The CASHRA 2019 conference has been approved for 10 hours of CPD credits (including 1.5 hours of client relations /practice management) by the Law Society of Prince Edward Island and 10.5 hours of CPD credits by the Law Society of New Brunswick.​

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances beyond his control, Joe Arvay is no longer able to attend this year’s conference.  In his stead we are pleased to announce that Professor Benjamin Berger has agreed to speak at the Chief Justice Thane A. Campbell Lectureship in the Law and as our opening keynote speaker.

Graphic icon "We Share the Air: Be Scent and Smoke Free"Pre-conference

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Time Event
6:00-7:00 pm Pre-conference Registration

7:00-8:15 pm

Chief Justice Thane A. Campbell Lecture

Speaker: Prof. Benjamin Berger

This event is open to the general public and all are welcome. There is no cost to attend. With the support of the Law Foundation of PEI, this lecture will be accompanied by real-time captioning for the hearing impaired.

8:15-9:30 pm

Reception (cash bar): An opportunity to meet delegates as well as local members of the judiciary and Law Society of PEI.

June 26-27, 2019

Day 1: Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Balancing Rights and Responsibilities

Time Event
8:00 am

Registration, Continental Breakfast and Networking

9:00 am

Mi’kmaq Opening: Julie Pellissier-Lush, PEI’s poet laureate

Words of Welcome  

  • John Rogers, Chair, Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission
  • Charles Dent, Chair, CASHRA
  • Her Honour, the Honourable Antoinette Perry, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island

9:15 am

"The interests of true equality”: Understanding the Intersection of Religious Freedom and Equality

An examination of recent developments in the law of religious freedom in Canada, focusing on what these developments suggest about the role of equality in thinking through a just approach to religious freedom, and what this might mean for the sometimes fraught interaction of religious freedom and equality.

Keynote address by Prof. Benjamin Berger

10:15 am Refreshments and Networking
10:45 am Concurrent sessions

Concurrent session 1A

Monitoring Accessibility in Canada

Under the new federal Accessible Canada Act, Bill C-81, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) will be the lead monitoring body in Canada for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). To effectively implement this function, the CHRC will partner with provincial/territorial human rights commissions and organizations representing and led by persons with disabilities. The Commission is exploring innovative approaches to monitoring beyond reporting. The Yukon Human Rights Commission will share its experience of setting up its Disability Rights Monitoring Initiative, an inclusive self-monitoring program which includes public training and active participation of persons with disabilities in monitoring activities.


  • Keith Smith, Acting Director General, Policy and Communications, Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Bali Epoch, Human Rights Officer, Yukon Human Rights Commission

Concurrent session 1B

en français

L’impact des personnalités difficiles sur l’équité procédurale

De la perspective d’avocats représentant les parties, ainsi que de la perspective d’une Commission des droits de la personne, cette table ronde va explorer comment les Commissions et les parties pourraient gérer les enjeux sur les processus impliquant des parties ayant des personnalités difficiles. La table ronde discutera entre autres :

  • L’équilibre entre l’équité procédurale et le critère de la preuve suffisante;
  • Gérer les parties qui soumettent constamment des documents ou des soumissions;
  • Évaluer la suffisance d’une enquête sans nuire à l’accès à la justice;
  • Tenir des séances de médiation avec des parties difficiles.

Président : Paméla Schiavoni, Avocate et Chef du service des enquêtes à la Commission des droits de la personne du N-B

Panélistes :

(Description in English)

This session will be delivered in French with simultaneous interpretation in English.

Concurrent session 1C

Inaccessible Health Care for Patients Who Are Trans

In August 2014, the Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution calling for “accessible, comprehensive and high-quality care for transgender patients.” Five years later many Canadian jurisdictions have expanded the number of gender-affirming procedures covered by provincial health plans. However, long wait times for medical system required assessments and again for medically-required care, continue to put “trans people’s lives at risk”, says Greta Bauer, an associate professor of epidemiology and bio-statistics at the University of Western Ontario.

In this panel a patient, doctor, and lawyer will explore the risks of these delays for trans people seeking to medically transition from a personal, medical and human rights perspective.

