MONTRÉAL, Jan. 14, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Forty years after its adoption, a majority of Quebecers consider that the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms benefits everyone and not only minority groups or the majority, according to a survey released today.
"Overall, the right to equality is a well-integrated and accepted principle. The level of openness of Quebecers towards disabled people is more than 90%, while 81.2% of respondents agree that inequalities between women and men are never justified," said Jacques Frémont, President of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. "More than two thirds of respondents have a positive attitude towards ethnic and religious diversity."
Mr. Frémont was commenting the findings of a survey on how Quebecers perceive the Charter, the right to equality, discrimination and the duty to accommodate, conducted for the Commission by Pierre Noreau of the Centre de recherche en droit public of the Université de Montréal (CRDP) with researchers from four universities of the province.
Forty years after the adoption of the Charter, the Commission sought to find out if Quebecers supported its key provisions, in particular the right to equality.
"These are encouraging results, in part because younger people, born after the Charter came into force, seem to have well accepted its principles," Mr. Frémont said.
Age, as well as education, and proximity are key factors associated with Quebecers' openness towards diversity, according to the survey. Indeed, proximity to people who are of other origins, other social conditions or other orientations is an important factor influencing the respondents' attitudes.
An analysis of the survey reveals that 68% of Quebecers say they have a positive opinion of people who practice another religion than theirs. Nevertheless, more than 40% of them mistrust people who publicly display their religion.
Also, respondents expressed considerable mistrust, if not intolerance, towards social assistance recipients, indicating that social condition could constitute one of the major factors of discrimination in Québec today.
Finally, the survey reveals that Quebecers recognize the legitimacy of a public intervention with regards to youth protection: 97% of respondents consider it very acceptable or somewhat acceptable that a director of youth protection intervenes on behalf of children in families in trouble.
Jacques Frémont said that the findings of this survey will allow the Commission to better focus its public education programs all the while helping policymakers to better understand human rights issues. Moreover, the raw data of this survey are available on the CRDP Website which will allow those interested to further study the issue.
The Commission would like to conduct similar studies on a regular basis in order to monitor changes in attitudes and opinions of Quebecers. Other organization, notably the French Commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme, regularly publish this type of report, although occasionally focussing of more specific issues such as the fight against racism, anti-semitism and xenophobia.
The 1501 people interviewed between April and June 2015 expressed opinions on several human rights and youth protection issues, including discrimination, the duty to accommodate, equality between men and women, as well as their opinions regarding certain prohibited grounds for discrimination such as social condition, disability, sex, religion, ethnic or national origin and race or colour.
A summary of the major observations of the survey, including findings related to the prohibited ground for discrimination are available on its Website (in French only): www.cdpdj.qc.ca/sondage-2015
The analysis of the survey by Pierre Noreau and the researchers as well as the data are available on the CRDP Website: http://www.crdp.umontreal.ca/?p=2425
The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Commission) ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act Respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.
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SOURCE Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse