Message from the Chief Commissioner
I am pleased to report on the work of the Ontario Human Rights Commission for the April 1, 2002 to March 31, 2003 fiscal year.
This year, the Commission opened 1,776 cases and closed 1,954 cases. The active caseload, as at March 31, 2003 was 2,137 cases. The average age of the Commission’s active caseload was 11.5 months, which indicates that the Commission continues to maintain a current caseload, (one that is 12 months or less). The Commission referred 58 human rights complaints to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
In the area of policy, the Commission also accomplished several key achievements. Most notably, the Commission:
- released a Consultation Report on human rights and public transit service in Ontario;
- released its Policy on Discrimination against Older Persons because of Age;
- launched a public education awareness campaign to address the four areas where older persons face the most barriers: employment, transportation, health care and housing;
- conducted a survey on accessibility of restaurant chains;
- held public consultation sessions in North Bay, Hamilton, Ottawa and Toronto on issues related to access to education for students with disabilities; and
- launched a major province-wide public inquiry into the effects of racial profiling.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not express my gratitude to the staff of the Commission. I am both impressed and appreciative of the fact that despite a lengthy public service strike, the continued hard work of staff members enabled the Commission to meet a number of challenges in a particularly demanding year.
Keith C. Norton Q.C., B.A., LL.B.
About the Commission
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) is an arm’s length agency of government, accountable to the Legislature of Ontario through the Minister of Citizenship. The Commission’s principal functions are set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) and include the investigation and settlement of human rights complaints. Under the Code, the Commission’s work also includes promoting human rights and public awareness.