The United Nations Human Rights Council is now conducting its comprehensive review of Canada’s compliance with international human rights laws – its Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
A delegation of Canadian civil society groups was in Geneva last month, March 2013, to attend a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council – to tell the Council the truth about the reality of Canada’s human rights record vis-a-vis its obligations with respect to all of the international human rights legal instruments to which it is signatory. This is the second UPR for Canada.
On Monday April 29, 2013 a few of the Canadian NGOs that were there in March – among them the Metro Toronto Chinese & South East Asian Legal Clinic (MTCSEALC), Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change, the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) will be explaining the UPR process and discussing their experiences – together with an online viewing of the actual formal UPR session with the Canadian Government – having just taken place in Geneva on April 26!
Join us for a special FREE panel presentation on human rights advocacy and the UN human rights review process, watch the Canadian Government’s response to the review online, and then take part in a discussion about future options, approaches and possibilities!
Margaret Parsons, Executive Director, African Canadian Legal Clinic
Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto Chinese & South East Asian Legal Clinic
Date - Monday April 29, 2013 Time - 3:00pm to 5:00pm Location - Peter Bronfman Learning Centre – Ryerson University (7th floor – 297 Victoria Street, Toronto)
The event is organized by:
• African Canadian Legal Clinic
• Canadian Civil Liberties Association
• Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change
• Metro Toronto Chinese & South East Asian Legal Clinic.
With the co-sponsorship of the CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice & Democracy and the Ryerson Centre for Immigration & Settlement.
To read more about CCLA’s submissions to the UPR process, click here.
Hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents pay local taxes and use city services, but have no say in who represents them, because they are not yet Canadian citizens.
Recently, the City of Toronto’s Community Development and Recreation Committee put forward a request to review “the opportunity to have permanent residents in Toronto be given the right to vote in municipal elections.”
Join the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office for a panel discussion on the merits of this proposal.
March 20, 2013
10:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Novella Room, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street, Toronto
• Matthew Mendelsohn, Director, Mowat Centre
• Michael Pal, Research Fellow, Mowat Centre
• Jehad Aliweiwi, Executive Director, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office
• Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
• Myer Siemiatycki, Professor of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association at McGill Law presents…
Civil Liberties at the Movies: Last Chance, a film by Paul Emile d’Entremont
From the National Film Board: Last Chance tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
Discussion to follow.
When: Thursday, March 21st, 6-9 pm
Where: Moot Court (Room 100), McGill University Faculty of Law, 3644 Peel Street, Montreal
Canadian Civil Liberties Association at York University (CCLAYU) is hosting a final event on March 8, 2013 to celebrate freedom of expression, a right guaranteed under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This event will be about uniting together as a community to celebrate our differences by showcasing our various skills, identities and talents. The evening will consist of acts, such as musicians, performances, comedic monologues, and speakers. The keynote speaker for this event will be Nathalie Des Rosiers, the General Counsel of Canadian Civil Liberties Association, who is one of Canada’s most influential people. She is known for advising policy makers and the government on the effects of legislation and public policy on civil society. In addition, speakers from People With Aids (PWA) foundation and HALCO, a non-for-profit community-based legal clinic that provides free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario, will discuss the stigma of HIV/AIDS and the legal issues associated with HIV/AIDS. The event is FREE, however, donations would be greatly appreciated!
WHAT: 2 be Free or Not to be Me – CCLAYU Celebrates Freedom of Expression
WHERE: McLaughlin College Junior Common Room – York University Keele Campus
Food safety is increasingly becoming a concern in Canada. As indicated by numerous Canadian polls, consumers are concerned about food safety and consider safe food to be an important food quality. Although Canada is respected around the world for its progressive food safety rules, those rules are not always enforced as they should be. As a result, Canadians must push to stay informed and not let food safety be the “forgotten issue” in Canada.
Join us at our panel discussion to learn more about food safety issues and be an informed consumer!
WHAT: Food (In)Security Panel Discussion WHERE: 1152A Vari Hall (VH), York University, Keele Campus WHEN: 2:00pm
Debbie Field, Executive Director, FoodShare
Debbie Field became Executive Director of FoodShare in 1992, and has helped build FoodShare into Canada’s largest food security organization. She believes passionately in the healing power of food, and the ability of food to strengthen communities and bring people together. For this discussion, Ms. Field will be discussing how the human right to food was achieved through subsidizing basic healthy food.
Sukanya Pillay – Director, National Security Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Sukanya Pillay is Director of the National Security Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and an international human rights lawyer. She has made dozens of missions to conflict zones worldwide in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East; appeared before UN treaty bodies and Canadian courts on human rights issues; and has represented clients or presented expert evidence before administrative and judicial bodies in the US, India, Canada, and Europe. For this discussion, Ms. Pillay will briefly elaborate on the connection between international human rights and food.
Professor Claudio Colaguori, York University
Claudio Colaguori lectures in Sociology and Social Science at The University of Toronto and at York University. His current research interests include crime, media and the new authoritarianism, wrongful convictions and human rights and the agonistic configurations of culture. For this discussion, Professor Colaguori will be addressing the issue of food consumption as a form of corporate biopower.
Delon Omrow, PhD Candidate, York University
Delon is a PhD student at York University. Delon’s previous areas of study include contemporary green criminologies, ecological citizenship and indigenous movements, and community environmental policing. For this discussion, Mr. Omrow will be discussing food safety issues from a “green” criminological point of view.
