Need an Expert? Canada's Human Rights failure on COVID-19

Posted on Monday, October 5, 2020

woman looking out window

Members of the media may directly contact the following expert:

Errol Mendes (English only)
Full professor, Faculty of Law - Common Law Section; Former Director, Human Rights Research and Education Centre.

emendes@uottawa.ca

“When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, everyone was saying that we are all in it together. Six months in, it is clear that we are not. We have seen huge disparities in terms of the impacts of this virus on the elderly, the unemployed and underemployed, women, Indigenous peoples and racialized minorities. In other words, the majority of our population [...]

I was again pleased to see the Speech from the Throne acknowledge that women have faced a larger burden in this, along with the interesting statement that there is going to be a feminist intersectional approach to remedy these inequalities. There was also acknowledgement of discrimination, but nothing much in terms rectifying the employment challenges that racialized groups face in the long term.

Here lies the rub. How do we reconcile ourselves as a country that pays attention to inequality, that tells the rest of the world that we are champions of inclusion and human rights for all, and tell the rest of the world that they should do better? We have a lot of work to do.”


Professor Mendes’ full blog on Canada’s human rights failures on COVID can be found here.

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