The Ontario Human Rights Commission came into being on March 29, 1961, when the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable John Keiller MacKay, granted Royal Assent to Bill 60, An Act to Amend the Ontario Anti-Discrimination Commission Act. That statute changed the name of the Ontario Anti-Discrimination Commission (established in 1958) to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The name change was the first in a series of steps that led to the creation of a comprehensive Human Rights Code and mechanism for its enforcement. The Human Rights Code was introduced as a bill on Thursday, December 14, 1961, when the Hon. W. K. Warrender (Minister of Labour) moved first reading of Bill 54, An Act to establish the Ontario Code of Human Rights and provide for its administration. The Code came into effect on June 15, 1962.
From March 29, 2011 until June 15, 2012, the OHRC will highlight the anniversary of the OHRC and the Code, as well as some of the major changes over the past 50 years – especially the addition of new grounds to the Code. For example:
- April 5, 2011 – 60th anniversary of the Fair Employment Practices Act and the Female Employee's Fair Remuneration Act
- December 7, 2011 – the 30th anniversary of Third Reading of Bill 7 which established the 1981 Code which added citizenship, handicap (disability), family status, record of offences, receipt of social assistance
- December 14, 2011 – the 50th anniversary of the introduction and first Reading of Bill 54 (An Act to establish the Ontario Code of Human Rights and provide for its administration)
- December 18, 2011 – 25th anniversary of the inclusion of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground
- April 3, 2012 – the 50th anniversary of the appointment of Dr. Daniel Hill
- April 17, 2012 - 30th anniversary of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms
OHRC 50th Anniversary in Ontario Legislature
Toronto (March 28, 2011) - Attorney General Chris Bentley marks the 50th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Commission with a ministerial statement in the Ontario Legislature. MPs Ted Chudleigh (PC) and Cheri DiNovo (NDP) respond (edited).