Human Rights/Education


History of Human Rights - Canada

Human Rights in Canada: A Historical Perspective
The fascinating story of human rights from 1900-2000 highlighting the highs and lows, big surprises and unexpected twists. Features an impressive array of historical background material, case studies, cross references and anecdotal information. Instructive and entertaining.

Human Rights Story Collection
Explore contemporary and historic human rights stories from Canada and around the world on the Canadian Museum of Human Rights’ website

Canada History Week 2017
The theme for Canada History Week 2017 was human rights and the Canada History Fund at Canadian Heritage engaged Historica Canada to produce this digital magazine

The Evolution of Human Rights in Canada
This June 2012 report from the Canadian Human Rights Commission documents the rights revolution in Canada, and how it transformed social movements, politics, law and foreign policy.

Heritage Minutes
These 60 second vignettes are dramatic interpretations of pivotal events in Canada’s history intended to entertain, educate and encourage further research into Canada's past. Classroom resources, including background information for each Minute and select lesson plans, can be found at Historica Canada. The following episodes have a strong human rights related focus/theme:

  • Jim Egan An early gay rights activist who stood up to discrimination and blatant homophobia in the 1940s.
  • "Boat People" Refugees The story of a family fleeing persecution in Vietnam who found a welcoming home in Montreal.
  • Chanie Wenjack His death sparked the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.
  • Viola Desmond An entrepreneur who challenged segregation in Nova Scotia in the 1940s
  • Nellie McClung The famous suffragette fights for Manitoban women's right to vote (1916)
  • Emily Murphy As a member of the Famous Five, the first female magistrate in Canada (and in the British Empire), led the fight to secure the rights of women as persons throughout the Commonwealth (1929)
  • Jennie Trout The first woman licensed to practice medicine in Canada faces prejudice in the classroom (1871)
  • Agnes Macphail The first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1921 fights for penal reform
  • Jackie Robinson Montréal Royals players and fans welcome the first African American player, marking the beginning of the end of major-league baseball's colour barrier (1946)
  • John Humphrey A Montréal lawyer drafts and wins support for the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights (1947)

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Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms / Canadian Human Rights Act

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Justice Canada)
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Visit this dedicated webpage for a wealth of information and a variety of learning resources including downloadable posters.

Youth Guide to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
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Created by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, this guide discusses fundamental freedoms as well as democratic rights, mobility rights, legal rights and equality right protected in the Charter. It also informs youth of how these rights and freedoms are enforced.

Guide to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canadian Heritage)
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This online guide, revised in 2018, explains the purpose and meaning of each of the Charter’s sections. Orignally published in 2003 by the Human Rights Program at Canadian Heritage (print copies no longer available).

Understanding the Canadian Human Rights Act
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The Canadian Human Rights Commission's series of videos will help you to learn more about the Canadian Human Rights Act and how to file a discrimination complaint. Information is provided in American Sign Language (ASL), captioning and voice-over.

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Human Rights Basics

Universal Declaration of Human Rights-Illustrated Version

Readers of all ages will enjoy this beautifully designed booklet.

Your Life, Your Rights

This plain language booklet was produced by Estevan Diversified Services, Inc. with funding from the Government of Saskatchewan, to explain basic human rights in simple terms

Human Rights Playlist

The Canadian Human Rights Act passed by Parliament in 1977 prohibits discrimination against a person or persons based on their race, ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, family status or disability. This curated playlist from the National Film Board of Canada explores some of the best films dealing with these inalienable, fundamental rights to which all persons are entitled.

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Rights of Children

UNICEF - Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

A child-friendly booklet that explains the CRC


A child-friendly poster version of the CRC

National Film Board of Canada

Watch these animated short films to learn more about children's rights

An Artist
Every Child




Rights of Women

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW)
This guide by UN WOMEN introduces and explains the Convention in plain language for young people

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Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
This UNICEF publication explains the CRPD to children. It's main purpose is to empower children, with and without disabilities, to play their part in challenging discrimination and promoting the Convention's principles.

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Other Resources

Gender Based Analysis (GBA)

Civil Society Organizations - Canada

Civil Society Organizations - International

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