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Canadian Human Rights Commission faces downgrade as international body launches review

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) faces the threat of international embarrassment as an oversight body reviews its «A» status.

The «special review» comes after CBC News and other media outlets reported that the federal government found the CHRC discriminated against its own employees, and after employees pointed out that the commission dismissed a disproportionate number of race-based complaints.

«Canada has long been seen as home to many nations, a champion of diversity and a global leader of human rights,» said Nicholas Marcus Thompson, executive director of the Black Class Action Secretariat.

«But our country is at risk of having that reputation irreparably damaged, with its human rights status now being examined by a United Nations oversight body.»

That oversight body — a subcommittee of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) — reviews the accreditation of national human rights institutions. GANHRI is not a UN body but oversees the relationship between human rights institutions and the UN, compliance with the UN's Paris Principles and access to UN committees.

In February, the Black Class Action Secretariat, the Canadian Association of Public Employees and a coalition of other unions and civil society organizations submitted a complaint to GANHRI, citing the federal government's conclusion that the commission had discriminated against its employees.

«This decision is unprecedented,» said Thompson. «This now puts us among the ranks of Russia, Iraq and Venezuela who have faced special review.»

In March, the federal government reported that the CHRC had discriminated against its Black and racialized employees. The government's human resources arm, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Read more on cbc.ca