How do human rights impact our everyday lives?
Our Canada, My Story welcomes you to make a connection with different people across the country. Meet Ali, Widia, Kevin, Sylvia, Thomas, Shawn and Mona as they share their experiences with human rights. These stories explore what it means to work towards equality, inclusion and dignity for all Canadians.
Their personal stories may remind you of your own experiences and challenges, or those of someone you know. Consider how we are different, how we are the same – and what connects us all.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
"If I had stayed in Somalia, I believe I would not be alive today."
Canada has made an international commitment to protect refugees. Refugees are people who cannot return to their home countries because their lives would be at risk. Refugees often resettle into a new country with different cultures and languages. They face many challenges, including the need to find housing, work and educational opportunities.
Kevin Takahide Lee
New Westminster, British Columbia
“My grandfather, my grandmother would never talk about their internment; it was just too painful.”
When Japanese Canadians were relocated and interned in camps during the Second World War, they were deprived of their freedom and dignity. Their rights were violated in profound ways. Japanese Canadians and their allies have taken steps to obtain redress for these wrongs. Still, historical injustices continue to affect issues of inclusion and equality.
“The Pride Parade is about showing that we’re here, that we exist, that our families are just regular families.”
Families come in many different forms. They all have the right to equal protections, but Canadian law does not always equally define and protect those rights. Because of this, some children face discrimination based on the identities of their parents. People of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities continue to advocate for equal rights and recognition for their families.
“I’m proud to be part of a generation that’s becoming increasingly engaged across Canada.”
The freedom to express ourselves and to discuss important issues with one another is vital to protecting and advancing human rights. This freedom allows us to voice our own identities and to share our perspectives with others. Music is one such mode of expression. Through music, we can address the social and political issues facing Canadians today.
“I like to explore recreating traditions that feel good to me and that honour my culture.”
The right to food means that healthy, affordable food should be available for all. But nutritious food in stores across northern Canada is expensive and often scarce. This means that many northern Canadians do not have the same right to health as southern Canadians. One way to address this issue is to ensure that Inuit have ongoing access to traditional food, known as “country food,” which is essential to their health and wellbeing.
"In our community we talk about embracing people’s differences, valuing people’s differences."
To participate fully in society, people must have equal opportunities. For persons with disabilities, however, many barriers remain. To achieve full inclusion, the abilities and contributions of everyone must be recognized, respected and valued. We should not just tolerate or accept our differences; we should embrace them.
"I think that reconciliation starts first and foremost with awareness and then recognition."
Indigenous peoples across Canada are mobilizing for their rights. Through social movements and diverse forms of activism, they are reclaiming their rights to identity, lands and sovereignty. These actions include informing others about Indigenous histories, raising awareness about current issues, and challenging harmful stereotypes and prejudice.