims to address and reduce systemic discrimination against Indigenous people; to ensure our programs, services, and operations are accessible, meaningful, responsive, and culturally relevant to Indigenous people; and to strengthen and expand our relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations. The implementation of this strategy is supported by the Commission’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, comprised of Indigenous individuals from all regions of the province.
While some things have changed over the years, our commitment to human rights has not. We are working to continuously improve our processes to better serve people across Alberta.