COVID-19 AND HUMAN RIGHTS
COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis that continues to affect day-to-day life in many ways. This sometimes includes accessing the public services and places that are open to the public. In uncertain and challenging times like these, human rights are paramount. It is critical that people know their human rights, acknowledge the rights of others, and understand their protections under The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. The Commission encourages everyone to keep human rights central in decision making throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the spread of COVID-19, a provincial state of emergency was declared on March 18, 2020. The state of emergency is ongoing. Public Health Orders have been issued by the Chief Medical Health Officer implementing new restrictions on all persons in Saskatchewan.
As of August 6, 2020, indoor and outdoor private and public gatherings of over 30 people are prohibited, except in specific circumstances where 2-meter distancing between people can be maintained, and in accordance with the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.
Visit saskatchewan.ca/covid19 to find out more about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission also maintains a Business Help Line for employers to access: 1-800-667-9249
DISCRIMINATION AND COVID-19
People who have contracted, or are perceived to have contracted, COVID-19 could be considered to have a disability, as defined by The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. As such, discrimination against person who have, or are perceived to have, COVID-19 – for reasons unrelated to public health and safety – may be prohibited under the Code.
Discrimination related to COVID-19 runs contrary to the Code when it involves a prohibited ground, and takes place in what are often called the social areas of life– such as employment, education, and public services.
Employers, as well as housing and service providers, should keep human rights in mind to ensure that any actions they take or restrictions made pertaining to COVID-19 are consistent:
- with the Code,
- with the most recent advice from medical and public health officials, and
- are justified for health and safety concerns.
For more information about COVID-19 and Human Rights go to the links below: