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The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is located on ancestral lands, on Treaty 1 Territory. The Red River Valley is also the birthplace of the Métis. We acknowledge the water in the Museum is sourced from Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

Recommendations and actions

Last updated: June 7, 2021

Recommendations and actions
Recommendation numberPhase One Report recommendationActionStatus
1Government of Canada take all steps necessary to ensure that the Board of Trustees is representative of the diversity of Canada, and in particular has not fewer than one Black person and one Indigenous person and one member of the LGBTQ2+ community on the Board at all times in addition to members of other equity groups. Such representation should comprise not less than 1/3 of the total of nine trustees mandated by the Museums Act.
  • Appointments to the CMHR Board of Trustee are the responsibility of the Government of Canada, which is in receipt of the report.
2Government of Canada and the Board of Trustees determine appropriate interim measures to ensure that the diverse perspectives of Canadians, and in particular members of the Black and Indigenous communities, are heard and their perspectives included until the regular cycle of appointments to the Board of Trustees has re-composed the Board as in the previous recommendation.
  • Appointments to the CMHR Board of Trustee are the responsibility of the Government of Canada, which is in receipt of the report.
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees is creating a self-identification questionnaire for Board members, so it has a meaningful way to track the diversity of the Board and to ensure that diverse lived experience is part of the skills and experience matrix used to evaluate the Board’s combined qualifications.
3Government of Canada use its best efforts to appoint a Chief Executive Officer who is a member of a BIPOC community. In the event that the search process does not produce a qualified candidate, it is recommended that the appointment process recommence.
  • Isha Khan was appointed in August 2020 and began her role as CEO on August 17, 2020.
Complete
4Amend the terms of reference for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to require not fewer than one Black person, one Indigenous person (and ideally representatives from First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples) and one person who identifies as LGTBQ2+ at all times, in addition to members of additional equity groups.
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees includes members who identify as women, Black, Indigenous (Métis), person of colour, LGBTQ2+, and as a person with a disability.
  • The terms of reference for this committee were amended in September 2020 to require inclusion of Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, racialized and disability communities in its membership.
Complete
5Review all Board policies to screen for bias, and to ensure that Board policies promote and support equity.
  • The Human Resources and Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees is leading a review of all governance policies. The review is intended to both simplify the governance framework for the Board and ensure the respective practices and policies for which trustees are responsible do not perpetuate systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Policies which govern CEO performance evaluation, accountability and Board education and training are being prioritized for revision.
Ongoing
6Engage the Board in mandatory, ongoing anti-racist and anti-oppression education, both by way of self-learning and through scheduled training sessions.
  • The Board engaged in a facilitated discussion about the history of human rights in Canada at its September 2020 meeting.
  • The Board engaged in implicit bias training at its November 2020 meeting.
  • The Board engaged in a facilitated discussion about Indigenous perspectives with a focus on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice at its January 2021 meeting.
  • In April 2021, staff delivered a presentation to the Board on Indigenous engagement by the Museum, lessons learned from past experiences and what the Museum can continue to do to contribute meaningfully to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
Ongoing
7Set goals for the CEO to promote a culture of equity, inclusion and accountability within the Museum.
  • Performance objectives for the CEO were established by the Board and approved at the September 2020 Board meeting. The following performance objective was included:

    Foster diversity, inclusion and accountability within the Museum and in all areas of its work. Continue efforts to increase the diversity of the workforce and foster inclusion of a broad range of voices and views in governance and decision-making.

  • Ongoing monitoring and discussion is occurring with respect to implementation of the recommendations and work related to a new framework approach to create an equitable museum.
  • Work on decolonizing the Museum’s approach to performance evaluation is also well underway. This process will broaden the scope of the performance measure framework to consider not only the traditional, corporate perception of success but will also identify ways in which we can meaningfully and reliably capture the perspectives of our staff, volunteers, partners, and the community that we serve. New corporate Key Performance Indicators will be established for the whole of the organization and will assist the Board in its oversight function on progress under this framework.
Ongoing
8Require the CEO to engage in meaningful community relations with Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities, and to ensure meaningful community relations with transgender/gender diverse and Two-Spirit communities in particular.
  • CEO performance objectives were established by the Board and approved at the September 2020 Board meeting. The following objective was included:

    Maintain and develop structured links with stakeholders and establish new community partnerships.

