Mr. Speaker, in response to (a),the new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion, OHRFI, which replaces the former ORF, is comprised of three divisions with 36 full-time employees: Human Rights and Indigenous Affairs; Inclusion and Religious Freedom; and Democracy. The overall operations and salary budget for the three divisions within the OHRFI totals $3.04 million. The programming budget dedicated to the promotion of human rights, including religious freedom, will be as much as $15 million, three times the amount originally committed to the former ORF. Programming will aim to promote peaceful pluralism, inclusion, respect for diversity and human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.
In response to (b), since its establishment on May 17, 2016, the new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms ad Inclusion, OHRFI, is working to identify programming opportunities. As a first step, the OHRFI has actively engaged with a multitude of different existing and new stakeholders, including those who have previously received funding through the former office of religious freedom, ORF. As part of this ongoing outreach, stakeholders and potential partners have been encouraged to submit concept papers on a variety of human rights issues, including freedom of religion or belief, peaceful pluralism, inclusion, diversity, and democracy.
In response to (c), the Prime Minister is actively championing all human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, through various platforms, including news releases, media events and social media. In addition, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have empowered Canadian heads of mission--ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls general--to speak from the field and promote human rights, freedoms and inclusion online, within conversations with counterparts and publicly with the media. Human rights promotion, including freedom of religion or belief, is now entrenched in our heads of missions’ core objectives and priorities and will be included in their annual performance commitments. Further to statements made domestically and through social media channels, Canada has released a total of 10 stand-alone public statements and nine group statements at the 32nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, June 13, 2016 to July 1, 2016. These Canadian statements focused on the 10th anniversary of the council; thematic issues including on women and migrants; and specific situations, including Burundi, Syria and Ukraine. Canada also delivered two statements during high-level meetings of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, on April 25 and June 29, 2016.