Tools for leaders & organizers
For this webinar, we brought together Lori Kleinsmith, Health Promoter with the Bridges Community Health Centre Port Colborne, and Kate Mechan, Community Outreach Worker with the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition (YAPC), to speak about the role of human rights in their work.
Lori, who is a member of the OHRC’s Community Advisory Council, spoke about her efforts at rights-based advocacy for universal access to dental care. She outlined the systemic issues that prevent almost a third of Canadians from accessing dental care, as well as the ongoing discrimination that undermines whatever little publicly funded care is available to low-income adults. She also discussed a variety of advocacy strategies to gain public and political support for publicly funded dental programs.
Kate Mechan highlighted YAPC’s efforts at centering those with lived experience of poverty and housing challenges. Among these efforts — Whitehorse Connects, an initiative for community members who are homeless or experiencing poverty to come together and access a range of health and support services they would not otherwise be able to access, such as haircuts, healing touch, counseling, and meals. YAPC also runs workshops on storytelling and advocacy for people with lived experience, offering training on public speaking and peer advocacy.
Both speakers also addressed questions about the barriers to using rights-based language in their advocacy, and strategies for working with other organizations in the same space.