Moderator: Tom Hilton, Education Project Officer, PEI Human Rights Commission


12:00 pm

Lunch and theatrical presentation of “Reconciliation” by Mi'kmaq Legends

1:15 pm

A Restorative Approach to Human Rights

This panel will provide an overview of a restorative approach to human rights. Panelists will describe what it means to approach human rights protection and promotion restoratively and share the difference it is making – the impacts and outcomes – at the Nova Scotia and Northwest Territories Commissions – both of which have incorporated a restorative approach. The panel will be followed by a workshop that will provide more in-depth consideration of the ways in which these Commissions have supported and implemented a restorative approach in their work.

Moderator: Lori St Onge, Director of Indigenous Justice, Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI & Commissioner, Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission

Plenary panelists:    

2:15 pm

Refreshments and Networking

2:45 pm

Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent session 2A
Empowering Participants in the Complaint Process

This workshop will explore the benefits of taking a restorative approach to the inquiry and investigation of human rights complaints. The focus will be on the potential of empowering participants to a complaint to have a voice in the design and implementation of a process that affects them directly, and how doing so positions the parties to find a way forward together that is contextual, holistic and unique to their specific needs.

The workshop will draw upon the experiences of the Nova Scotia and Northwest Territories Commissions developing and implementing this approach. Participants will be supported to consider the implications and possibilities for this approach to their work in protecting and promoting human rights.


  • Seán Hardy, Manager, Dispute Resolution, NS Human Rights Commission  
  • Raegan Mager, Human Rights Officer, NWT Human Rights Commission
Concurrent session 2B
Reporting on International Obligations

Human Rights Commissions and civil society organizations play an important role in the monitoring and reporting of Canada’s implementation of its human rights obligations. This workshop is an opportunity for provincial and territorial commissions to learn about the reporting process and how they can contribute to it. We will discuss how commissions and civil society organizations can identify recommendations made by treaty bodies to Canada, and in preparation for upcoming reviews, examine recommendations in the areas Canadian Human Rights Commission will focus in its parallel reports to the international treaty bodies.  


  • Elizabeth Williams, Chief of Staff, Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Monette Maillet, Deputy Executive Director & Sr General Counsel, Canadian Human Rights Commission
Concurrent session 2C
Sexual Harassment: Creating a Culture of Safer Workplaces

This presentation will explore how employers can create safer workplaces for all employees with the development of advanced inclusion and equity policies and programs. The presentation will also explore opportunities to restore workplace relations, among workers directly involved, as well as bystanders, which have been damaged as a result of the previous environment.

Presenter: Njeri Damali Sojourner-Campbell, Associate, Hicks Morley

3:45 pm
Soar, Adam, Soar - Human Rights for the Boy in the Mirror

Author Rick Prashaw will share stories from his late son's transgender and organ donor journey. His stories will touch on finding human rights in practical places, like a work ID tag, a hospital ICU room, a disability application and more. In Soar Adam Soar, Rick retells Adam’s story alongside his son’s own words. From early childhood, through coming out first as a lesbian and then as a man, and his battles with epilepsy and refusal to give in, this book chronicles Adam’s drive to define himself, his joyful spirit, and his love of life, which continues to conquer all.

Pre-order this book when you register for the conference and an autographed copy will be available for you to pick up after this presentation. A limited number of books will be available for cash purchase ($22.00) at the conference. We encourage advance orders to ensure sufficient copies.

4:30 pm Book signing with Rick Prashaw

Free evening for delegates

Day 2: Thursday, June 27, 2019

Time Event

7:45 am

Continental Breakfast and Networking

8:30 am
The Year’s Top Human Rights Cases

Plenary panelists will provide information and updates on human rights decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as other courts and tribunals across the country.

Chair: Isha Khan, A/Executive Director & Sr Counsel, Manitoba Human Rights Commission


  • Brian Smith, Sr Legal Counsel, Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Raj Dhir, Executive Director & Chief Legal Counsel, Ontario Human Rights Commission (to be confirmed)
  • Kymberly Franklin, Sr Legal Counsel, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
  • Carey Majid, Executive Director, Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission
10:30 am Refreshments and Networking
11:00 am Concurrent Sessions
Concurrent session 3A
Balancing Access to Justice with Procedural Fairness

Human Rights Commissions across the country have varying complaint processes, each with its own mechanisms to enable individuals to bring their allegations forward, and to enable respondents to defend against those allegations. The purpose of the panel is to identify what different steps are taken to gather the substantive information from the parties to allow for a complaint to be fairly assessed, how these steps create delays in the process and how a balance is struck between fair process and delay. This discussion will cover stages of the process from first contact with a potential complainant to completion of the investigation.

