Advising Parliament

The Commission is called upon by Parliament to provide advice on human rights matters. Our expertise is informed through consultations with stakeholders and people with lived-experience, through human rights complaints and case law, and through in-depth research and analysis.

The Commission provided expertise and advice to Parliament on a variety of issues, such as, arguing for stronger action to confront racism, a bolder comprehensive response to online hate, and the elimination of harmful conditions for prisoners.

In 2019, the Commission appeared before Parliamentary committees and made submissions on the following subjects:

  • Promoting disability inclusion — reaffirming our support for the swift passage of Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, while continuing to provide recommendations to Parliament to support its implementation within a human rights framework.
  • Ending solitary confinement — continuing to push the government for better safeguards against the use of solitary confinement in Bill C-83, including in a submission to the Parliamentary committee studying the issue.
  • Modernizing the complaints process — speaking before the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages on modernizing the Official Languages Act, and using the Commission’s first-hand knowledge to highlight the benefits of screening complaints before they are referred to a tribunal.
  • Countering online hate in Canada — providing insights to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as part of their study on online hate, and calling on Parliament to develop and lead a comprehensive and coordinated strategy. The strategy should involve all levels of government, as well as telecommunication and internet providers, social media platforms, civil society, academia and most importantly, victims of online hate.
  • Upholding the rights of trans prisoners — lending expertise to Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, noting the harmful effects of stigma, improper placement, and segregation, and highlighting the need for comprehensive education of staff about the human rights of federally sentenced trans and non-binary prisoners.
  • Understanding the rights of older offenders — together with the Correctional Investigator of Canada, highlighting the challenges and human rights violations faced by older offenders in prison. This resulted in a joint investigation and 16 recommendations to the federal government on how to address human rights issues frequently experienced by older offenders.
  • Speaking out for Indigenous women and girls — the Commission commended the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls for taking a broad human rights and Indigenous rights approach that considered the root causes of the violence and systemic discrimination against Indigenous women and girls within our society.
  • Helping decision-makers recognize unconscious bias — working with various organizations in Canada’s justice system to help raise awareness about how unconscious biases can influence our decisions, and the risks involved if unconscious bias goes undetected and unchecked.
  • Calling for concrete action to confront racism — calling on Parliament to prioritize and address systemic racism in Canada.

pair of hands from behind prison-bars

sun shining through two Indigenous drums