Professor Livy Visano, York University
Dr. Visano is an award-winning Professor of Criminology specializing in critical criminology, critical legal studies, cultural criminology, youth, and ethnographies. Professor Visano will be the moderator for this discussion.
On February 14, 2012, the federal government unveiled Bill C-30 or the “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.” While the government claims this bill targets criminals and child pornographers, in fact its provisions will impact the privacy rights of all Canadians who use computers, cell phones, GPS devices, and the Internet. The bill is currently on the backburner, but in the meantime, we need Canadians to let the government know we haven’t forgotten about our right to online privacy.
WHAT: The York University Chapter of CCLA will be holding a public speaking engagement on online surveillance and privacy with Micheal Vonn, a lawyer and Policy Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association and an expert on online privacy
WHEN: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 7 pm
WHERE: Room 001 in Health, Nursing, and Environmental Building at York University Keele Campus
About Micheal Vonn
Micheal Vonn is a lawyer and has been the Policy Director of the BCCLA since 2004. She has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Faculty of Law and in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies where she has taught civil liberties and information ethics. She is a regular guest instructor for UBC’s College of Health Disciplines Interdisciplinary Elective in HIV/AIDS Care and was honoured as a recipient of the 2010 AccolAIDS award for social and political advocacy benefitting communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Ms. Vonn is a frequent speaker on a variety of civil liberties topics including privacy, national security, policing, surveillance and free speech. She is an Advisory Board Member of Privacy International.
On Friday, October 19th, 2012, nearly 100 attendees gathered at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law for a one day symposium entitled “The Social Cost of National Security: Assessing the Impact of Global Counter-Terror Initiatives on Canadian Society”. The conference was a partnership between the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Arab Institute — for whom this was their inaugural event — and was hosted by the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto.
The keynote address was given by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Mr. Ben Emmerson, Q.C. The Special Rapporteur emphasized the importance of observing international human rights standards in the implementation of counter-terrorism measures. Ensuring redress for victims of terrorism is important, however protecting the rights of victims does not legitimize violating the rights of others, and in fact only serves to increase the likelihood of retaliation and violence. The protection of the rule of law and human rights are crucial methods in challenging the spread of terrorism. A video of the keynote address can be found below.
>> Click here to read the live blog from the conference
>> Click here to read more about the conference, including a list of speakers and panels
>> Click here to listen to Ben Emmerson speak on CBC’s As it Happens
Mr. Emmerson’s keynote was a fitting start to the day’s panel discussions around the social impacts of counter-terrorism measures. Anil Kapoor, Yavar Hameed and Nathalie Des Rosiers began the first panel discussion by assessing the impacts of counter-terrorism legislation over the past ten years on security, immigration, and privacy, and the dangers surrounding complicity in torture and the use of secret evidence. Barbara Perry, Roch Tassé and Balpreet Singh examined the targeting of specific groups and individuals in the aftermath of 9/11, the role of the media and politicians in spreading Islamophobia and racialised images, and how targeting of specific groups has put a chill on freedom of expression and political dissent.
The afternoon discussions continued with an examination of key institutions and their role in national security, including Canada’s human rights commissions, national security agencies such as CSIS and the Canadian Border Services Agency, and the media. Charles Théroux, Pearl Eliadis and Sukanya Pillay examined how anti-terrorism legislation can lead to unfair discrimination and marginalization of minority communities; the potential “importing” of discriminatory practices under the umbrella of anti-terror initiatives; and the role that human rights institutions, such as the Canadian human rights commissions, could play in promoting social and systemic change.
Carmen Cheung, Reem Bahdi and Craig Forcese continued the discussion on oversight and accountability of national security agencies, looking at the how well the recommendations of the O’Connor Commission of Inquiry have been implemented, the implications of increased information sharing between Canada and the US, and the need to take a critical yet nuanced approach to government oversight mechanisms. The last panel of the day examined the role of the media in thinking about terrorism and counter-terrorism initiatives, and we were joined by Tony Burman, Rick Salutin and Naheed Mustafa. Each of these speakers has a range of experience working with national and international media, and the panel highlighted the important role that the media can play in bridging gaps between communities and bringing light to individual stories, the changing landscape of media in the face of cutbacks and new technologies, and the dangers of perpetuating stereotypes in the news.
Post-9/11 security measures have had a profound impact on individuals and society as a whole. Concerningly, these measures have at times resulted in secret evidence, the use or sharing of information procured from torture, arbitrary and indefinite detentions, racial profiling, and denial of due process and fair trial rights – measures that violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canada’s international legal obligations. This conference gave participants the opportunity to pause and critically reflect on what has happened, but was also a time to re-energize our efforts and keep moving forward in the fight to ensure that fundamental civil liberties and human rights are protected.
On Friday, June 29th, CCLA was proud to join the trans community and its allies in Toronto for the Trans March and Rally. As Toronto Pride describes it, the trans spectrum “refers to anyone whose gender identities do not match the bodies they were born with.” Since 2009, the Trans March and Rally has provided a safe space for people to gather in solidarity and stand up for trans rights. The crowd gathered for the Trans Rally was so big that it was spilling out of Norman Jewison Parkette and onto the surrounding streets. A decade ago, it would have been unimaginable to have a gathering of such size assembled in support of the Trans community, and yet on Friday the crowd was easily in the hundreds. It was a joy to see such a diverse group – the full spectrum of sexualities, genders, skin colours, ages, physical abilities and cultural backgrounds – there to celebrate the freedom to live, love, and be true to yourself.