In February, Canada's human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review. The recommendation that Canada develop a national poverty elimination strategy was rejected by the federal government which asserted that this was a provincial or territorial responsibility.
The authorities failed to ensure respect for Indigenous rights when issuing licences for mining, logging and petroleum and other resource extraction. The government continued to make baseless claims that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not apply in Canada. In September, a hearing opened before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal into underfunding of First Nation child and family services, compared with other communities.
The high level of violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls persisted. The Native Women's Association of Canada continued to call for a comprehensive national action plan to address the violence and the underlying discrimination that contributes to it. Despite a stated commitment to stopping the violence, the Canadian government took no steps towards establishing such a plan.
In March, the Federal Court dismissed a challenge to the practice of transferring battlefield detainees in Afghanistan into Afghan custody where they were at serious risk of torture. This decision was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal in December.
In February, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal regarding the Safe Third Country refugee agreement between Canada and the USA which denies asylum-seekers who pass through the USA access to the Canadian refugee determination system.
At least one person died after being stunned by police Tasers during the year, bringing the number of such deaths since 2003 to at least 26.
In February, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) revised its policy on Taser deployment, limiting Taser use to situations where there is a "threat to public or officer safety".
A public inquiry into the death in 2007 of Robert Dziekanski after he was stunned by a Taser continued in British Columbia. The provincial government accepted all the recommendations in the inquiry's July interim report, including raising the threshold for police use of Tasers from the standard of "active resistance" to "causing bodily harm".
In October, the RCMP and other police forces across Canada adopted directives that officers should not aim Tasers at the chests of individuals.
In March, the government was ordered by the Federal Court to reverse its decision not to seek clemency for Ronald Smith, a Canadian citizen who was sentenced to death in 1983 in the USA. International justice
In May, Désiré Munyaneza, a Rwandan national, was sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by a court in Quebec. In November, the government charged a second Rwandan national, Jacques Mungwarere, with genocide.
A new corporate social responsibility strategy announced by the government in March failed to include binding human rights requirements. Legislation to develop a human rights framework for the overseas operations of Canadian companies active in the oil, gas and mining sector was pending at the end of the year.
Authorities in a number of countries across the Americas, including Canada, the United States, Mexico, Curaçao, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others, are detaining migrants and asylum seekers in a dangerous and discriminatory manner based solely on their migration status, Amnesty International said today. In doing so, they are pushing people into unhygienic and unsafe environments, contrary to international human rights and public health guidelines.
Amnesty International is urging governments across Canada to establish oversight committees tasked with monitoring the human rights impact of decisions, policies and laws adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to the United States announcement that the country will imminently close its border with Mexico and Canada, Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, said: “It’s hard to imagine travel more essential than the journey an asylum-seeker makes to flee persecution. Yet today’s restrictions, which empower the US to …
Climate change leads as one of the most important issues facing the world, according to a major new survey of young people published by Amnesty International today to mark Human Rights Day.
Amnesty International has today launched Write for Rights, the world’s biggest human rights campaign, which this year champions children’s rights and youth activists.
Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, has written a personal plea to more than 27,000 schools around the world today urging them to allow children to take part in the unprecedented wave of global climate strikes planned for September 20 and 27.
Celebrated global music artist and activist Alicia Keys and the inspirational movement of Indigenous Peoples fighting for their rights in Canada have been honored with the 2017 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award at an evening ceremony in Montreal, Canada.
Decades of resource development and government policy failures have strained the social fabric of communities in northeast British Columbia (BC), Canada, and have put the lives and safety of Indigenous women and girls at great risk, Amnesty International said in a new report.
A massive hydroelectric dam now under construction in the Canadian province of British Columbia violates Canada’s commitments to uphold the human rights of Indigenous peoples, says a new brief by Amnesty International.
Human rights must be a top priority during the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa, said Amnesty International in an open letter to United States President Barack Obama, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The letter was shared with the leaders in advance of the June 29 summit, providing recommendations on the protection of human rights related to migrants and refugees, trade and investment, Indigenous peoples, women and girls, national and public security, climate change, and human rights defenders.