The best of us realize and fully understand that humans are all equal. There isn’t a race, ethnicity, gender, or religion that sets a group of people on a higher more superior stance than others. Others who live with such a conviction justify the abuse and the exploitation of those who are different from them. In today’s world, intolerance means war, it means hate crimes, and in a regular more day-to-day basis, it means discrimination.
|SEE ALSO: Sexual Harassment in Canada|
What Is Discrimination?
The Canadian Human Rights Act denotes their definition of discrimination as actions or movements that restrict the rights of a person, or a group of people, based on that person or those people’s beliefs, skin color, age, gender or any other factor that differs from the viewpoints or beliefs of the one who discriminates. These grounds of discrimination are negative actions displayed in areas such as the workplace, schools, restaurants, stores, or any other place or area where preferences can be given or shown between people. Government regulated companies, its employers and business providers in the private sector are forbidden to discriminate against any individual for these reason.
Discriminatory practices fall under several categories and can be either blatant or subtle. The seven sections of discriminatory practices are against the code of the Canadian Human Rights Act if they should fall under one or more of 11 areas of discrimination. They define discrimination as:
- Refusing anyone services, hospice, merchandise or facilities.
- Giving a person services, hospice, merchandise or facilities in a manner that singles them out in a negative light.
- Denying an individual work, or firing a person, or mistreating a person/ people poorly in the workplace.
- Undertaking any actions that prevent people the opportunity to work.
- Giving men larger salaries than women when they are producing the same amount of work.
- Taking vengeance on a person for making a complaint to the Commission or against anyone who has made the complaint on their behalf.
- Tormenting someone.
Government entities are forbidden to discriminate against anyone working for them. In fact, they must ensure that every consideration is given to the employee to safeguard their comfort in. Comfortable employees perform better than those who are under duress, taken advantage of or persecuted in any way.
Types of Discrimination
Organizations who monitor discrimination in Canada have indicated 11 branches where discrimination is forbidden. These are:
- A remitted accusation of crime, or suspended record.
- Physically handicapped
- Family status
- Marital status
- Sexual preference
- Nationality or Ethnicity
The unusual aspect of ethnic discrimination is that a person of Indian decent would be just as Canadian in speech, dress and actions as a Canadian of European decent, but would be ruled out because of their difference in facial features, or ideas. This is just one example of prejudice because of national differences.
Are people of different colours extremely different? Prejudice against colour is an injustice and usually results from preconceived ideas coming from one set of people about a different set. Getting to know an individual, what they like and how they think is the modern and sophisticated approach for appraising people; not condemning them.
Gay bashing is unfair and not enough of a valid reason to deny anyone working privileges or services. Whether you feel people who have a different sexual outlook are right or wrong is no reason to fight them. A different sexual orientation is every human being’s right and if it offends you then you should just look away. Remember that your rights should never be threatened because of differences of opinion.
Have you ever been injured, or temporarily lost the use of one of your limbs? It was a nightmare, but thankfully it didn’t last. Think about someone who has to live under that difficulty for keeps. They should have the same rights and privileges as people who are born whole, and a little more to help them overcome their misfortune. Try to remember this the next time you see a physically disabled individual.
Have you ever been accused of a crime you didn’t commit? Did you receive hostile looks, or were you accepted and loved just as always when the real perpetrator was found or when the charge was dropped? Put yourself in the position of that person and try to understand that they need a second chance. False accusation, mild lawlessness or being framed can happen to anyone.
Just because you are not as rich as the Vanderbilts doesn’t mean you should be denied certain aspects of high class society. Your economic goals should never be thwarted or passed on in light of someone who is more financially stable than you are. Every individual has a right to succeed regardless of their roots or economic background.
Many people look down on single parents. Oddly enough, some people show more respect for a married man than one who is a bachelor. They use the fact that ‘responsibility’ makes him more ‘respectable’. Hardworking people can be a benefit to their communities, schools, churches, businesses, etc. by what they do for others or their achievements, not their marital status.
During the 9/11 crises a young man of Iranian nationality was running from a blinding cloud of dust. He said he tripped during his flight and fell flat on the ground. Strong hands picked him up. He heard someone say, ‘Hang on my brother, everything is going to be alright.’ He looked up to see a ‘Jewish’ man giving him help. Apposing beliefs should never negatively affect our better judgment.
