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Our human rights advocacy over the years

For over 40 years, the Commission has used the Charter to uphold and defend the rights of all people, as this video shows. (French only)

1977

The majority of complaints received this year involve employment discrimination against women. We release a guide to equal opportunity in employment and organize 80 workshops on this topic.

1979

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation: The Superior Court of Québec finds that it was discriminatory for the Montreal Catholic School Commission to refuse to rent its facilities to a gay group that wanted to hold a convention while students were away.

1982

The Superior Court orders the City of Lachine to compensate a public servant who lost her job because of her language. This decision was the first time a court ruled on language as a prohibited ground for discrimination, and it was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 1988. (French only)

1984

We release our investigative report into allegations of discrimination in the Montréal taxi business, in which we recommend binding and preventative rules to counter racial discrimination.

1988

An investigation into the relationship between racialized people and the police recommends diversifying the police force to improve police services for all Quebecers (the Bellemare report).

1990

We release the report “A Collective Shock: Oka-Kanehsatake, Summer 1990”, recommending negotiation mechanisms and public education for Aboriginal claims.

1993

We organize North America’s first public consultation on discrimination and violence toward gay and lesbian people. This resulted in the report De l’illégalité à l’égalité (PDF, 11.34 MB), published in 1994. (French only)

1995

The Commission wins $3,000 in moral and exemplary damages for two mothers who were denied access to a restaurant because they had children under four years old with them. The Human Rights Tribunal rules that this was discrimination on the basis of age.

1997

The Commission wins an important case on behalf of two City of Montréal employees who experienced discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. The court ruled that women are entitled to accumulate seniority during their maternity leave, even if they are on probation.

1997

In a case brought forward by the Commission on behalf of someone on social assistance, the Court of Appeal rules that it is contrary to the Charter to refuse to rent to someone without verifying their ability to pay, thus clarifying the meaning of social condition as a Charter-prohibited ground for discrimination.

1999

As part of the International Year of Older Persons, we launch an extensive public consultation on exploitation of elderly persons to help identify ways of countering this problem. We published the consultation report in 2001.

1999

We organize a Forum (French only) with conferences and workshops co‑facilitated by street youth, that explores the scope of the rights and freedoms set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, and the Youth Protection Act, in relation to the needs and realities of street children and youth.

2000

In a case defended by the Commission, the Supreme Court of Canada affirms that disability as a prohibited ground for discrimination must be interpreted to recognize that discriminatory acts may be based as much on perception, myths and stereotypes as on the existence of actual functional limitations.

2002

We collaborate with other groups to publish Aboriginal Peoples: Fact and Fiction, an educational tool for teachers that aims to foster better relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living in Québec.

2003

The Commission wins a court case against a person who exploited an elderly man by acquiring nearly all of his savings for her own benefit.

2004

The Commission wins a case at the Human Rights Tribunal involving the integration of a child with a disability in the regular classroom, a ruling that was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 2006 and again in 2009.

2006

A Human Rights Tribunal ruling finds that reciting a prayer in a public meeting of the Laval City Council contravenes the state’s duty of religious neutrality and results in discriminatory prejudice.

2007

The joint working group against homophobia publishes its consultation report (French only). The report’s recommendations led to the 2011 creation of the Government Action Plan Against Homophobia (and Transphobia - since 2017).

2008

The Commission wins an important victory at the Human Rights Tribunal in a case of systemic discrimination against women who applied for positions at Gaz Métropolitain that were traditionally held by men.

2008

Inclusive education: We publish our position on involving students with special needs in the regular classroom (PDF, 646 KB, French only) and suggest a model for re‑organizing education services to reduce barriers to learning for students with disabilities.

2008

The Commission organizes a conference on true integration and the right to work without discrimination (French only), which focuses on employment discrimination toward racialized people and immigrants.

2009

We publish The Judiciarization of the Homeless in Montréal: A Case of Social Profiling, a position paper that contains 14 recommendations to government and the Montréal police service (SPVM), and that proposes detailed policy initiatives for unhoused people.

2010

Our systemic investigation finds that doctors who studied outside Canada or the United States face discrimination on the basis of their ethnic origin in accessing post-doctoral medical training in Québec.

2011

We publish a consultation report on racial profiling and its consequences, which contains more than 90 recommendations for countering the racial profiling of young people in the areas of law enforcement, education and youth protection.

2012

The Commission wins the first Human Rights Tribunal judgment finding a Montréal police (SPVM) officer guilty of racial profiling.

2012

“It's easier when your name is Bélanger, not Traoré.” The Commission releases the results of our study revealing a net hiring discrimination rate of 35% for people whose name identified them with a racialized group.

2012

The Commission states that Bill 78 (the Act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend), a special law enacted to supress the Maple Spring student protests, infringe on freedom of conscience, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association in a number of ways.

2013

The Commission comments on Bill 60 (informally known as the “Charter of Québec Values”), stating that the Bill is a clear setback for human rights and freedoms and is likely to create more opportunities for conflict and disputes.

2014

The Commission reminds the government that its program review process, which could impact the provision of services to the public, must uphold human rights and freedoms and respect economic and social rights.

2015

We release the results of a survey on how Quebecers perceive social diversity and the Charter.

2016

The Commission submits a brief in the National Assembly proposing that amendments to the Youth Protection Act help preserve Indigenous cultural identity.

2017

The Human Rights Tribunal agrees with the Commission and declares a pre‑employment medical questionnaire to be discriminatory.

2017

Youth protection: The Commission publishes a study denouncing an increase in the use of isolation and restraint in youth centres.

2018

An unprecedented study highlights workplace inequity when it comes to racialized employees’ possibilities for professional advancement (French only).

2018

Rights of students with disabilities: The Commission publishes a systemic study that reveals that students with special needs, social maladjustments, and learning disabilities are not properly served within the educational services framework.

2018

Following Walmart’s controversial announcement that it will no longer participate in a Québec program to give on-the-job training to people with intellectual disabilities, the Commission calls for the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies to be expanded to the private sector.

2019

To raise awareness of discriminatory hiring practices among both employers and job seekers, we launch the Recruitment without Discrimination campaign (French only).

2020

Having paved the way for having racial profiling recognized as a form of discrimination (2003), the Commission wins another important court victory for a racialized person who was profiled by the police, and also publishes a review of our 2011 recommendations on racial profiling and systemic discrimination.

2020

The Commission highlights Québec’s recurrent and systemic youth protection problems and proposes concrete solutions to the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection (Laurent Commission).

2020

The Commission calls for a Quebec-wide policy (French only), an action plan and other measures to combat systemic racism and systemic discrimination, and that these take into account the specific realities of Indigenous Peoples, racialized people, Black people and immigrants.

2021

After releasing the third edition of our flagship publication Aboriginal Peoples: Fact and Fiction in 2019 and translating the Charter Made Easy in four Indigenous languages in 2020, we collaborate on a simplified French version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to foster better understanding of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to propose concrete ways of promoting and defending these rights.