Description of organization:
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights. As part of this mandate, the Commission is responsible for investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination in employment and the provision of services within the federal jurisdiction.

Description of custom training provided by the Stitt Feld Handy Group:
The Commission is required to investigate and manage complaints that involve important, sensitive and often complex issues. As a result, it is important for its staff to have highly developed skills to manage difficult conversations and resolve complex disputes all while protecting the public interest. Beginning in 1998, the Commission hired the Stitt Feld Handy Group to design and deliver a variety of customized workshops including programs on mediation, advanced mediation and having difficult conversations.

The Stitt Feld Handy Group worked closely with representatives from the Commission to understand their unique roles and the specific challenges they face at the Commission. With this information, the Stitt Feld Handy Group was able to design interactive workshops that were skills-building and that included customized role plays and exercises involving human rights issues. The skills covered by the various workshops included:

  • Identifying underlying interests;
  • Framing issues for mediation;
  • Protecting the public interest in a mediation process;
  • De-escalating conflict;
  • The 6 challenges of difficult conversations;
  • Interactive listening;
  • Managing strong emotions;
  • Avoiding triggers in a difficult conversation;
  • Preparing for a difficult conversation; and
  • Problem-solving in difficult conversations.

Participants left the workshops with an enhanced ability to resolve complex disputes and conduct difficult conversations with greater skill and confidence.

Feedback from participants:
“Great balance of personal stories, concept discussions and group discussions. Very engaging!”

“I found the role plays very valuable. It is great to learn the theory but even better to put it into practice.”

“Excellent, super relevant, practical and well-paced. Highly relevant.”

“The instructor is one of the best instructors I have ever encountered.”

“Engaging presentations, real-life examples, chance to practice leads to real opportunities for change.”