Provincial Aboriginal Human Rights Training Initiative

Project Name

Provincial Aboriginal Human Rights Training Initiative

Project Partners

Lead Agency: Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centers (OFIFC)
Partner: Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to deliver training to front-line staff of Indigenous Friendship Centres so that they can work with their respective communities to raise awareness of human rights and provide information to communities about possible redress for human rights violations. The training will include information about legislative protections and will benefit members of the Aboriginal community, many of whom come from rural or remote communities and experience discrimination.

Legal Topics for Training

The OFIFC has identified a need within off-reserve Aboriginal communities in Ontario for an increased awareness of human rights legislation, knowledge of anti-discrimination protections, and an understanding of the human rights enforcement process. Friendship Centre staff will learn how to help community members take steps to enforce their rights. Participants in the training will become familiar with the services that the HRLSC provides and will be able to help community members access legal supports more easily after completing the training. On a second level, the training provided through this project will be able to inspire and support further community events organized by individual Friendship Centres that will continue to shed light on human rights issues including ways to ensure anti-discrimination protections.

Target Audience

The project will provide training to the front-line staff of key Friendship Centres, as well as senior staff, Board members, community volunteers, youth leaders, key community leaders, and Elders. Friendship Centres will be encouraged to invite front-line workers from other agencies to attend the training.

Key Activities

Delivery of the trainings will take place in key Friendship Centres through face-to-face sessions.The face-to-face training sessions will consist of a 3 hour interactive and engaging presentation and will provide a basic overview of human rights law. The training will include at least 1 hour of group work with participants identifying and discussing specific issues. A post-project evaluation survey will measure the effectiveness of the project ask for suggestions for next steps.

Need for Training

Few Aboriginal people seem to be using the human rights system to address discrimination, despite the high rate of discrimination against them. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has made very few decisions about discrimination because of Aboriginal status, and there has not been a high level of request for HRLSC legal services from Aboriginal individuals.

Increasing community awareness of human rights legislation, anti-discrimination protections, and the human rights enforcement process through a training program focused on leaders in Friendship Centre communities will be an effective way to support and empower community members to discuss and name the discrimination that they face, and to find out about the options available to fight discrimination through the human rights enforcement process.

Innovative Approach

This training project is innovative because it presents a unique opportunity for a conversation about human rights to be introduced in communities where discriminatory practices, instances of discrimination, and human rights violations have been normalized within the wider community. Creating a safe place to have a conversation about these daily realities and to empower community members to identify and name these discriminatory practices and behaviors is a critically important and monumentally innovative endeavor for the OFIFC and HRLSC to be partnering on. Through awareness raising and training, it is anticipated that community members will feel increased confidence in standing up for themselves or their fellow community members in the moment.