Today, I am pleased to share our president’s weekly editorial with you and for this week Donna J. Jodhan discusses a very serious issue; she would like to know why is it that the Canadian Human Rights Commission is not stronger when it comes to helping to protect and preserve the rights of Canadians with disabilities!
Happy weekend everyone!
The incomplete picture
By Donna J. Jodhan
Forgive me if I seem to be missing something here; what’s wrong with this picture? In July 2019 Canada passed legislation to herald in an Accessible Canada Act! Very well done but there is something missing to help complete this picture! One of committed accessibility.
Over the years I have had the pleasure and privilege of engaging and interacting with the Canadian Human Rights Commission; an organization that is supposed to ensure that the complaints and concerns of Canadians are quickly and fairly dealt with. In particular, for Canadians with disabilities. This is an organization that has done its best to engage with Canadians with disabilities and it continues to work diligently to build trust amongst groups of persons who are considered to be the most vulnerable.
Sadly enough, the CHRC continues to struggle to process complaints and when one is told that they are still working on complaints submitted in 2020 then I rest my case. In addition, the CHRC continues to struggle when it comes to making its online complaints system accessible and navigable to those who are blind/vision impaired and others.
This may just be the tip of the iceberg for an organization whose spirit is more than willing but its flesh is woefully weak! It keeps attempting to walk the walk but for many reasons; some obvious and others hidden, it keeps having trouble rising from a kneeling position to a firmly walking one.
I will keep my opinion private as to some of the hidden ones but suffice it to say that some of the obvious ones could be that the CHRC needs much more financial support from the Federal Government. It badly needs financial resources to bring its online complaints system up to snuff so that it can be made completely accessible. It needs more Human resources to assist in processing the massive backlog of complaints filed. Above all, it needs to adopt a more aggressive posture of dealing with those respondents who are constantly using delaying tactics to do such things as dampen the efforts of complainants and drag out their complaints to the extent that by the time a complaint gets to Tribunal it may no longer be worth the time and effort.
There is no doubt that several present and perspective respondents are aware of the above and they continue to use these glitches to their advantage. It remains to be seen if anything concrete will change if/when the promised appointment of an accessibility commissioner is made.
For now, complainants remain at the mercy of the struggling system while respondents continue to have the upper hand.
Just my two cents for today.
Image = Canadian Human Rights Commission logo.
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