    Between September and March, the CEO met with 127 community and stakeholder representatives and groups, reaching out to listen, learn and seek guidance for the path ahead.

Ongoing
9Ensure stakeholder relations continue to include Indigenous communities and that relationships with Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities are developed (in particular trans/gender diverse and 2S individuals).
  • We have an ongoing relationship with many Elders, Indigenous leaders, organizations and community.
  • In August 2020, we participated in a healing ceremony for our staff, led by Elders Fred Kelly and Robert Greene. This was an opportunity for us to learn more about the Grandmother/Grandfather pipe and drum that was gifted to the Museum on opening and to move forward together.
  • Since then, we have feasted the drum in Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox ceremonies, held within pandemic protocols, allowing Elders to attend via video.
  • We continue to honour the objects, artifacts and other pieces entrusted to us to share with the public in our exhibitions, through ceremony.
  • We have consulted with a number of LGBTQ2+ organizations about building stronger relationships of accountability and collaboration.
  • We are working with members of the Two-Spirit community to address gaps in Museum content.
  • We are working with the LGBT Purge Fund to collaborate on a major exhibition and programs.
  • We are working with the members of the Standing Indigenous Advisory Council (SIAC) to identify processes and ideas for more meaningful engagement.
  • We continue to actively engage in discussions with Black community organizations, and individual members of the Black community with the goal of building relationships and informing Museum exhibits and programs. Over the last several months, this work has included:
  • Launch of a Black content review of Museum exhibits and programs, focusing on Black stories through an intersectional lens.
  • Engaging with Black community associations to listen and understand their perspectives. Some small steps at collaboration took place during Black History Month 2021.
Ongoing
10Include a performance objective for every Executive team member that requires commitment to and modelling of anti-racism, equity, and accountability.
  • All Executive positions have been reviewed and now include the following key accountability:

    “Creates a culture that promotes respect, equity, inclusion, and innovation and models anti-racist and accountable behaviours.”

