Calgary Area PSAC Human Rights Committee Meeting May 19, 2020 @ 6:00 PM

In Attendance:

Kathy Ajram – Chair – UTE

Shanon Hicks – Secretary – CIU

James Huang – Treasurer- CEIU

Lindsey Sparks – PSAC Staff (Regional Office)

Jennifer Chieh Ho – Guest (Winnipeg HRC)



Calgary Area PSAC Human Rights Committee Meeting

May 19,  2020 @ 6:00 PM- APPROVED MINUTES

Meeting was called  to order at 6:14 PM and began with the Kathy welcoming Lindsey as staff rep for the Committee. Lindsay who is joining us in the Calgary HRC from Winnipeg. Lindsey will be our new staff rep to assist in guiding our committee with our everyday planning and events. A big thank you to Dolly for all her guidance in the work with helping the committee get on its feet last year, and a big thank you to Lindsey for assuming that role. We have heard some great things about the work done with the HRC in Winnipeg and we look forward to working together in the future! !

Review and adoption of agenda

Agenda as prepared; motion to approve by Kathy, seconded by Shanon.

Approval of last meeting minutes:

The minutes from February 26, 2020  Meeting were sent to all participants to read in advance. No concerns brought to light on minutes. Motion to approve by Kathy, seconded by Shanon.


Report from Chair

Chair started by thanking everyone for taking the time out of their day to meet. This committee is founded on collaboration and team work and it means so much to still have people here to participate. Since our last meeting, the world has obviously taken a huge turn in a different direction. Where we last left off was discussing our plans to get out in to the community and do go work, but COVID is pushing us out of our communities and back into our homes quite rapidly. We submitted an annual package to the office of the REVP, however, we have not and likely will not receive a response until things have calmed down significantly.

The reason why we are here today is to continue with our commitment to promote human rights, but we will need to find a different way to do so – a way to do so by maintaining health and safety standards in the setting we are in. 

We have called on everyone to try and brainstorm ideas for events that are virtual where we can reach and educate members and the community.

Whether there’s a cost associated with doing so or not, we will communicate our request through the office of the REVP and seek approval.


We have with us today a special Guests from the Winnipeg HRC that have found a wonderful way to connect with the membership and we will have them talk to you about that shortly.


The importance of what we do isn’t going away. Human rights are extremely important and most of us have probably read about most individuals

Impacted by the pandemic are marginalized peoples for reasons of limited health care access, clean water, poverty and requirements to use transit, jobs with a major newcomer/immigrant  population that do not pay enough to allow employees to stay at home, etc. This virus is showing its true colours to a lot of problems we already are so familiar with, and if we can provide a small solution to anyone who is suffering, that will help our committee in fulfilling its mandate.


So a huge thanks to everyone here today to help us with this brainstorming meeting!


Report from Treasurer

  • We are currently having some problems in light of COVID restrictions that are preventing us from being able to get the names changed on the bank account to reflect the current executive body of the HRC. The bank is operating on reduced working hours, and these are during working hours.
  • We have also noticed an increase to bank fees and had a discussion at looking at a different financial institution to deal with. We were under the impression that the only bank we could deal with was the bank of Nova Scotia, but Lindsey mentioned that might not be the case. James stated that he would look into other banks and credit unions to see if we could find a better rate. We will need to order more cheques soon and would prefer not doing so through Scotiabank if we can find a better place to bank with.
  • Tom is sending HRC bank statements to us monthly. Based on the last emailed statement we have with bank fees that were deducted, current account balance is $337.53.


Old Business

  • Reporting package submission

Package was submitted before the deadline and. As mentioned previously, we have not heard back yet due to the virus. Our plans will not be considered socially responsible and could endanger lives given the current setting. We need to look for alternative solution and ideas until told otherwise. Fairy tale theatres which was on our plan moved to hold their event virtually. Kathy made a few attempts to communicate with them to see if we could help in any way or get a preferred rate for our members to watch films if they were interested, but they did not respond to any of my communications unfortunately, likely due to their own Covid restrictions.


New Business

  • Winnipeg HRC: We had the pleasure of welcoming Winnipeg HRC Chair, Jennifer Chieh Ho, as a guest to our meeting.  Their committee  have been working extremely hard on an event and we  invited them to come and share with us what they have done alternatively in light of COVID-19. Mar 12 was their AGM, like our committee they planned a budget request with all the groups being covered. May marks Asian Heritage Month in Canada and their committee has planned to prepare a webinar for the Prairie region to celebrate. The webinar will take place on May 25The webinar will take place on May 26 and they will have guest speakers preparing 7 minute speaking segments.

We discussed the possibility of teaming up for future webinars, potentially for National Indigenous Peoples Day/Month.We will discuss that in more detail after the AHM webinar.

  • Ideas for events during COVID-19
  • Other than the possibility of a future webinar, we discussed some ideas on activism  that doesn’t require anyone getting out of the house and staying safe, like spreading awareness. We will look into preparing posters to send out to the locals in our region that are educational or highlight different groups that we were planning on working with during the year. 


Next meeting

June 15, 2020 @ 6:00 PM

Meeting adjourned @ 7:21 PM MST

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