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About Us

Vision

Newfoundland and Labrador will be a province in which all people have respect for human dignity and rights, and where everyone will work to protect human dignity and rights.

Who We Are

The Human Rights Commission is an independent at arm’s length government agency that is responsible for promoting an understanding of, acceptance of, and compliance with the provisions of the Human Rights Act.

The Human Rights Act is a provincial law that protects people in Newfoundland and Labrador from discrimination and harassment. The Human Rights Act recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of all people, that we all have equal rights and opportunities and should live free from discrimination and harassment.

Human Rights Commissioners, who have experience with human rights issues and who have an interest in and sensitivity to human rights, are appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council for a 5 year term. One member is designated as Chair.

Human Rights Adjudicators, who possess knowledge or training with respect to human rights law and issues, are appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council for a 3 year term. One member is designated as Chief Adjudicator. Adjudicators preside over human rights complaints that have been referred to a Board of Inquiry. Adjudicators decide whether or not there has been a violation of the Human Rights Act and can order certain remedies. The Panel of Adjudicators is independent of the statutory office of the Human Rights Commission.

Who We Serve

As mandated in the Human Rights Act, the Human Rights Commission serves the interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Human Rights Commission assists individuals, groups and organizations who are concerned with human rights, and provides advice to government concerning human rights.

Mandate

The mandate of the Human Rights Commission is contained in Section 23 of the Human Rights Act which states:

The Commission shall:

  • forward the principle that every person is equal in dignity and rights without regard to a prohibited ground of discrimination;
  • promote an understanding of, acceptance of and compliance with this Act;
  • distribute information and develop and conduct educational programs and research designed to eliminate discriminatory practices related to a prohibited ground of discrimination;
  • advise and assist government departments and agencies of the government and co‐ordinate their activities where these activities concern human rights;
  • advise the government on suggestions, recommendations and requests made by private organizations, groups and individuals where these suggestions, recommendations and requests concern human rights;
  • co‐operate with and help a person, an organization or a group concerned with human rights, whether within or outside the province;
  • report as required by the minister on the business and activities of the commission; and
  • consider, investigate or administer a matter or activity referred to the commission by the Lieutenant‐Governor in Council or the minister.

Given this, the Commission’s lines of business are:

  • Receiving, recording and investigating individuals’ written complaints that allege violations of the Human Rights Act;
  • Promotion of the Human Rights Act;
  • Education and research designed to eliminate discriminatory conduct; and
  • Advising and helping individuals, groups, organizations and governments on matters related to human rights.