Racism is the idea that one race or group of people is better than another. Racial discrimination can be very hard to detect. It is based on stereotypes of what people should believe, how they should look and what type of features they should have. Any geographical, religious, social, cultural or historical element that deviates from the so called ‘norm’ of the racist group is deemed taboo or unacceptable.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that racism is a social standard. The ideas are hard to bridge and break. Through its laws and regulations persons of different races are protected and supported. Ontario’s Human Rights Code states that equal rights are to be given to an individual regardless of their differences.
HelpAge International, a Human Rights organization with branches in Canada, Colombia, Kenya and India, has aided 1.5 million underprivileged elderly people and their families by upgrading pension plans in 14 countries and gaining better health privileges for more than 250,000 mature persons. The goal and mission of HelpAge is to enable the elderly in impoverished areas of the world to live useful, healthy, independent lives. They give assistance with:
- HIV and AIDS victims
- DRR and Climate Change
The organization has found the influence and advice of elderly people were invaluable in many instances of economic and community growth. This is one of the reasons they particularly target the elderly in times of crisis, when they would otherwise be overlooked. Older Aids and disaster victims especially need proper care.
HelpAge solicits support from government factions in these areas to ensure that these people get the proper medical assistance and housing provided in these instances. They have also noted that on many occasions, the advice of older people was only too welcomed when it came to famine, drought and disaster risk situations and areas. The experience and expertise in dealing with these issues enabled volunteers of the foundation to reach and assist a wider range of people. It is only fair that these older people should have just as much financial rights and assistance as the younger generation.
For the first time in U.S. history Barack Obama, a man of both Caucasian and African parentage, was elected president of the United States in 2008. This movement left the world with many questions in mind. It is hoped that a person is selected for a job based on their qualifications. Choosing the best candidate should always be the key. The question the world asked itself during that time was this: was the U.S. captivated by the idea of having a Black President in order to break all cultural and racial barriers and/or to make history or were they putting the best interests of the American people at the forefront by choosing the best candidate? Does it fall under the same category of reverse discrimination whereas a Caucasian Principle would be hired at a collage known to cater to African American students and with only African American staff? This question is highly debatable and deals with the question of morale in contrast with professionalism. If Obama was elected to make history rather than because of his qualification, than it would be unfair to him as well as the citizens of the United States. If he was chosen because he was the best candidate for the job, then bravo! Perhaps we will never know, but it gives us a good example of the issues surrounding reverse discrimination.
In Canada, women earn slightly less than three quarters of what men earn and do not have access to the same rights and privileges for economic advancement or opportunities as males do. This type of discrimination stems from societal cultures and biased ideas. For centuries it was the belief that the women should be the stay-at-home parent and nurturer while the men had a variety of business opportunities and was the bread winner. Although this mind set shifts from time to time, women still remain the prime victims of gender discrimination.
The Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms indicates that no person should ever be discriminated against based on race, age, mental capabilities or ethnic origin. Unfortunately, these mandates are not always upheld and the group that suffers the most from gender discrimination is the women of the Japanese Canadian Community. These women face:
- Higher unemployment than Caucasian Canadian women.
- Suffer negative stereotyping from men who class them as submissive and easy.
- Are victimized on a greater scale because of dependency.
- Suffer from economic limitations because of their language barrier.
- Lose legal status and social security if their marriage fails.
As a result of legal Acts put into effect to protect women’s interests, the gender wage gap is ten percent lower than it was in 1987 and is continually narrowing as the years pass. In addition to this, the Canadian Human Rights Act regulates checks to ensure the fair treatment of all individuals hired regardless of ethnic and/or economical background.
Systemic discrimination is when a company hires according to personal preference rather than the skill and qualifications of the applicant. There are some companies whose hiring processes favor tall women over short ones. The company was predominantly managed by women and it had a definite negative effect on the men who felt overwhelmed and inadequate to these women.
Systemic discrimination can be alleviated by implementing the employment equity program. This program ensures that any minority or psychologically ill-favored class of people excluded from any work place or opportunity for employment are to be included and hired in preference to the workforce that was formerly hired in their place. That means that, for every tall woman hired by the company, a short woman and a male would also have to be hired until there were an equal amount of men, short and tall women.
Learn about workplace bullying in Canada and how to put an end to it.