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Human Rights Policy

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HWDSB Human Rights Policy

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) recognizes that protecting human rights is an important part of its mission in empowering students to learn and grow to their full potential in a diverse world. 

What are we doing? 

HWDSB is developing a pillar human rights policy to help everyone understand their human rights, roles and responsibilities in HWDSB learning and working spaces. The human rights policy will serve as an anchor to related policies and further HWDSB’s commitment to foster and maintain a culture of human rights, so that: 

  • Everyone is treated with dignity and respect 
  • Everyone is supported and accepted  
  • Everyone is free from discrimination and harassment 
  • HWDSB’s learning and work spaces are welcoming, respectful, accessible and free from systemic discrimination, harassment and different forms of oppression. 

We are committed to developing a policy that reflect the voices of the communities we serve, specially those that often experience discrimination due to their race, gender, disability, ethnicity, religion, place of origin, ancestry, sex or gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, family status and other reasons. All HWDSB community members (students, parents, caregivers, guardians, staff, volunteers, community partners and community members) are invited to share their perspectives to inform the human rights policy and procedure.  


here are four methods you can make your voice heard. 

    1. What are some of the human rights issues in HWDSB that should be addressed in the Human Rights Policy?   
    2. Currently, there are some ways human rights concerns can be brought forward. Schools and the board have the obligation to address issues in a timely manner.   
      • What is working?   
      • What is not working?  
      • What should we do to improve?  
    3. How can HWDSB best communicate about the new human rights policy and procedure with staff, students and families?  
  • Would you rather send your responses anonymously? Then please use this form- https://ca.research.net/r/HumanRightsPolicyQuestions2021-2022 
  • Participate in a virtual listening session- Check out the schedules and register to the session of your choice. Sessions are available for students, parents/ community members and staff.  
Sessions  Students  Parents/caregivers /
Community members 
HWDSB Staff 
General Session  November 24, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
November 24, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
November 24, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
Indigenous communities  To be determined
Register here 
To be determined
Register here 
To be determined
Register here 
Black/ African Descent communities  November 25, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
November 25, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
November 25, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
Racialized communities  November 30, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
November 30,6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
November 30, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
Faith-based and ethno-cultural communities  December 1, 6pm -7:30pm
Register here 
December 1, 6pm -7:30pm
Register here 
December 1, 6pm -7:30pm
Register here 
Two-spirit & LGBTQIA+   December 15, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
December 15, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
December 15, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
Student Trustees, Student Senate and Student Groups  December 8, 4pm – 5:30pm
Register here 
   
Person with Disabilities   December 16, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
December 16, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
December 16, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
Newcomer/ immigrant and/or English Language Learners  December 9, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
December 9, 6pm – 7:30pm
Register here 
 
 

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Education Act, HWDSB is responsible for ensuring that learning and work environments are safe, inclusive and free from discrimination, bias, harassment and all forms of oppression. HWDSB has a variety of policies and procedures that relate to some tenants of human rights, but there is a need for a pillar human rights policy that sets clear standards and outlines how they will be applied. The HWDSB Human Rights Policy will: 

  • promote and protect human rights within the HWDSB community;  
  • set out rights, roles and responsibilities of students, parents, staff and the HWDSB itself;  
  • establish accountability to remove barriers that may result in discrimination and find resolution when human rights-related concerns occur. 

To further understand the policy development process and better formulate your input, please refer the information and resources below. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need a human rights policy? HWDSB is responsible for ensuring that learning and work environments are safe, inclusive and free from discrimination, bias, harassment and all forms of oppression. HWDSB has a variety of policies and procedures that relate to some tenants of human rights, but there is a need for a pillar human rights policy that sets clear standards and outlines how they will be applied. The HWDSB Human Rights Policy will: 

  • Promote and protect human rights within the HWDSB community; 
  • Set out rights, roles and responsibilities of students, parents, staff and the HWDSB itself; 
  • Establish accountability to remove barriers that may result in discrimination and find resolution when human rights-related concerns occur. 
Why are you engaging and consulting?   Students, staff and families often share that navigating the HWDSB system and finding supports isn’t easy.  Some share that they don’t understand the process of reporting and resolving incidents. To build trusting relationships with impacted communities, specially students and their families, the development of the human rights policy needs to start from listening. This process of engaging with stakeholder is crucial to identify the barriers that students, families and staff are facing and create a policy/procedure that is responsive and address the issues.  

A policy public consultation will also be conducted after the drafting of the policy to gather further input and feedback to inform the drafting of the final policy. The draft policy will be available to the public for 30 days to comment on and provide input/feedback. 

Who will be engaged and consulted?  As much as possible, we want to hear from all HWDSB stakeholders, prioritizing the needs of students at all levels and with a targeted approach to hear from diverse communities that experience discrimination due to disabilities, race, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, economic status and other code grounds. We will be engaging and consulting: Students, Parents/ guardians/caregivers, Staff, Unions, Trustees, Community Advisory Committees, Community partners and Critical friends.
How are you engaging and consulting?  Engagement and consultation will be carried out using: surveyspublic meetings/ focus group discussionsoutreach to specific groups, interviews, written email submissions, audio/video submissions  
How do I get involved?  There are four methods you can get involved 

  1. Complete the human rights policy survey – open until January 5, 2022 
  2. Share your responses to the Human Rights Policy discussion questions by emailing your written, audio or video submissions to humanrights@hwdsb.on.ca.   
  3. Would you rather send your responses anonymously? Then please use this form – https://ca.research.net/r/HumanRightsPolicyQuestions2021-2022 
  4. Participate in a virtual listening session- Check out the schedules and register to the session of your choice. Sessions are available for students, parents/ community members and staff.  
What are the questions that will be discussed in the listening sessions?  The Guiding Question are: 

  1. What are some of the human rights issues in HWDSB that should be addressed in the Human Rights Policy?  
  2. Currently, there are some ways human rights concerns can be brought forward. Schools and the Board have the obligation to address issues in a timely manner.  
    • What is working?  
    • What is not working? 
    • What should we do to improve? 
  3. How can HWDSB best communicate about the new human rights policy and procedure with staff, students and families? 
When will the policy be ready?  Our expectation is that the draft policy will be ready in winter 2022, and the final policy will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval by fall 2022. 
What do I do if I have a human rights issue or complaint now?  There are a number of different ways to raise a human rights concern or complaint, depending on whether you are a student, family, staff member or community member and depending upon the type of complaint. 

Student and families: get assistance by telling a trusted adult in your school (a teacher, principal, vice-principal or someone you identify as a caring adult). If you feel the situation is not resolved through an informal process, you can bring the concern and/or file a complaint through your school superintendent and/or the Human Rights Office by completing the Human Rights Complaint Intake Form or by emailing humanrights@hwdsb.on.ca. Find more information here. 

Staff: Workplace harassment and discrimination are addressed through the Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Policy/Procedure 4.9. Contact human resources or the human rights office. Find more information here. 

Community members: Follow the same process to address concerns or contact the Human Rights Office at humanrights@hwdsb.on.ca 

To learn more about the Human Rights Office, click here 


Important Reminder 

When completing the survey or participating in the listening sessions, or sending submissions, to ensure privacy and confidentiality, share your experiences without providing identifying information about incidents, people and situations. If you have a specific human rights concerns or complaints that you would like to raise currently, contact the HWDSB Human Rights Office by: 


 

Updated on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
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