The Mainland Human Rights Committee will recognize Equality Days throughout the year with an electronic and interactive Human Rights Equality Puzzle. Each puzzle piece will represent a different day or month that is recognized in Canada and/or internationally. We invite you to check back throughout the year to learn about these important dates and for the unveiling of the puzzle picture on April 17, 2022.
Click to find the June 27th puzzle piece and learn more about Multiculturalism Day.
Click on a puzzle piece!
MHRC Human Rights Equality Puzzle
April 17th - the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Each April 17th we celebrate Canada’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which came into effect on April 17, 1985. Read the Charter.
May - Asian Heritage Month
Each May we celebrate Asian Heritage Month. Please go to the following links to learn more about why we recognize this month and how you can celebrate it in your home.
- Learn: Discover more about Asian Heritage Month, events in Asian Canadian history, and noteworthy Canadians of Asian origin.
- Remember: Watch a video on the importance of activism and using your voice.
- Celebrate: Virtual Asian Heritage Month Festival 2021
May 5 - National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
May 5th has been designated as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to honour those whose lives have been tragically cut short by violence.
Indigenous women in Canada are seven times more likely to be murdered by serial killers than non-Indigenous women. Click here to learn more about about the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
If you would like to raise awareness about this date, please consider doing any of the following:
1) Wear RED on May 5th and post a photo on social media with the hashtag #NationalDayofAwareness #MMIWG or #MMIW
2) Host a virtual event to honour this day
3) Create a living memorial
May 15 - International Day of Families
May 15th is International Day of Families, a date designated to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
Far too often we do not see ourselves reflected in what is considered the gold standard example of families: PSAC and the Mainland Human Rights Committee wants to change that by spending the year celebrating you and your family.
Same-sex parent households, single parents, parents to fur-babies - you get to define what makes your family a family.
All PSAC members are encouraged to send in your pictures or videos of your family to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what makes your family so wonderful so that all of us in your union family can celebrate them too.
May 17 - International day against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) marks the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
IDAHOT aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBTQ2+ rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBTQ2+ rights work worldwide.
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is not one centralized campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action on queer rights.
Emily Craddock (she/her)
PSAC BC Regional Council LGBTQ2+ Rep
June - Pride Month
June is Pride Month and also marks the start of the Pride season of festivals and celebrations held across the country and around the world. Pride celebrates the LGBTQ2+ communities, acknowledges their history and achievements, and supports their rights and recognition that they deserve.
How to celebrate Pride virtually:
- Learn about the history of Pride in Canada
- Host a virtual happy hour with your friends, family, or even your union family.
- Support locallyl owned LGBTQ2+ businesses.
- Donate to LGBTQ2+ organizations within your community.
- Host a virtual LGBTQ2+ film festival with your friends and loved ones.
- Attend virtual events, such as a Drag Queen Storytime.
June - National Indigenous History Month
National Indigenous History Month
Each June Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
We encourage you to set aside some time this month to learn, share, and celebrate their varied traditions and cultures, their stories, and their important contributions to the history of this country.
June 21 - National Indigenous Peoples Day
This June 21st we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day!
Here are some ideas as to how you can virtually celebrate the the rich, varied, and beautiful heritage, cultures and achievements of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people:
- Watch Indigenous films and/or documentaries.
- Listen to music, read a book, enjoy artwork by Indigenous artists.
- Visit a museum collection of Indgenous art and artifacts online.
- Participate in one of the virtual events in your community
- Familiarize yourself with the 94 Calls to Action and make a personal pledge of reconciliation.
June 27 - Multiculturalism Day
Each June 27th we celebrate Multiculturalism Day, however this year is especially noteworthy because it is a milestone year.
The 50th anniversary of the Multiculturalism Policy
In 1971, Canada is the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy, intending to preserve the cultural freedom of all individuals and provide recognition of the cultural contributions of diverse ethnic groups to Canadian society. For many years following this initial action, multicultural policies do not meet the needs of all immigrants to Canada, but the introduction of the term brings attention to the need for federal coordination to reflect the diversity of Canadian society. (Source: Library and Archives Canada)
August 9 - International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
August 9 commemorates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. It is celebrated around the world and marks the date of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations at the United Nations in 1982.