Chair: Amélie Aikman, Lawyer/Investigator, New Brunswick Human Rights Commission


  • Kelly VanBuskirk, QC, Lawson Creamer Lawyers
  • John McEvoy, QC, Professor, Faculty of Law at Ludlow Hall, UNB, Labour Arbitrator, and Vice-Chair of the NB Labour and Employment Board
  • Karen Sharma, Director of Investigations and Policy, Manitoba Human Rights Commission
Concurrent session 3B
Accommodating Service Animals and/or Emotional Support Animals   

Canada has no national definition of service animals. Legislation, policies and practices vary among jurisdictions. Attempts to create national standards have led to concerns about increasing barriers rather than creating inclusive environments. This panel will discuss the current challenges and opportunities in Canada and will address such questions as:

  • How can our approach to service animals ensure the rights of people with disabilities to move through life with dignity and respect?
  • What human rights protections already exist and how are they working?  
  • What gaps remain?
  • How does public awareness and understanding need to grow?

Moderator: Monette Maillet, Deputy Executive Director & Sr General Counsel, Canadian Human Rights Commission


  • Russell McCabe, service animal user and advocate
  • Yvonne Peters, Former Chair,  Manitoba Human Rights Commission and member, National Coalition of People Who Use Guide and Service Dogs
  • Sabitha Rajan, Senior Analyst, Canadian Transportation Agency's Centre of Expertise for Accessible Transportation
Concurrent session 3C
Innovative Approaches to Address Systemic Discrimination in Policing and Corrections

This panel will focus on some of the unique systemic remedies that have either been negotiated in partnership with institutions (such as police or correctional authorities) or obtained through tribunals decisions. Human Rights Commissions have only recently begun to address policing and corrections, and many issues are still emerging. The complexity of these issues requires innovative approaches. The panel will focus on three themes:

  1. Independent reviews as a systemic remedy for discrimination in the provision of correctional services.
  2. Data collection as a systemic remedy for discrimination in the provision of police services.
  3. Claims processes to address workplace discrimination and harassment in policing.

Chair: Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission


12:15 pm


1:15 pm
Matson & Andrews: Missing the Forest for the Trees (CHRC v Canada: Reconciliation and the Standard of Review)

Professor Naiomi Metallic will discuss the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Canada (Canadian Human Rights Commission) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2018 SCC 31 (sub nom. Andrews), that holds that the Canadian Human Rights Act complaints relating to discrimination in the ‘Indian status’ rules under the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985 c I-5 are now off limits and must be brought as Charter claims. Professor Metallic will unpack this ruling in light of the long history of discrimination in the Indian Act and the inability of Canadian law and courts to provide effective redress and access to justice to victims of such discrimination. She will argue that the SCC missed a real opportunity for reconciliation.

Presenter: Naiomi Metallic, Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

2:30 pm

Refreshments and Networking

3:00 pm
And Now for the Good News: Human Rights Success Stories

Taking time to share good news allows us to be inspired as we leave this conference and return to the challenges of “the real world”.  In this plenary, presenters will talk about positive experiences and innovative ideas for the future.

Moderator: John Rogers, Chair, PEI Human Rights Commission


  • Tom Hilton, Education Project Officer, PEI Human Rights Commission
  • Isha Khan, Acting Executive Director and Senior Counsel, Manitoba Human Rights Commission

Have a good news story to share? Email by June 1.

4:15 pm Closing Remarks, Feedback & Evaluations

The PEI Human Rights Commission reserves the right to change the content of the conference program as circumstances may require.

The conference will be presented in English with the exception of the concurrent session, “The Impact of Difficult Personalities on Procedural Fairness” which will be presented in French with English interpretation. If this presents a barrier to your participation in the program, e-mail as soon as possible to discuss possible options.

La conférence sera présentée en anglais à l’exception de la séance simultanée « L’impact des personnalités difficiles sur l’équité procédurale », qui sera présentée en français, avec des services d’interprétation en anglais. Si cela représente un obstacle à votre participation à la conférence, veuillez communiquer avec nous aussitôt que possible à l’adresse pour discuter d’options possibles.