Complete
11Create a Chief Equity Officer and anti-racism practice lead with sufficient budget and staffing to carry duties related to leading the organization to be anti-racism and equitable.
  • A new Director, Equity and Strategic Initiatives position was filled in April. This person reports directly to the CEO and works closely with the Executive management team, leading equity initiatives and other strategies initiatives to build an equitable workplace.
Complete
12Prioritize recruitment of BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ executives and managers.
  • We have recruited two new senior leaders from the LGBTQ2+ community, Vice President, External Relations and Community Engagement and Director, Equity and Strategic Initiatives.
Ongoing
13Allocate sufficient resources to enable a mandatory education training cycle for CEO and staff (to include anti-racism, unconscious bias, decolonization, sexual harassment, etc.).
  • We allocated $250,000 towards education in 2020-21 and have proposed an increase for 2021-22.
  • Since September 2020, staff and volunteers at all levels of the organization have participated in more than 4,100 hours of training including the following programs:
  • Trauma Informed Leadership
  • Implicit Bias / Anti-Black Racism Training
  • The Fundamentals of Sexual and Gender Diversity
  • Anti-Racism and Lessons from Liberation
  • Fundamentals of Anti-oppression / Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Inclusive Language
  • Circles for Reconciliation (leadership only)
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Disrupting Unconscious Bias
  • Workplace Sexual Harassment Training
Ongoing.
14Ensure policies and practices conform with terms of collective agreement.
  • We are actively negotiating a new collective agreement.
Ongoing
15Move immediately to anonymizing resumes/ applications in assessment process.
  • We started anonymizing applications for all positions in August 2020.
  • All interviewers/panelists are required to complete bias training prior to joining interview panels.
Complete
16Recognize in assessment criteria that persons from diverse backgrounds bring different experiences and knowledge that are assets to the Museum.
  • Over the last several months we have conducted an organizational review to assess positions, job descriptions and associated qualifications and compensation to identify areas to improve equity and diversity across the organization, including opportunities to create more clear pathways for advancement.
Complete
17Permit scoring on equivalent experience for certain requirements to recognize transferable skills.
  • We have included equivalent experience language and are carefully considering education and other required qualifications for all positions posted or in development.
Complete
18Screen mandatory requirements for all positions and assessment criteria for implicit bias.
  • We are doing this for all positions posted or in development.
Complete
19Terminate use of full-time and part-time contracts with assigned hours for all new hires (and replace with offers of permanent employment with a six-month probationary period).
  • All positions that were temporary full-time or part-time were converted to permanency, impacting 12 positions. This is largely in Visitor Services as well as Program Delivery, and the museum is in the process of adding more permanent positions to Program Delivery.
Complete
20Prioritize racial equity when using an external recruitment agency.
  • We have prioritized racial equity with the external recruitment agency we are currently working with.
Ongoing
21Review all applications when using an external recruitment agency.
  • We are reviewing all applications when using an external recruitment agency.
Ongoing
22Ensure all hiring committees have at least one BIPOC member, whenever possible.
  • Since August 2020, we have ensured we have a BIPOC person involved in all recruitment processes.
Ongoing
23Analyze employment practices to identify further issues to be remediated.
  • To date, we have focused on staffing and recruitment. We will continue to monitor and develop our human resources practices.
Ongoing
24Evaluate all positions with regard to fluency requirements for both official languages
  • We have started evaluating bilingual fluency requirements for all postings and positions in development. We are developing a strategy to ensure we meet our obligations under the Official Languages Act and ensures the Museum is welcoming, inclusive and attracts a diversity of experiences.
Ongoing
25Ensure pronouns in all internal and external documents are pluralized and non-binary.
  • The Communications and Digital Outreach teams review all non-exhibition public-facing communications for appropriate use of pronouns, and the same review is done by exhibition staff with respect to exhibits.
  • Further consultation is required, especially with regard to French communications.
Ongoing
26Provide visitors with location of women’s, men’s, and universal washrooms on arrival (and ensure appropriate signage).
  • Visitor-facing staff have been consulted and an internal protocol will be developed.
  • The Visitor Guide is available to all visitors upon entry.The Visitor Guide describes the washrooms available per floor, including washrooms for all, and shows the signage iconography currently in use in the Museum wayfinding system.
  • This wayfinding system (including directional signage with braille and raised tactile lettering) is in use on every floor, including at entrances. This signage provides direction to all locations and types of washroom available throughout the building.
  • CMHR’s website describes the availability and floor locations of the gender-neutral, single-room washrooms for all.
  • Signage options are being reviewed.
  • We will be installing feminine hygiene product dispensers in all washrooms, as well as disposal units.
Ongoing
27Adopt the practice of listing preferred pronouns in all correspondence.
  •  An e-mail signature template was created and communicated to all staff, encouraging inclusion of preferred pronouns in e-signatures.
  • Staff have been advised that identification of pronouns is not mandatory, but encouraged.
  • Mandatory training has included “The Fundamentals of Gender and Sexual Diversity,” which included an explanation for why we use pronouns.
Ongoing
28Consult with front-facing staff about including preferred pronouns on name tags.
  • Visitor-facing staff were consulted. There does not appear to be strong support for including pronouns on name tags.
Ongoing
29Review all communications (digital and print) to identify and remove gender binaries.
  • The Communications and Digital Outreach teams review all new communications for appropriate use of pronouns.
  • A systemic review of humanrights.ca has begun, ensuring that any gender binaries are removed.