The 2021 commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples focuses on the theme “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.” This year's commemoration features an interactive discussion on the distinct elements to be considered when building and redesigning a new social contract that is inclusive of Indigenous peoples—where Indigenous peoples’ own forms of governance and ways of life must be respected and based on their free, prior, and informed consent and genuine and inclusive participation and partnership.
The guest speakers will be James Anaya, who has taught and written extensively on international human rights and issues concerning Indigenous peoples, and María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, an Ecuadorian scholar and diplomat who has held many leadership positions within the government of Ecuador, serving as minister of foreign affairs, minister of defense, and minister of cultural and natural heritage.
For more information about the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, visit https://www.un.org/en/observances/indigenous-day.
September 6 - Labour Day
Labour Day has been marked as a statutory public holiday in Canada on the first Monday in September since 1894. However, the origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to numerous local demonstrations and celebrations in earlier decades.Such events assumed political significance in 1872, when an April labour demonstration in Toronto, in support of striking printers, led directly to the enactment of the Trade Unions Act, a law that confirmed the legality of unions.
World Suicide Prevention Day is recognized annually on September 10th by over 50 countries. The day offers people the opportunity to gain a greater awareness and understanding about suicide,
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has put together a WSPD 2021 Toolkit with the goal of starting a movement of preventative action and in support of this year’s theme: Creating Hope Through Action.
The Department of National Defence provides information to further our knowledge on Suicide and Suicide Prevention in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has recently released Suicide Prevention in the Workplaceto help people to navigate through difficult conversations surrounding suicide, while providing tips for protecting the mental health of managers and employees. Also, they have worked collaboratively with the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, the Centre for Suicide Prevention and the Public Health Agency of Canadato develop Suicide Prevention Toolkits to support people who have been impacted by suicide.
If you are experiencing significant distress and feel you are not coping well, you may need additional support from a mental health professional or other health care professional. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 911 or visit an emergency department.
It is important you seek support if you need assistance. Other resources include the following:
- Local crisis centres.
- The Canada Suicide Prevention Service (1-833-456-4566)
- Kids Help Phone
- The Hope for Wellness Help Line
- 1-866-APPELLE (Quebec residents)
September 30 - National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The residential school system separated Indigenous children from their families, language and culture. It was an act of genocide against the First Peoples of this land whose lives and futures were forever altered. It is a shameful part of Canada’s history that should never be forgotten, and the founders of Orange Shirt Day want to make sure that it never will be.
The day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration project in Williams Lake B.C. In 2013, survivors of the school gathered for a reunion to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families. One survivor, Phyllis Webstad, shared with everyone the story of her first day at the residential school when her new orange shirt, a gift from her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year-old girl.
September 30 was the date chosen because it represents the season when children were taken from their homes to begin their time at residential schools and it also gives teachers time to plan events in schools across the country. The event provides the opportunity to talk to children about the impacts of their experiences and to create space to talk about anti-bullying and anti-racism policies for the school year.
We encourage all of you to participate in the events that will be taking place in your respective communities and wear orange as a conversation-starter to engage others. Connect with survivors and let them know they are not alone in their healing journeys. Ensure that the path of reconciliation is a well-worn one.
Please click here to learn more about the history of Orange Shirt Day and to watch videos on the following:
- Phyllis Webstad - On Orange Shirt Day
- Canadian History and the Residential School System
- Honorable Murray Sinclair - Impact of Residential Schools
- The Vision of Kukpi7 Fred Robbins
October 11 - National Coming Out Day
October 11, National Coming Out Day, celebrates the anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights that took place on October 11, 1987.
This day is used as an occasion for many in the LGBTQ2S+ community to celebrate their sexuality and gender identity. Some people come out for the first time, others share the stories of their own coming out or talk about their journey to recognizing their gender and sexuality.
The LGBTQ2S+ experience is unique to each individual and can also change or evolve over time. Someone who has been "out" for years might take October 11th as an opportunity to talk about newly discovered aspects of their queer reality.
Additionally, many members of the community will use this day to mark themselves as a safe person for others to discuss the complicated nature of gender and sex with. While not every person has the ability to come out, whether for reasons of personal safety or simply because they're not ready yet, October 11th will always be a time to celebrate who you are.
Some may celebrate publicly, others privately but all are equal and all are loved.
- Emily Craddock, PSAC BC Regional Council LGBTQ2+ Coordinator