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Message from Interim Chief Commissioner Ruth Goba – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 20, 2015

Not just today – let’s challenge racism every day

It’s easy to identify discrimination when we hear hateful slurs or overt forms of bigotry. However, there are also many examples of more subtle – but equally pernicious – racism and racial discrimination.

There’s the judge who asks a Black woman in court where her lawyer is. In fact, the woman is the lawyer waiting for her client.

A Middle Eastern woman takes a seat at an empty restaurant. A White customer who enters after her is served first.

Message from Ruth Goba – Statement on International Women’s Day

March 6, 2015

Forty years ago, the United Nations declared March 8 as International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate women and their achievements, reflect on the progress towards equality, and promote an Ontario and world where there is true gender equality.

While we join the world in observing this day and honouring our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, allies and friends, we know that we still have work to do at the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Our work is not done when one in two Canadian women report having experienced some form of violence in their lifetime.

Lack of progress in addressing racial profiling in policing: An Ontario Human Rights Commission statement

March 5, 2015

Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling concern of the African Canadian community, other affected racialized communities, and of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”).  In the past few years, many racialized people have experienced carding as yet another form of racial profiling. 

The OHRC has frequently identified two key issues in the Toronto Police Service Procedure on Community Engagements that are critical to prevent racial profiling. To be consistent with the Human Rights Code and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Procedure:

Human rights in Ontario

The Ontario 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 not all 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. For an explanation of discrimination and harassment, see What is discrimination?

If you believe you have experienced discrimination, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre can help you determine if what you experienced is protected under the Code. If you want to take legal steps to address an incident, the deadline is generally one year from the last discriminatory event.

The Ontario Human Rights System is made up of three separate agencies:

  1. 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.
  2. The Human Rights Legal Support Centre gives legal help to people who have experienced discrimination under the Code.
  3. The Human Rights Tribunal is where human rights applications are filed and decided.

Human Rights 101 will help guide you through Ontario’s Human Rights System.