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Last January 6, the Nova Scotia group Equity Watch launched its 52-page critique of this province’s human rights regime, along with over 25 recommendations for reform (summary available here.) Among the recommendations is moving to a tripartite system similar to the one introduced in Ontario in 2008. The three agencies are:
· A Human Rights Commission, restricted to policy matters and public education and bringing forward complex issues, like systemic discrimination and racial profiling, to the Tribunal.
· A Tribunal, a direct-access agency dealing with complaints and adjudication. While screening, mediating and promoting settlement, it still allows complainants the possibility of their “day in court.”
· A Legal Support Centre, offering legal advice and representation to complainants
Our guest at this webinar is Kathy Laird, a lawyer and renowned human rights litigator, and the recently-retired CEO of the Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre. She has experienced the Ontario system before and after the 2008 reforms. In 2016, she received the Law Society of Upper Canada Medal for her work in promoting access to justice.