Intro to human rights

  • Video Transcription

    Narrator: We come in all shapes and sizes, from different backgrounds, and beliefs. Whether you know exactly who you are or you’re just starting your journey. At your core, you’re a human being. You exist in the world, and simply by existing, you’re entitled to certain basic rights, your human rights. These are the same rights that every other human has. Your child, your neighbour, a refugee, a farmer. We all get these rights at birth, without exception. Because human rights don’t have to be earned, they’re yours, regardless of who you are, or what you’ve done.

    They exist at three basic levels: International, Constitutional and statutory. You may have heard of the right to education, the right to food, the right to housing. They apply to every single person around the world and they’re enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    You also have rights that are specific to Canada. These are protected by our Constitution, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They include the right to vote, the right to equality and freedom of expression. These rights all dictate how governments should treat people.

    But there’s a third level. Statutory. The laws that dictate how people should treat each other in certain situations. Unless there’s a justifiable reason, these laws protect you from discrimination by other people, or organizations. For example, if you’re looking for a washroom, there should be one you feel safe using. If you’re trying to get medical help, you should be able to make it inside of the doctor’s office. If you’re interviewing for a job, you shouldn’t be rejected because you’re pregnant. And if you’re looking to rent a home, you shouldn’t be turned down because of your race.

    If you live anywhere on the lands now known as British Columbia, your rights are protected by the B.C. Human Rights Code. This code is a shield. It’s a tool to seek help, and justice. It protects you in the areas of employment, housing, and services, like stores, and restaurants. This means people like your landlord, your boss, or your server, can’t discriminate against you based on certain characteristics, or grounds. Things like gender expression, ability, family status, age, religion, the list goes on.

    The Code is here to support you, because you have rights. We all do. And we also have responsibilities. To respect the rights of others. To recognise discrimination. To speak out against injustice. And together, to preserve dignity, respect, and the beauty of the human experience.

Are you looking for human rights teaching resources for your students or children?

We’ve launched a new Human rights 101 learner kit with activities and resources for educators and learners.

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Learner’s kit

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Educator’s guide

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Voiceovers are available in the following languages:

Simply by existing, you’re entitled to certain rights—your human rights.

Intro to human rights

B.C.’s human rights system

  • Video Transcription

    00:00 — 00:03
    (peaceful music)

    00:04 — 00:06
    – [Narrator] Every person
    around the world is entitled

    00:06 — 00:08
    to basic human rights.

    00:08 — 00:10
    The treatment we all deserve

    00:10 — 00:15
    and can expect to receive
    simply by being human.

    00:15 — 00:20
    You have the right to an
    education, no matter how you learn.

    00:20 — 00:22
    The right to get service at a store,

    00:22 — 00:25
    no matter the colour of your skin,

    00:25 — 00:29
    and the right to equal pay
    for work of equal value.

    00:29 — 00:32
    At BC’s Office of the
    Human Rights Commissioner,

    00:32 — 00:36
    we want to be part of building
    a fair and just society.

    00:36 — 00:40
    We try to protect human rights
    and prevent discrimination

    00:40 — 00:42
    from happening in the first place.

    00:42 — 00:45
    But what happens if
    someone doesn’t recognize

    00:45 — 00:46
    or respect your rights?

    00:46 — 00:48
    If you live anywhere on the land

    00:48 — 00:51
    now known as British Columbia,

    00:51 — 00:55
    you are protected by a law
    called the Human Rights Code.

    00:55 — 00:57
    It covers how you should be treated

    00:57 — 01:00
    in areas like employment,
    housing, and services.

    1:01— 1:04
    If you experience treatment that you think

    1:04 — 1:06
    goes against in this code,

    1:06 — 1:10
    BC’s human rights system
    is here to support you.

    1:10 — 1:13
    First, you can file a complaint

    1:13 — 1:15
    with the Human Rights Tribunal.

    1:15 — 1:18
    The tribunal is like a court,

    1:18 — 1:21
    it does not investigate
    discrimination complaints

    1:21 — 1:24
    but resolves them by
    reviewing people’s evidence

    1:24 — 1:27
    and making decisions or helping people

    1:27 — 1:29
    resolve things themselves.

    1:29 — 1:33
    A decision in your favour
    could result in compensation,

    1:33 — 1:36
    new rules or training
    that helps to make sure

    1:36 — 1:41
    no one else will experience
    what you experienced.

    1:41 — 1:45
    You may also need help
    with the complaint process,

    1:45 — 1:48
    the Human Rights Clinic
    may be able to help.

    1:48 —1:53
    Their lawyers and advocates
    offer free legal advice

    1:53 — 1:57
    and can help you decide if
    you should file a complaint.

    1:57 — 2:01
    If you do, they may represent
    you for free at the tribunal.

    2:02 — 2:04
    If your workplace is unionised

    2:04 — 2:06
    and your complaint is about work,

    2:06 — 2:11
    you can also talk to your
    union about filing a grievance.

    2:11 — 2:14
    Sometimes discrimination can
    be larger than one person

    2:14 — 2:16
    and one place.

    2:16 — 2:20
    Human rights can be denied to
    you in a way that’s systemic,

    2:20 — 2:22
    where discrimination
    shows up in different ways

    2:22 — 2:26
    across systems like
    public policies or law.

    2:26 — 02:29
    BC’s office of the Human
    Rights Commissioner

    2:29 — 2:32
    works on systemic human rights issues.

    2:32 — 2:36
    We’re an independent office
    that advocates for changes

    2:36 — 2:41
    to systems and laws that result
    in inequality and injustice.

    2:41 — 2:44
    We also educate people
    about their human rights

    2:44 — 2:46
    and we monitor provincial government

    2:46 — 2:50
    and industry actions to
    make sure all BC residents

    2:50 —2:52
    are treated equally.

    2:53 — 2:57
    Together, we work hand in hand
    to support your human rights

    2:57 — 3:02
    recognising discrimination,
    standing up against injustice

    3:02 — 03:06
    and supporting dignity
    and respect for everyone.

B.C.’s human rights system is made up of:

  • The Human Rights Tribunal
  • The Human Rights Clinic
  • The Office of the Human Rights Commissioner

Learner’s kit

Download the PDF ▼

Educator’s guide

Download the PDF ▼


Voiceovers are available in the following languages:

If you live anywhere on the land now known as ‘British Columbia,’ you’re protected by the Human Rights Code.

B.C.’s human rights system

Introduction to systemic discrimination

This video introduces the concept of systemic discrimination. Understanding helps all of us better identify the roots of systemic discrimination, know when it’s happening, and work towards addressing it.

Educator’s guides

Grades 4 – 9

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Grades 10 – 12

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