The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is one part of Ontario’s system for human rights, alongside the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC). We are guided by the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code) in all our work.
The OHRC plays an important role in preventing discrimination and promoting and advancing human rights in Ontario. The OHRC:
- Develops public policy on human rights
- Actively promotes a culture of human rights in the province
- Conducts public inquiries
- Intervenes in proceedings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)
- Initiates our own applications (formerly called ‘complaints’)
- Engages in proactive measures to prevent discrimination using public education, policy development, research and analysis
- Brings people and communities together to help resolve issues of "tension and conflict"
In addition, the OHRC has the power to monitor and report on anything related to the state of human rights in the Province of Ontario. This includes reviewing legislation and policies for consistency with the intent of the Code.
The HRTO may refer matters in the public interest to the OHRC and may ask the Commission to conduct an inquiry. The OHRC may also apply to the HRTO to state a case to the Divisional Court where it feels the HRTO decision is not consistent with OHRC policies. OHRC policies can be used in issues that are before the Tribunal.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission was established in 1961 to administer the Code. The Commission is an arm's length agency of government accountable to the people of Ontario through the legislature. There is a full-time Chief Commissioner and a varying number of part-time Commissioners, appointed by Order-in-Council. Staff of the Commission is appointed under the Public Service Act.
An Ontario in which everyone is valued, treated with dignity and respect, and where human rights are nurtured by us all.
For more information about Ontario’s Human Rights System: