402 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
EXPANDING OUR VISION: CULTURAL EQUALITY AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’
HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
On January 15, 2020, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal released a
report addressing serious access to justice concerns for Indigenous people
bringing human rights complaints to the tribunal. The report, entitled
Expanding Our Vision: Cultural Equality and Indigenous Peoples’ Human
Rights, makes far-reaching recommendations that, according to tribunal
chair Diana Juricevic, could transform human rights in this province.
Report author and long-serving CLEBC contributor Ardith Walpetko We’-
dalx Walkem, Q.C., surveyed over 100 Indigenous people about their experiences
with discrimination and the Human Rights Tribunal. Over-
whelmingly those interviewed reported pervasive levels of discrimination.
Many Indigenous people had no idea that the Human Rights Tribunal
existed, or how to access it. Many said that their experiences of racism as
Indigenous people were so widespread that they did not believe it would
make any difference to file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal.
Expanding Our Vision makes nine recommendations. Removing barriers
to access to the Human Rights Tribunal is not enough. Structural change is
needed to incorporate Indigenous definitions of human rights according to
Indigenous laws. The main recommendations broaden the concept of
human rights, including adding “Indigenous identity” to the B.C. Human
Rights Code as a protected ground and incorporating Indigenous legal traditions
and international human rights principles as reflected in the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which B.C. has
recently committed to implementing through legislation.1
CLEBC staff attended and filmed the press conference and conducted
interviews with Louise Mandell, Q.C., and Amber Prince. The full report
and video clips can be viewed online at <www.cle.bc.ca/bchrt>.
1. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act,
SBC 2019, c 44 (assented to November 28, 2019).