Winnipeg & Area Human Rights Committee – Annual Activity Report for 2019/2020

2019 – 2020 Annual Report for
PSAC Winnipeg & Area Human Rights Committee
Respectfully submitted by Jennifer Chieh Ho, Chair
Ref:  http://psacunion.ca/human-rights

First of all, I would like to say a few “Thank you” to those who have supported the 2019 – 2020 Winnipeg & Area Human Rights Committee:
– Executive members (Jennifer – Chair, Natalie – Vice Chair and Michelle – Secretary/Treasurer) for their hard work, commitment and dedication
– Self Identified Equity Seeking Members
– Allies
– Regional staff Representative, Lindsey
– PSAC Regional Admin staff, Shelley, Monica and Tesla
– Prairies REVP office

2019 – 2020 Annual Report for
PSAC Winnipeg & Area Human Rights Committee
Respectfully submitted by Jennifer Chieh Ho, Chair
Ref:  http://psacunion.ca/human-rights

First of all, I would like to say a few “Thank you” to those who have supported the 2019 – 2020 Winnipeg & Area Human Rights Committee:
– Executive members (Jennifer – Chair, Natalie – Vice Chair and Michelle – Secretary/Treasurer) for their hard work, commitment and dedication
– Self Identified Equity Seeking Members
– Allies
– Regional staff Representative, Lindsey
– PSAC Regional Admin staff, Shelley, Monica and Tesla
– Prairies REVP office

A new Executive for the Winnipeg & Area Human Rights Committee was elected in May of 2019. Personally, for me, it has been a privilege and pleasure to have worked closely with Michelle and Natalie, and not forgetting Lindsey, staff representative from the Winnipeg Regional Office. The extra dedication that the Executive had shown by meeting outside of regular scheduled meetings is very much appreciated.  There had been challenging times to organise events and meetings but pulled things together and made it possible for our equity seeking members and allies.   Winnipeg is new to me as I am originally from British Columbia and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my experience, to meet new members/activists and learn from everyone.

The HR committee is committed to promote what PSAC strives for pertaining to human rights and social justice, such as 1)  to promote human rights through education and 2) to participate with other groups with similar goals to improve benefits and conditions for disadvantaged people in Canada.  Networking and working with our members, community and other human rights groups is important to achieve our goals.

Meetings/Events:
Since the last Annual General Meeting in May 2019, in addition to the minimum mandate of four membership/allies meetings, the Committee has organised four celebratory and commemorative events where everyone including PSAC staff (allies and equity seeking members) were invited. Guest speakers were invited to all four events which they shared their own personal experiences and goals, which were both inspiring and motivating.  Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and provided feedback and their own experiences voluntarily as well. 

We have invited our allies, PSAC Prairies Regional Council members (Equity Representatives, Women’s and Young Worker’s Representatives), Chair of other HRC in the Prairies Region (Calgary, Regina and Edmonton) to join by teleconference calls for discussion.  We reached out to them as we believe in networking as wide as possible in order to be productive and stand in solidarity with the work we have to do in promoting and defending human rights and social justice.

Jennifer represents the HR Committee to attend the Winnipeg Area Council meetings. Resolutions have been brought to these meetings on behalf of the HRC for discussion and adoption, which were then submitted further to other conferences and conventions.

 June 21 National Aboriginal Day (joined by Guest Speaker, Ruby Langan, UNE National Aboriginal Peoples Representative).  Ruby shared how important it is to support Indigeneous initiatives.

– Ref: https://nationaltoday.com/national-aboriginal-day/ Canada’s National Aboriginal Day gives us a chance to recognize the many achievements of the country’s Indigenous peoples. The day also celebrates the distinct cultures and unique traditions of these native communities. Three Aboriginal groups exist in Canada: the Inuit, First Nations, and Metis. Recent statistics put their population at just under 1.7 million. Festivities celebrating National Aboriginal Day are held all throughout Canada every year on June 21.

October 9 Mental Illness Awareness Week (joined by Guest Speaker, Les Gillis from Anxiety Disorder Association of Manitoba http://www.adam.mb.ca/Winnipeg
Les shared that mental health issues still face stigma in our society but that we need to know that living with mental health issues requires care and understanding.

Ref:   https://www.camimh.ca/mental-illness-awareness-week/about-miaw/
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada.   

 Dec 11 – Three in one celebration:
 –          Canadian Labour International Film Festival Labour film (CLIFF)
              http://labourfilms.ca/2019-festival/              

One of the short films shown was an 11 minute long film “The Glasgow Women
             Women Strike”; After decades of earning less than their male counterparts,
             Glasgow’s female cooks, cleaners and caregivers launch the biggest Equal Pay
             Strike in UK History
–           End of 2019 Season’s Greetings

–           International Human Rights Day https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-
                human-rights/index.html
(Guest Al Wiebe from United Way).  Al was    
              with us not on behalf of the United Way but   to share his lived experience/peer
              engagement.  Al was a motivational speaker who gave the group an understanding
               of how homelessness is often associated with mental health issues.

