TORONTO – Today the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released a policy statement to guide all levels of government to adopt a human rights-based approach to managing policy, legal, regulatory, public health and emergency-related responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OHRC has developed a series of questions and answers for understanding your human rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These questions and answers cover the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, tenants and landlords, as well as residential institutions.
Disclaimer: The answers to the questions posed do not constitute legal advice. The OHRC continues to monitor the evolving situation and will update or add to these questions and answers on an ongoing basis as needed.
Following the lead of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) urges Ontarians to keep human rights principles under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (Code), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and relevant international human rights treaties at the centre of decision-making during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Human rights in Ontario
Ontario's Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific social areas such as jobs, housing, services, facilities, and contracts or agreements.
The Code's goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, sex, disability, and age, to name a few of the 17 grounds. All other Ontario laws must agree with the Code.
Not all unfair treatment and harassment is covered by the Code. The treatment or harassment must be based on at least one Code ground and take place within a social area to be protected.
The Ontario Human Rights System is made up of three separate agencies:
- The Ontario Human Rights Commission (that’s us) works to promote, protect and advance human rights through research, education, targeted legal action and policy development.
- The Human Rights Legal Support Centre gives legal help to people who have experienced discrimination under the Code.
- The Human Rights Tribunal is where human rights applications are filed and decided.
To learn more, complete our Human Rights 101 eLearning.