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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Saskatchewan

PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS FOR 25 YEARS: 1972-1997

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission celebrated its 25th

anniversary Tuesday, December 9th, with a special event at the

Legislative Building in Regina.



In addition, the Commission also celebrated the 50th anniversary of

The Saskatchewan Bill of Rights, the first general human rights act in

North America.



Donna Scott, Chief Commissioner/Director, recognized the contribution

of Judge Tillie Taylor, the Commission's first Chief Commissioner

(1972 - 1978), and Dr. Morris Shumiatcher, who drafted The

Saskatchewan Bill of Rights.



Scott highlighted some of the Commission's achievements during that 25

years, noting the Commission's involvement in cases that:



established the right of people who are blind to take guide dogs

into public places;



helped to develop the principle that there is a duty to

accommodate;



established that sexual harassment is a form of sex

discrimination; and



established that it is discrimination to differentiate between

physical and mental disability in employee benefits programs.



She also noted the Commission's efforts to combat systemic

discrimination with equity programs in the schools and in the

workplace, and in the Commission's education role.



"We at the Commission envision our role as being more proactive than

reactive; it is a role that emphasizes prevention rather than

intervention," Scott said.



Scott said that an anniversary is an occasion to look at past

achievements, but it is also a time to dream about the future.



"I believe our future lies in large part with our young people. The

process of forming attitudes and values begins early in life.

Education about human rights is important for all people of the

province, but it is particularly critical that young people have an

understanding of their rights and responsibilities."



Justice Minister John Nilson commended the Commission for its work of

the past 25 years.



"I wish I could say that after 25 years of existence, the Saskatchewan

Human Rights Commission is no longer needed," Nilson said. "But that

is not the case. The Commission continues to receive many complaints

of discrimination.



"There may be a day when human rights laws and human rights

commissions are no longer necessary in our society. But I think it is

clear we have not yet reached that goal. Until that day, we need to

support the Commission and the work they do and to celebrate the 25

years they have worked towards a society in which diverse people can

live together with equal dignity and mutual respect."



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For more information, contact:



Donna Scott Donalda Ford

Chief Commissioner/Director Assistant Director

Saskatoon Regina

Phone: (306) 933-5952 Phone: (306) 787-2530
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