Feb 19 – Celebration of Black History Month (Guest speakers, Nadia Thompson and Andre Sheppard  from Black History Month Committee Winnipeg) https://bhmwinnipeg.com/

Nadia introduced the great work the committee has done and what their goals are.  We are excited to see the possibilities of working with them.

Andre educated us with the history of Black History Month and he took us from across Canada; from Provinces to Territories to Provinces.

Staff Representative Lindsey Sparks did an interesting piece  on history and experiences of black inventors as well as the showing of several Youtube videos.

Ref:  https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month.html

The commemoration of Black History Month dates back to 1926, when Harvard-educated African American historian Carter G. Woodson proposed setting aside a time devoted to honour the accomplishments of African Americans and to heighten awareness of Black history in the United States. This led to the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926. Celebrations of Black history began in Canada also shortly thereafter. During the early 1970s, the week became known as Black History Week. It was expanded into Black History Month in 1976.

In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.

In February 2008, Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Senate, introduced the Motion to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month. It received unanimous approval and was adopted on March 4, 2008. The adoption of this motion completed Canada’s parliamentary position on Black History Month.

Conferences/Conventions/Resolutions:

PSAC Prairies Regional Women’s Conference September 2019 – Jennifer, Michelle, Nat and several other HRC members attended the conference.  We met with strong women activists from across the Prairies who had lots of ideas and experiences to share.

PSAC Prairies 2nd Regional Racially Visible Members Conference Nov 2019 – Jennifer, Michelle and several other HRC members attended the conference.  This is the first time for resolutions to be discussed, adopted and referred to conferences and convention.

The HRC had submitted resolutions to both conferences mentioned above which were adopted and will be forwarded to the PSAC National Women’s Conference (April 2020) and PSAC National Equity Conferences (Fall 2020).

PSAC Prairies Trienniel Convention (June 2020) – Jennifer and Michele were elected as delegates to the Convention where we hope to motivate and support our resolutions.

Highlights:

  • We are proud to have adopted a Proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Dec 11 International Human Rights Day event held at the PSAC Winnipeg Regional Office.Allies and equity members who were at the Dec 11 event signed on the proclamation.The Proclamation will be framed and displayed at every HRC meeting

  • We have had meetings where Allies were invited to work with equity seeking group members.We discussed resolutions, exchanged ideas and shared personal experiences.

  • Recruitment of new members is happening at a slow pace
     
  • Network with community organisations is building
     
  • There is currently an existing list of volunteers for the Siloam Mission and Bear Clan Patrol Walk
     
  • Thanks to Lindsey’s assistance in putting the Winnipeg & Area HRC brochure together!We are the first HRC in the Prairies region to have that accomplished. Our brochures are now being shared with committees, locals and community organisations.

Challenges:

  • Recruitment of members to take on committee leadership roles

  • Lack of non executive Members’ participation and engagement in event planning and organising

  • Building a network of lobbyist to lobby local Politicians on local issues
     

In Solidarity,

Jennifer Chieh Ho
Chair

I acknowledge that I live and work in Treaty 1 territory and that the land is the traditional territory of the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Metis Nation.I am dedicated to ensuring that the spirit of Reconciliation and Treaty 1 is honoured and respected.  I respect the Treaties that were made on these territories, I acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and I dedicate myself to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.
 

Reference:  http://psacunion.ca/human-rights

The Public Service Alliance of Canada unequivocally supports the principles of human rights as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

We recognize that there are members who have been and continue to be victimized by discrimination.

PSAC pledges to work toward the achievement of equality for all its members and to eliminate discrimination and increase the participation of disadvantaged groups in the workforce.

We strive to:

  • Promote human rights issues through education.

  • Support collective bargaining proposals to further our human rights goals.

  • Pressure the employer at all levels to end discriminatory practices, implement special measures to eliminate barriers to employment, and redress past and present systemic discrimination which has an adverse impact on our membership.

  • Continue to lobby for changes in legislation to achieve full bargaining rights in the public service and strengthen the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act.

  • Participate with other groups with similar goals to improve benefits and conditions for disadvantaged people in Canada.
     

    Disability issues – Learn more about PSAC’s fight for greater workplace accessibility

    Employment equity – We’re working to change workplace culture and hiring practices

    Indigenous issues – PSAC has been working to protect and defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples for decades

    LGBTQ2+ – PSAC is committed to defending the rights of the LGBTQ2+ community

    Anti-racism – PSAC is committed to fighting racism and promoting employment equity

    Women’s rights – Our union has been able to win important improvements in the lives of women

    Pay equity – Women are still not receiving equal pay for work of equal value

    International solidarity – The labour movement plays an important role in fighting social and economic inequity

    Duty to accommodate – Learn about your employer’s obligation to identify and remove barriers in your workplace