Despite the existence of various laws and policies that aim to protect human rights, hate crimes are still a persistent problem in Canada. These cases can be attributed to a number of reasons, such as the anonymity of social media, which allows people to express their hateful views freely. Most of the people who use social media to spread hate messages are sometimes confident since they do not fear any consequences befalling them. There is a recent shift in geopolitical events and cultural baggage which has provided a sense of license for people to express their hateful views more freely. This shift is in contradiction to the policies and ideologies of the state. The laws and policies that should protect human rights in Canada include the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other human rights legislation at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels (Government of Canada, 2022). There are also policies and programs of the government and other organizations.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is crucial in the protection of human rights as it outlines the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed to all Canadians, such as freedom of speech, religion, and assembly (Government of Canada, 2022). The charter also outlines the rights to security, liberty, equality before the law, and minority language education rights. There are legal remedies provided by the Canadian Human Rights Act and Provincial human rights codes for people who experience any forms of discrimination that are based on protected grounds such as ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and race. There are also human rights tribunals and commissions that are focused on handling the complaint and providing education and outreach to promote understanding and respect for human rights. The Canadian government has further developed some policies, such as the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Indigenous Women and Girls, aiming at protecting indigenous women and girls from violence and providing support to the affected persons (Government of Canada, 2014). Sadly, despite all these efforts, hate crimes and discrimination are persistent problems in Canada.
In the case of Tess Richey, two Toronto police officers were charged with misconduct or neglect of duty in her homicide case (CBC News, 2018). The investigation found out that the officer failed to search thoroughly for Richey and failed to inform their supervisors of all the details of the case. Such a case raises questions regarding the effectiveness of the existing protocol and procedures for handling missing person cases and whether they need to be reviewed and updated. Laws and policies are often the first steps in the protection of citizens when it comes to human rights. Responsible institutions for the administration of these laws and policies must also act with integrity and accountability. The Tess Richey case is a perfect demonstration of the importance of proper training, appropriate supervision, and effective procedures that will ensure that law enforcement agencies are properly equipped to protect the citizens (CBC News, 2018).
The human rights landscape in Canada is tense, where the law and policies should protect the citizens, and the agencies responsible should properly enforce them and be held accountable. Continuing to work towards a future where human rights are not only enshrined in law but also in practice is crucial. Social media platforms are often allowing for greater anonymity which results in some people spreading hate speech and other forms of discrimination (Moreau & Wang, 2022). Calls for an update of laws and policies reflecting the online arena are being made every day. Balancing between freedom of expression with the need to protect human rights is crucial, and people should be aware of the consequences of breaching these laws.
There has been geopolitical shifts and major global event that continue to greater tolerance for hate speech across the world. Music that is produced, among other content that is available online, has normalized hate speech in some social factions. Such issues need to be addressed to avoid the harm it is causing to the affected people. There is also a need for broader cultural shifts towards respecting every person and equality in order to achieve a truly inclusive and just society. Laws need updating to reflect the changing landscape and ensure there is an absolute protection of human rights. Institutions that are responsible for enforcing these laws and policies need to be held accountable, and continuous efforts should be made to improve the effectiveness of these institutions. Goodwill from the leadership is also needed to achieve this important milestone.
CBC News. (2018, June 13). 2 Toronto police officers charged with misconduct in tess richey homicide case | CBC News. CBCnews. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/two-police-officers-misconduct-tess-richey-1.4702502
Government of Canada. (2014). Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://swc-cfc.gc.ca/fun-fin/ap-pa/action-eng.pdf
Government of Canada. (2022, December 13). Guide to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada.ca. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/how-rights-protected/guide-canadian-charter-rights-freedoms.html#:~:text=The%20Canadian%20Charter%20of%20Rights%20and%20Freedoms%20sets%20out%20those,about%20how%20our%20country%20operates.
Moreau, G., & Wang, J. H. (2022, March 17). Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2020. Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2022001/article/00005-eng.htm