How do you feel your views on human rights and discrimination compare to the way you were raised? What youth-centred issues do you think the new Human Rights Commission should focus on? And how do you think a Human Rights Commission should interact with youth?



Ravi Kahlon
Dear Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism,


RE: BC Human Rights Commission - Youth and human rights


As the Parliamentary Secretary for Sports and Multiculturalism, my story is going to speak directly to you as a double Olympian.  As a Sport Technologist at the International level, I attempted to coach a group of indigenous youth to prepare for the 2014 North American Indigenous Games Canoe Championships.  The end result is that I had three brothers, who had excelled at the provincial level, being denied tryouts and shunned due to their association with myself.  It was discriminatory treatment like this by the Provincial Sport Organization and their partners, that triggered a reaction from me that lead to a meltdown and a diagnoses of High Functioning Aspergers at the age of 38 years old. We would count and record over 50+ barriers put up against us by your very own staff and partners.


Its 2013, Imagine you're a young boy of 15 years, your dad's never been in the picture and your mother recently passed away from cancer - you are now orphaned with two younger brothers.  Olympic style canoe racing became your salvation for the next two years preparing for NAIG, the biggest competition of your life. In fact, imagine youre so good at it, you're the Provincial Aboriginal BC Canoe Champions (you and your brothers) leading up to the final three tryouts for 2014 NAIG. Everything is perfect and then suddenly your grandfather, (your late mother's father) passes away and you must attend his funeral. Unfortunately, you now have an impossible decision to make.  You are being told by the Provincial Coach and the Sport Organization that you must miss your grandfather’s funeral (a cultural event) to attend training camp #2 out of 3, which is scheduled for the same day. What do you do? Of course, with much family pressure and their own desires, the brothers attended the funeral - in lieu of the training camp.


As a result -- Team BC cut them -- and put them on an imaginary auxiliary list. I say imaginary because post - 2014 NAIG Canoe Championships, we know that  three spots (which could have been filled by the three brothers) were in fact open and remained unfilled throughout the competition. No attempts were made to bring them on board after training camp #2, despite their attending training camp #3. No alternatives options were given to them and that led to the 5-day BC Human Rights Hearing.


This is a sample from the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook. The rest of this chapter can be read in the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook available on the iBooks store.


What kind of discrimination have you experienced in the workplace? What did you do about it? If you’re an employer or supervisor, how do you contribute to an inclusive workplace?



Ravi Kahlon
Dear Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism,


RE: BC Human Rights Commission - Discrimination in the workplace


On October 16, 2017 you published discussion topic 4 - Discrimination in the Workplace. You already pointed out, “hearing how discrimination has been, and continues to be, a barrier that leaves many people feeling powerless, angry and left behind.


Powerless





My life story speaks to these feelings that many other people experience. Discrimination can take place in many ways for a person with Autism. Recently the Morning Call published a story called “Pulitzer Prize-winning author: Children with autism 'see things that others miss'”. When I attempted to point out the obvious in what I saw to MLA, Lana Popham, she just blocked me on Twitter. Many times those with Autism are just shunned for saying things they don’t even realize might offend the other person. Such as in the case of the now Honourable Minister. To not be heard or considered of having any value in a conversation is to feel helpless.


In Discussion Topic 1 - Human Rights and You, I wrote to you that “The Tribunal, as it operated, did not look at the full picture regarding the various scenarios/incidents that play into the discrimination complaint.  Rather it hyper-focuses on a singular aspect, resulting in its high failure rate statistically (at least within the province of BC).   You are very accurate when you state “Despite having clear protections under the B.C. Human Rights Code, discrimination in the workplace is still a reality for many British Columbians.”  It is about actions such taken by Ministers such as Lana Popham who appears to be thin-skinned about criticism from anyone with a different point of view.  It is that quick action and a Twitter block that changed me from a lifetime voter of the NDP party, to the Greens who were elected in my riding. It is these subtle actions that turn the public off when you have a Minister who does not appear to accept strong opinions that are not her own. You either agree with her, or you're out.


This is a sample from the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook. The rest of this chapter can be read in the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook available on the iBooks store.

How do you feel the new commission should educate people about human rights under the B.C. Human Rights Code?

Based on your experience, what topics of education would be important to individuals?  What would be most helpful for employers or other organizations? What are the most convenient ways that you use to find information you need in your daily life?

Ravi Kahlon:
Dear Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism,


RE: BC Human Rights Commission - Building Awareness


Building Awareness is a great step in education, however, based on my experiences  already presented you in topic 1 and 2, a starting point would be to:
  • Re-establish the organization's credibility with the public. It seems to have been lost/inaccessible to the citizens of British Columbia and with compelling reasons.
  • Outline what a complainant can expect along the way, in terms of steps, timelines and potential outcomes. Make the technical terms and lingo easier to understand for those who might not read at such a high level of the law's language.


This is a sample from the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook. The rest of this chapter can be read in the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook available on the iBooks store.


What roles do you think the B.C. Human Rights Commission should take on?

