OTTAWA, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - David Langtry, Acting Chief Commissioner of
the Canadian Human Rights Commission, issued the following message to
staff today. In the interest of full transparency, he has decided to
share it with Parliamentarians and the Canadian public:
"Over the past year and a half, I have engaged the entire staff of the
Canadian Human Rights Commission in an ambitious initiative to
re-define our vision so as to better serve Parliament and the people of
Canada. This has culminated in a restructuring of our human rights work
into two basic streams: Protection, and Promotion.
"Protection embraces all aspects of complaint processing, from intake to
investigation to litigation before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
and the Courts. It also includes our work as auditors of compliance
with the Employment Equity Act by federally regulated employers. Promotion includes the work we do to
foster understanding of the Canadian Human Rights Act whether through policy development, education, training, stakeholder
relations, or public outreach.
"One vital area of our Promotion work flows from a recent Parliamentary
amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act to ensure that residents of First Nations communities enjoy the same
protections as other people in Canada. This has been the role of our
National Aboriginal Initiative, a division tasked with raising
awareness of this change and ensuring it is well understood and
"When Parliament passed the amendment in 2008, the Commission received a
commitment to five years of funding to enable this work to proceed.
That funding sunsets at the end of this fiscal year. However, our human
rights work with First Nations communities and Aboriginal organizations
will continue. Since the change, the Commission has received over 500
human rights complaints from Aboriginal people or groups representing
their interests. I have said this before and will say it again: the
challenges facing Canada's Aboriginal peoples constitute one of the
most pressing, if not the most pressing human rights issue of our time.
This work will continue.
"The fact remains, however that like other federal departments and
agencies, since 2010 the Commission has had to meet rising costs,
including salary increases negotiated through collective bargaining,
without a corresponding increase in operational funding.
"Beginning next year, we will be facing a shortfall of approximately
$1.2 million. We have sought to address this in several ways. An
efficiency review has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in
"Sadly, despite these efforts, I have been obliged to notify the
Treasury Board and union leaders of the need for a workforce
adjustment. Today, 25 highly valued members of our staff will receive
affected letters. It is my hope, and conviction, that the vast majority
of these employees will be matched to vacant positions in the
Commission. Others may be matched with positions left vacant through
early retirement or voluntary departure. It is my goal to ensure that
as few as possible face job loss, so that our important work can
continue with minimal disruption.
"I have the great fortune to be working at an organization that brings
together some of the best talent anywhere, one that consistently scores
near the top of public service employee engagement surveys. It is a
great place to work, because we care about our people. And our people
are passionate about their work. It will be a sad day for me, and for
all of us, if we are unable to place some employees. We will be working
to mitigate that outcome, for the benefit of those we serve: Parliament
and the people of Canada."
SOURCE: Canadian Human Rights Commission
For further information:
Canadian Human Rights Commission