Chapter 2: Human Rights Law

Additional Recommended Readings

Benoit, C., Jansson, M., Jansenberger, M., & Phillips, R. (2013). Disability stigmatization as a barrier to employment equity for legally-blind Canadians. Disability & Society, 28(7), 970–983. Retrieved from

Findings in this mixed methods study show that labour-force participation in legally blind Canadians is very low compared both with those without disabilities and with those having other disabilities. The primary barrier identified by participants was stigma.

Taylor, C., & Peter, T. (2011). “We Are Not Aliens, We’re People, and We Have Rights.” Canadian Human Rights Discourse and High School Climate for LGBTQ Students. Canadian Review of Sociology, 48(3), 275–312. Retrieved from

A national survey study in Canadian high schools revealed that sexual minority students felt neither safe nor respected. The authors opine that ongoing exposure to this situation undermines students’ respect for the Charter of Rights and their faith in adults.

Tang, K. (2003). Internationalizing anti-racism efforts: What social workers can do. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work: Innovation in Theory, Research & Practice, 12(3), 55–71.

Tang has written several articles regarding Canadian perspectives on race discrimination and international human rights conventions. This article provides an overview of the United Nations Convention and argues that international law and police provide an opportunity for social workers to assist their clientele to combat racial discrimination.

Relevant Legislation


Federal and Constitutional:


British Columbia:


New Brunswick:

Newfoundland and Labrador:

Nova Scotia:

  • Human Rights Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 214, amended 1991, c. 12


Prince Edward Island:



Northwest Territories:


Yukon Territory:

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the different types of discriminatory actions? Provide an example of each.
  2. What are the general areas where discrimination is prohibited?
  3. What is one prohibited ground of discrimination that you think is controversial? Discuss the arguments for and against the prohibited ground that you have chosen.
  4. Is there a ground of discrimination you feel should be prohibited that is not? Explain.
  5. A client has just disclosed to you a situation with his employer where his human rights have been violated. Where do you direct your client for help? What do you tell your client about the process for enforcing his rights?