Canada is globally recognised as a defender of human rights. Refugees can receive sponsorship and aid to live in Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom guarantees fundamental freedoms for all of its citizens including free expression, democratic rights and equality rights. The charter has been part of Canada’s constitution since 1982 and the country also played a vital role in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With this background in human rights advocacy, Canada is a great place to work in the field and, because of partnerships with many NGOs, there are a number of jobs that you can apply for even if you are just beginning your career. Here is a list of 5 human rights NGOs in Canada offering early career jobs to get you started.
Harmony Movement is an organisation dedicated to educating young people to respect diversity, teach empathy and develop leadership skills. It is also the leading provider of diversity education in Ontario. Their interactive programmes encourage participants to critically analyse the world and provides them with skills to become Social Changemakers both locally and globally. Through workshops and educational programmes, this organisation empowers young people and adults to create change in their communities by building the knowledge, awareness and skills necessary for creating community spaces that welcome diversity. They work with school boards and the private and public sectors in Ontario to provide diversity education and leadership development programmes, conferences, and projects customized to participants’ needs.
They offer entry-level positions aimed at people who are passionate about equity and inclusion and excited about engaging young people and helping educators create inclusive learning environments. You will be working closely with the Harmony Movement team to develop and deliver programmes and workshops that address fundamental equity and diversity issues. The programmes explore personal and group identities, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, media literacy, historic inequity in Canada, and personal empowerment, as well as taking leadership for equity, inclusion and social change. See available positions and how to apply on the website.
Amnesty International is a globally recognised movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights. From their offices in Canada, Amnesty International deals with issues all around the world through highlighting how the Canadian government can have more of an impact. They deal with issues such as indigenous rights in Mexico and migrants fleeing Honduras as well as the negative impact of Canadian arms sales in Saudi Arabi. Through drawing attention to these global issues, Amnesty International seeks to promote change in how the government responds to human rights abuses. Their mission is to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Canada played a major a role in creating, to conduct research and to generate action which will prevent grave abuses of human rights. Available openings to work with Amnesty International Canada are posted on the website. When available, there will be opportunities in volunteering and internships. Volunteering is a good opportunity for those who are just starting their career to build experience in the field of human rights. You might have the opportunity to volunteer with a community group, letter-writing network, national office or training to take on a volunteer leadership role. See the website for available positions and information on how to apply.
Journalists for Human Rights is an organisation that promotes global human rights through media by helping journalists to improve their professional skills and human rights reporting. Through their training programmes, they encourage journalists to effectively report on global issues surrounding human rights to stimulate action and change. Within Canada, they have created The Indigenous Reporters Program which aims to build opportunities for Indigenous peoples to pursue careers in media and to ensure that non-Indigenous journalists are trained in best practices for reporting on Indigenous people, culture and issues. They affirm that improved understanding is essential for true reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. If you are interested in working with this organisation to help train journalists, and advocate human rights reporting in the Canadian media, you can view their current job openings on the website. You can also contact them about volunteering opportunities through the contact information on the website under Volunteer for JHR.
Founded in 1967 and formerly known as the Canadian Human Rights Foundation, Equitas is based in Montreal and is Canada’s most recognised and active human rights education organisation. They work to advance equality, social justice and respect for human dignity through education programmes. Its founders include John P. Humphrey, a co-drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Equitas teaches human rights through supporting children and young people as leaders in the promotion of diversity, inclusion and community participation. They work with young people across Canada to encourage leadership and build skills as well as helping them to build welcoming and inclusive communities for people form all over the world. For early career positions, Equitas offers paid internship opportunities which are a great way to build experience. You will have the opportunity to develop a career in the organisation through internships in education, research, communications and PR. Visit the website for information on current opportunities and how to apply.
CARE is a globally recognised leader in ending poverty. They work with people around the world, to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. Primarily they focus on women and girls to encourage equal rights. They believe that unequal power relations are at the root of poverty which result in division of resources between women and men and the rich and poor. To address this, the organisation focuses on humanitarian action, through helping communities to better prepare for potential disasters. They also promote lasting change and innovative solutions by finding new ways to build local capacity and empower the most vulnerable such as women and girls. Finally, they aim to build knowledge and education to enable their impact to go far beyond the communities that they work with. If you are interested in working with this organisation to tackle the underlying issues that cause poverty and social injustice, then you can view internship and career opportunities on their website. CARE Canada offers employment opportunities both locally and internationally as well as volunteer and internship opportunities for entry level applicants.