Ravi Kahlon:
Dear Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism,


RE: BC Human Rights Commission - The Commission’s Role


I would like the B.C. Human Rights Commission to take on a role in addressing the  institutionalized and systemic discrimination inherent within it’s Organization. Like many organizations today (sport organizations being no different)  they are run by sophisticated members of our society - politicians, lawyers, and local business people. In my story, those influential persons were a lawyer, and the other a skilled speaker for the United Nations in New York. Provincial sport organizations have the ability to hire more lawyers - using the tax payers money - to defend their positions against any Human Rights complaints.   The playing field is lop sided at best and in reality the finances, resources available to them, and expertise are such that the citizen has minimal chance of ever succeeding in this arena.


This is a sample from the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook. The rest of this chapter can be read in the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook available on the iBooks store.

Which of the above Human Rights Code grounds have played a role in your own life?

Discrimination and Retaliation under the Human Rights Code

Ravi Kahlon:
Dear Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism,

RE: BC Human Rights Commission - Human Rights and You

I speak from experience under a) the discrimination and b) retaliation of the Human Rights Code protecting me as a person with a mental disability. Based on my experience, I do not believe the code protected me from discrimination and/or harassment.. The burden of proof required was so high and narrow in scope - it virtually allows any respondent to a complaint to get off on a technicality. The Tribunal, as it operated, did not look at the entire situation of the different scenarios that play into the discrimination, but rather hyperfocused on a singular aspect, which I believe typically results in the statistics regarding its failure rate (in the province of BC) that speak for itself.

  • How many cases were actually won compared to dismissed?
  • How many cases were even accepted to be heard -vs- dismissed before they even started?

My story is a case example in understanding the role of human rights in the lives of British Columbians. As a person with Autism, I have a unique perspective and I shared that in a 5-day hearing in Victoria, B.C. in June 2016.  Self representing myself against the Goliath of publicly funded lawyers was no easy task I assure you. I was left dealing with a system I no longer have confidence in and certainly would not turn to for help in the future. When society no longer sees a system as fair, that system is no longer credible in society. I hope you can bring some change to the differences from before and what you propose to bring forward. If my story can help you understand the challenges faced by regular citizens, than I would be honoured to share it with you.

This is a sample from the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook. The rest of this chapter can be read in the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook available on the iBooks store.

Ravi Kahlon:

Dear Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism,


I would like to personally thank you for the invite to submit written submissions on the BC Human Rights Commission. My name is Jason Anson, a person living with a form of Autism, on ‘Persons with Disability’ (PWD) in the Cowichan Valley. My connection to the topic of human rights is one of personal experience. l would be honoured to meet with you, not only as a stakeholder of my organization Autism in Sport - http://AutisminSport.com , but as a citizen of British Columbia to share my story and feedback.


History and Context


My organization shares stories about those with Autism in Sport to better assist sport organizations be more inclusive. As the founder, what better way to lead, but with my own story of the BC Human Rights Tribunal of the time. My story speaks to Sport and Multiculturalism within society and government organizations including yours and how it is used as a vehicle for Tokenism, rarely if ever benefiting the intended recipients.


This is a topic I felt so passionate about - it would ultimately lead to my diagnosis of High-Functioning Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 38 years old. I was banned by Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO) within BC for my behaviour ( related to my disorder) during a time I didn't even know I had mental health issues.  At the pinnacle of my diagnosis I commenced five Human Rights complaints being filed against various partners of your government organization, including the previous government itself (Her Majesty the Queen) as seen in the Vancouver Sun article “Social assistance deduction discriminates against disabled” [1] - "Jason. You are a good person and history will prove you right!" ~ Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun Columnist


When the Vancouver Sun reported that Attorney General David Eby said the human rights tribunal “model relies on people taking the initiative and having the ability to go file a claim; wait the long period of time it takes to have a decision rendered; and then to enforce it,” [2]  I speak from that experience as my complaints would culminate into a 5 day-hearing in Victoria, B.C. in the summer of 2016.  The initial complaints were filed in 2014.  Over this two year period I would self represent myself, against the Goliath powers of the government organization’s Lawyers (7 lawyers and 5 National Law Firms funded by the taxpayers including the BC Department of Justice lawyers).  During this time I struggled to make all of the accommodations for the BC Human Rights Tribunal to even be able to facilitate the Hearing.  Both the Tribunal, and the Opposition, made no accommodations for the ‘person with disabilities’ filing the complaint.


My story is well documented in my book OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport [3] . Where I speak of having to constantly overcome the barriers each step along the way in my Human Rights Tribunal - but also how those in Opposition used government resources to undermine or attempt to intimidate me, along the way.  They went to the extreme of using public resources such as the RCMP ( tactics that backfired each time) and made the ridiculousness in my story so obvious. The situation would get so bad, I would have to file a complaint with the Public Complaints Commissioner of Canada for the RCMP and the Law Society of BC. I was being beat up along the way by lawyers and I was being hit with every public resource ‘those in power felt they had their disposal’ to try and intimidate me - to stop my message.


This is a sample from the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook. The rest of this chapter can be read in the OUTFOX: The Power of Feeling Included in Sport iBook available on the iBooks store.