HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION–Commission Unveils Champions for theWorkplace The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is challenging businessleaders to become champions for human rights in their workplaces. Almost 50 hospitality industry executives gathered today, Jan.14, at Halifax’s World Trade and Convention Centre to learn howrespect for diversity and for human rights can improve theircorporate bottom lines and promote healthy workplaces foremployees. “Ensuring that workplaces are indeed healthy environments foremployees is in keeping with our government’s goal of making NovaScotia the best place in Canada to live, work and raise afamily,” said Michael Baker, Minister responsible for the HumanRights Act. Mayann Francis, CEO of the commission, told the business leadersthat the session is part of a new “Champions for the Workplace”theme. She said the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is askingmembers of the business community to promote respect for humanrights and diversity in their workplaces as part of an effort tocreate a healthy working environment for their employees. “Increased awareness and dialogue among Nova Scotians isimportant if a commitment to human rights is to be shared byevery citizen of our province,” she said. “This morning is afirst for the commission. It is the first time we have held abreakfast meeting targeting the business community.” Marguerite Cassin, of Dalhousie University’s School of Business,said there is a direct connection between a business’s ability tocreate a healthy workplace and its success. “It’s aboutrelationships and how well you understand the needs of employeesto be valued and feel safe in their places of work.” Service industries like the hospitality sector provide 78 percent of the jobs created in Nova Scotia, said Dr. Cassin. “Thatmeans the health of your workplaces is of major pubic interest. It not only matters to you, it matters to all Nova Scotians.” Fred MacGillivray, president and CEO of Trade Centre Limited, wasnamed the N.S. Human Rights Commission’s first champion for theworkplace. “I’m here today to share with you our experiences at Trade CentreLimited in creating a healthy workplace,” said Mr. MacGillivray. He told the audience that respect for human rights must be partof the regular business planning process. “When I arrived atTrade Centre Limited, for example, I set about making humanresources an integral part of the planning and decision-makingprocess by including them on the executive team,” Mr.MacGillivray said. “Today’s successful organizations openly embrace and accommodateemployee differences and human rights to ensure continuedsuccess,” Mr. MacGillivray told participants. The commission is looking for more human rights champions inprovincial workplaces. Champions will be asked to host abreakfast meeting for industry colleagues to encourage dialogueand discussion about the role of human rights in creating healthyworkplaces. “We want to discuss mutual ways that we can stimulate the economyof Nova Scotia through healthy workplaces, co-operation, respectand innovation,” Ms. Francis told the audience today. “I hope oneof you will take the challenge to be our next champion.” As part of its mandate, the commission delivers public educationand training programs to help businesses and community groupswith policy development and recruitment practices that open upemployment opportunities for all Nova Scotians, particularlygroups that have traditionally been disadvantaged.