Ongoing
30Review Indigenous peoples’ content, Black Canadian content and LGBTQ2+ content (with particular attention to 2S voices).
  • A content audit is underway to identify themes and stories which can be added or augmented to improve the inclusivity of the Museum's offerings. The focus will be on Black Canadian experiences through an intersectional lens. The outcome of this project will be an analysis of the current gaps in Black Canadian content and recommendations for change. We have been communicating with local Black community organizations to collaborate on this initiative and to build relationships that will assist with the content review.
  • The content audit recommendations will include a prototype tour/experience to “test” new content and new approaches to content. This may reflect the Phase 1 recommendation to develop a “tour of Black Canadian History” or may have a different focus, depending on the feedback from the content process.
  • We have been in close communication with Two-Spirited People of Manitoba Inc. A cross-departmental working group has been struck, which is actively working with a national group of 2S Elders and leaders to develop new 2S content and initiatives.
Ongoing
31Adopt a general approach with regard to Black Canadian content that makes clear Canada’s history in the oppression of Black Canadians from slavery to the present.Ongoing
32Ensure tours and programs with primarily Indigenous content are delivered only by Indigenous people (including the Kairos blanket exercise).
  • Following consultations with some of the Elders originally involved, we decided to suspend offering the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour in January 2019.
  • We have been considering various opportunities to redevelop the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour in collaboration or in partnership with another Indigenous organization.
  • We have removed the First Peoples’ Rights in a Changing Canada program (which includes the KAIROS Blanket exercise from offer).
Ongoing
33Examine the physical environment in which the Mikinak-Keya tour is delivered to ensure it is delivered in accordance with the teachings of the Elders Circle Seven.
  • We are in the early stages of developing a new concept for the delivery of the content in the Mikinak-Keya tour that will also include additional historical teachings and other information related to the findings of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Ongoing
34Develop a tour for Black Canadian history within 12 months, which includes meaningful community consultation
  • We are in the process of building relationships that will inform future content development. The Black Content Audit currently underway will produce a new concept for a Black Canadian History tour.
Ongoing
35Designate a place for staff and contractors to smudge, pray meditate, converse, or debrief about difficult situations.
  • We have designated and outfit a special “Reflection Space” near the Museum’s classroom space for staff, contractors and volunteers to use for various purposes, including but not limited to smudging or prayer, meditation or to debrief.
  • We will maintain the availability of the Level 2 Ceremonial Terrace for smudging, including its availably to the public.
  • We will maintain the Right to Rest room as a place for staff, contractors and volunteers to use for quiet reflection, personal conversations, prayer or meditation.
  • An Elder-in-Residence program started in March 2021. An Elder is available on site to support staff on a regular basis.
  • We are in the process of hiring and Educator-in-Residence who will focus on developing anti-racism education programs.
Complete
36Require human resources staff to undertake further training (and regular training) on investigating harassment complaints.
  • Human resources staff undertook training in February 2021.
Ongoing
37Train all staff in the area of unconscious bias in harassment investigations.
  • Staff and volunteers engaged in mandatory sexual harassment training in October and November 2020.
  • All staff and volunteers completed training on implicit bias and anti-Black racism in January 2021.
Complete
38Clarify current practice of requiring all staff to report sexual harassment to human resources.
  • This is being done as part of a review of the Respectful Workplace Policy, and in light of Canada Labour Code changes and the new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations.
Ongoing
39Review Respectful Workplace Policy to explicitly clarify harassment complaint process.
  • The Respectful Workplace Policy is being reviewed in light of Canada Labour Code changes and the new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations.
Ongoing
40Produce a Visitor’s Code of Conduct, together with supporting materials and signage.
  • We are in the final stages of producing a Visitor’s Code of Conduct, which will include signage on site, a procedural document as well as supporting materials on the website.
  • The Code was developed in consultation with all front-facing teams as well as with input from other staff.
Ongoing
41Further explore strategies to create additional emotional safety for staff interacting with the public (including doing VIP, donor, and stakeholder tours).
  • We are in the final stages of producing a Visitor’s Code of Conduct and have created a special “Reflection Space” near the Museum’s classroom space for staff, contractors and volunteers to use for various purposes, including but not limited to smudging or prayer, meditation or to debrief.
Ongoing
42Issue a meaningful apology to Black and Indigenous people which is action-based and further explore avenues for reconciliation, including remediation of financial harm in demonstrable cases.
  • The “Creating an Equitable Museum” framework plan released by the Museum on November 5, 2020 includes an acknowledgment of the harm to current and former employees.
  • We have apologized in individual discussions to a number of current and former staff and will continue to demonstrate our commitments to equity publicly through our actions. The CEO apologized December 11, 2020 in remarks to all staff, including contractors and volunteers.
Complete
43Further explore barriers to employment for persons with disabilities.
  • We are exploring ways to re-engage our accessibility work and considering how to resource this as a priority by consulting with our Inclusive Design Advisory Council members and staff who have been engaged in this work.
Ongoing
44Further explore extent to which sexism may operate within the Museum.
  • We are continuing to look for ways to identify and prevent sexism in our workplace. All staff have received training that considers sexism as a form of oppression. A human rights lens is being applied to all human resources-related activities.
Ongoing