Our 2017-2018 Annual Report was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on October 31, 2018. Below is the letter from the Chair. For a copy of the full report, download a file at the end of this post.
The Commission is just one part of the broader NWT community that is committed to human rights and social justice. In order to get a better understanding of what is happening in the Territory, the Commission met with a number of individuals and community groups involved in social justice work this past year and we will continue to build those relationships to foster a culture of inclusion in the Territory.
This year the Commission spent a significant amount of time working to implement a more restorative human rights system. In February, the Commission sponsored Bruce Schenk, the Director of the International Institute for Restorative Training (Canada), to address plenary sessions and provide workshops on restorative practices at the NWTTA’s 2018 NWT Educators’ Conference. Before the NWTTA conference, Commission members, the Director, adjudicators, human rights staff and members from a number of community organizations participated in a two-day training session to learn more about using restorative practices. Members of the Adjudication Panel were also able to take part in an additional one-day session that focused on their work.
The aim of a restorative practice is to develop community and to manage conflict and tension by repairing harm and building relationships. A restorative approach can be used in both informal interactions as well as
in formal processes. It is an approach that focuses on working with people and assisting them to address their human rights conflicts with each other. The Commission believes that a move to a more restorative approach in all of our work, including our complaint process and how we engage the community, is key to creating and maintaining a culture that values and promotes equality.
We are beginning to see the positive results in the shift to a restorative process, particularly in the Director’s office. As a more restorative approach in the early complaint process is implemented, more people are choosing to sit down together to try to work out their human rights issues. This year almost half of the complaint files closed by the Director were resolved by the parties through alternate dispute resolution.
The Commission is encouraged by these early results and looks forward to continuing to build our relationships with people, communities, and organizations in the Northwest Territories. We will continue to work with Northerners to build a culture of equality across the Northwest Territories.
NWT Human Rights Commission
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