COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
In September 2021, the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan invited the Commission to conduct a systemic investigation into concerns about systemic inequity experienced by members of the College’s community, including those who are Black, Indigenous, and people of colour.
The Commission’s systemic specialists began meeting with students/residents in the College of Medicine, as well as with other stakeholders, to capture the concerns and issues which may need to be addressed. The Commission also opened public participation in this process through an online survey.
That process, undertaken from November 2021-April 2022, lead to the creation of “The Case for a Restorative Response to Perceptions of Systemic Inequity at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine: A Systemic Investigation Summary Report.”
This report, which was released on March 30, 2023, represents the culmination of dozens of hours of interviews, survey results, and a topic area literature review. Based on the views and experiences of stakeholders and information received, the report identifies nine key issues to be addressed that will require collective involvement of the Commission, the College of Medicine, and key stakeholders. As such, the Commission considers this report to be the beginning of a process of improvement – one step in a larger systemic effort to make the College of Medicine an equitable learning organization.
The Commission is committed to continued collaboration with stakeholder groups through multi-party discussions designed to respond to, address, and remove inequity and systemic barriers experienced by students, faculty, and staff at the College of Medicine. This, in turn, has the potential to positively affect the wider health care system in this province and advance medical education in a way that benefits the people of Saskatchewan.
In May 2018, the Saskatchewan Police Commission adopted a policy titled “OC 150 Contact Interviews with the Public”. This policy provides a framework for police officers in Saskatchewan to speak to and engage with members of the public with the intention of gathering information not related to a specific known incident or offence. These interactions are commonly referred to as “street checks.”
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission is reviewing the policy from a rights-based perspective. This review considers the potential for the use of personal characteristics, known as prohibited grounds under The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, 2018 as determining factors for police to engage in street checks. Under the Code, conducting street checks based on prohibited grounds may be discriminatory.
To assess and address the potential for discrimination in street checks, the Commission conducted a systemic investigation, consulting with and interviewing stakeholders about their perceptions of street check policy and practice.
This engagement captured the perspectives of police services leadership, community-based organizations, academics, and researchers. The Commission also reviewed relevant Canadian research and case law that related to and informed the Saskatchewan context.
The ensuing report, as a summary of the research and issues, will be one step in a larger systemic effort. The Commission is committed to working with stakeholder groups, through multi-party discussion, to respond to, address, and discuss police policy in Saskatchewan. The report is expected to be released during the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
In the fall of 2020, the Commission initiated a systemic investigation stemming from concerns of discrimination and inequity experienced by students with reading disabilities in the K to 12 education system in Saskatchewan. The aim was to study how children with reading disabilities, including dyslexia, experience and receive accommodations in classrooms throughout Saskatchewan.
A combination of community and stakeholder consultation, research, and two surveys was used to yield insight into the lived experience of students, parents, caregivers, educational professionals and medical professionals that support those with reading disabilities, how they view and navigate the current system, and ways in which the current practice can be improved upon.
The Commission’s Reading Disabilities report is expected to be released during the 2023- 2024 fiscal year.
SASKATCHEWAN ASSOCIATION OF RURAL MUNICIPALITIES
In June, 2022, the Commission met with Ray Orb, the president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), and SARM Executive Director, Jay Meyer. At the meeting, discussions focused on opportunities for the Commission and SARM to connect to rural municipal leadership.
Suggested areas for partnership and stakeholder engagement included public education presentations, webinars, and articles written for SARM publications.
At a follow-up meeting in October, the Commission committed to working proactively with SARM members and organizations to provide human rights education, information, and resources that support municipal governance. This opportunity will extend the Commission’s reach across the province.
In February, 2023, members of the Commission’s systemic team gave a presentation about The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, 2018 and the Commission’s processes to SARM’s Municipal Oversight Committee. At the meeting, human rights-related issues facing rural municipalities were discussed. The Committee is preparing a more thorough summary of these issues which the Commission will help them address.