Human Rights Education

5ESR Course and Workshops

Human rights education is an important aspect of alleviating poverty in Canada. At Canada Without Poverty, we believe that poverty is a deprivation of basic human rights, especially the right to an adequate standard of living. This incorporates other rights such as the right to housing, suitable food and clothing, healthcare, and social security; together, they give an idea of the scope of human rights known as economic and social rights (also known as economic, social and cultural rights).

Canada Without Poverty focuses on economic and social rights because they are so closely intertwined with the manifestations of poverty. For example, one of the most visible signs of poverty is homelessness, while the right to adequate housing is designed to prevent such an occurrence. Similarly, the right to a high standard of physical and mental health is an economic and social right, while an estimated 1 in 10 Canadians cannot afford to fill their medical prescriptions. These are only a few examples of how directly poverty is connected with economic and social rights.

Many people are unaware of this branch of human rights and legal knowledge. Therefore, Canada Without Poverty offers two avenues of ESR education, online courses and in-person workshops.

Online Course:

The online course on economic and social rights is the only one of its kind in Canada. It is offered several times a year, beginning in 2012 and continuing to the present day. It operates on a multi-week basis, with each week focusing on a specific topic relating to economic and social rights. There are corresponding readings and supplementary information tailored to each topic. The course also offers a comprehensive look into what economic and social rights are, how they relate to international and domestic legislation and what must be done to protect them.

The course utilises a “virtual classroom” setting in which participants interact in a dialogue with human rights experts though online posts and teleconference calls. The human rights experts vary week-to-week, depending on the topic at hand, and are there to offer guidance on the subject matter, answer questions, and participate in the debate. All participants are encouraged to involve themselves in the conversation, ask questions, and provide their own opinions.

Most recently, CWP offered a NEW two-week online economic and social rights course in Spring 2016 entitled  Putting Poverty in the ‘Rights’ Place: An Intro to Economic & Social Rights in Canada and BC. To be added to the wait list for the next online course offered by CWP email Michèle at


Canada Without Poverty also offers human rights education in the form of in-person workshops that are conducted on a request-only basis. These workshops can be tailored to fit into single days or multiple days and are available across the country. Members of Canada Without Poverty’s team lead each workshop, with seminars and interactive elements included.

The first workshop was held in Calgary on June 6, 2013 and was led by CWP’s Executive Director, Leilani Farha. Other workshops have been held in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary. If you’re interested in hosting a workshop in your community, workplace, etc. please email