An excerpt of Tyson Sylvester's audio recording:
“My name’s Tyson. I’m 22 years old. I am locking myself in here today, because it’s how I feel most of the time I’m at home. As an adult with a physical disability, I only qualify for 55 hours of home care as support, which you can’t access unless you’re at home. So, you basically get up, get some basic hygiene and a warmed-up meal, stay home all day, and do it again the next day. Pretty much, when I graduated high school, I had to give back all my technology because it’s technically the school’s. A psychologist told me, which I’ll never forget, that I’d be better off in jail, because at least I’d have services.”
About the Manitoba Human Rights Commission:
An independent agency of the government of Manitoba, it is responsible for administering the Human Rights Code.
The Human Rights Code is provincial law that applies in the areas of employment services available to the public (e.g. hospitals, schools, businesses). There is similar legislation in every province and territory, as well as a federal human rights commission.
The commission’s mandate is to promote human rights and educate the public about the code and its principles, and to administer a complaint process.
Any person can file a complaint with the commission alleging they were discriminated against or harassed as long the complaint is submitted within one year of the discriminatory event. A person can also complain they were retaliated against for trying to enforcing their rights under the code.
The characteristics listed in the code include ancestry, religion, age, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, and physical or mental disability.
The commission’s role is to investigate the complaint and make a decision about whether there is enough evidence of discrimination to warrant a public adjudication by an independent adjudicator.
The commission offers mediation services at various times to try and resolve the complaint without the need for an adjudication hearing. Adjudicators are independent decision-makers appointed by the province. They are not commission staff or on the board of commissioners.
If the board of commissioners decides there is enough evidence to support the complaint, the commission will ask the chief adjudicator of the Manitoba Human Rights Panel to appoint an adjudicator to conduct a hearing. At this stage, the commission becomes a party to the complaint, representing the public’s interest in eliminating discriminating.
— An adjudication hearing is similar to a court proceeding. The hearing is open to the public and the adjudicator’s decision is also made public.
— The complainant and respondent to the complaint may be represented by lawyers but they may also represent themselves. The commission is represented by an in-house lawyer.