Recent events have triggered a nationwide discussion about the continued occurrence of sexual harassment and violence against women throughout Canadian society. Sexual harassment is against the law. The Ontario Human Rights Code Code prohibits sexual harassment in employment (and in services, housing, and other “social areas”).
October 31, 2014 - Dear Ms Leilani Farha, The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission in response to your survey regarding the responsibilities of sub-national governments with respect to the right to adequate housing.
Please find attached the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) letter to Hon. Kathleen Wynne regarding sexual and gender-based harassment in employment.
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:
- 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.
Human Rights 101 will help guide you through Ontario’s Human Rights System.