Human Rights are the rights that every person is entitled to, regardless of who they are or where they live.
There are three main sources of your human rights in Saskatchewan: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”), the Canadian Human Rights Act, and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. These laws protect things like the right to vote, the right to practice your religion and express yourself, the right to peaceful protest, and the right to access services free of discrimination (meaning you can’t be excluded just because you are part of a perceived group based on age, sex, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, etc).
What is considered a human right can change and evolve over time. For this reason, the notion of human rights can be a powerful concept to rely on when calling for things that people don’t currently have but should have. Meara believes all people should have access to secure housing, good education and health care, enough to eat, and even access to a job, despite that such things are not currently recognized as human rights under local legislation (despite many are recognized in international law).
But the biggest challenge of all is enforcing your rights. The cost of litigation in our court system is far beyond what the average person can afford. Saskatchewan has the Human Rights Complaint Commission, but it is still an individual complaints-driven process – while it can assist you, it also comes with barriers many find difficult to overcome.
If you have questions about your rights or how to enforce them, contact Meara’s office.