What is the Nunavut Human Rights Act?
The Nunavut Human Rights Act (the Act) was passed into law by the Nunavut Legislative Assembly on November 05, 2003. The Act protects the equality rights of Nunavummiut and safeguards an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life free from discrimination and harassment. The Act creates the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal as a place where Nunavummiut can go if they feel they have been discriminated against or harassed by a person, business, agency, or government.
Application of the Act is to be done within an Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) framework. The Act does not add or take away protections provided for in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.
What is Discrimination?
To unlawfully discriminate means to deny benefits and opportunities or to impose burdens, obligations or disadvantages on persons or groups of people based on specific grounds outlined in the Act. They are:
- Race, colour, ancestry, ethnic origin, citizenship and place of origin;
- Religion and creed
- Sex, and Sexual orientation
- Marital and family status
- Pregnancy, including adoption of a child by a man or woman
- Lawful source of income
- Gender expression and gender identity
- A conviction for which a pardon has been granted.
Under the Act anyone who feels they have been treated unequally based on the prohibited grounds can make a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal. For example the Act does not allow discrimination when people are:
- looking for work or are at work;
- accessing goods, services, facilities or contracts that are available to the general public;
- renting or attempting to rent housing; and
- publishing or displaying information or written material.
Here are some examples of possible discrimination:
- A young woman not being hired for the job because she is pregnant could be discrimination based on the basis of sex and pregnancy.
- A hotel refusing to provide a room to a single mother with two children could be discrimination based on family status.
- A business not providing access for a person with limited mobility could be discrimination based on disability.
What is harassment?
In addition to discrimination, it is unlawful to harass anyone based on any one of the prohibited grounds. Harassment is upsetting and repeated behavior which is unwelcome and is based on the grounds set in the Act.
Here are some examples of possible harassment:
- A service provider making comments to someone about their culture could be harassment based on ancestry or ethnic origin.
- A landlord bullying or intimidating a same sex couple could be harassment based on sexual orientation.
- An employer making lewd comments or sexual jokes could be harassment based on sex.
The Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal
If you think you have been the victim of discrimination or harassment the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal can provide a forum for you to assert your case and seek a resolution. Please contact the Human Rights Tribunal at:
PO Box 15
Coral Harbour, NU X0C 0C0
1-888-220-1011 toll free fax
1-866-413-6478 toll free across Canada