The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) was established as an arm’s length agency of government in 1961 to prevent discrimination and to promote and advance human rights in Ontario. The OHRC is one pillar of Ontario’s human rights system, alongside the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).
We believe that the way to realize this vision is to activate and engage the full range of our functions and powers under the Ontario Human Rights Code and our institutional expertise to dismantle the complex, intersecting dynamics and conditions that foster and perpetuate systemic discrimination.
Our mission is to promote and enforce human rights, to engage in relationships that embody the principles of dignity and respect, and to create a culture of human rights compliance and accountability. We act as a driver for social change based on principles of substantive equality. We accomplish our mission by exposing, challenging and ending entrenched and widespread structures and systems of discrimination through education, policy development, public inquiries and litigation.
Chief Administrative Officer – Centralized Services Branch
Manager - Communications & Issues Management
Director Policy, Education, Monitoring & Outreach
Manager – Legal Services and Inquiries (Designated Bilingual)
Renu Mandhane is the former Executive Director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. She has an LL.M in international human rights law from New York University. Renu sits on the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations. She has also trained Canadian and foreign judges through the National Judicial Institute of Canada. Renu has worked at several domestic and international organizations to advance women's human rights, and has represented survivors of domestic and sexual violence and federally sentenced prisoners.
Renu was appointed Chief Commissioner of the OHRC in October 2015.
Karen Drake is an assistant professor at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University and a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Her teaching and research interests include Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe law and Métis law. She is the co-editor-in-chief of the Lakehead Law Journal and a commissioner with the Métis Nation of Ontario's Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government. She previously clerked with the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada and currently serves on the board of directors of the Indigenous Bar Association. Commissioner Drake resides in Thunder Bay.
Ruth Goba is a lawyer who has worked both domestically and internationally on issues related to economic and social rights (ESR), with a particular focus on women’s rights. Before joining the OHRC, Ruth worked for an international NGO in India on women’s housing, land, property and inheritance rights and with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. Upon her return to Canada, she worked with the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), a human rights organization that advocates for housing and the elimination of poverty. From 2007 to 2009, she held the position of Executive Director at CERA.
Ruth also worked in private practice focusing primarily on issues of gender, disability and racial discrimination in education and employment. Ruth served on the board of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) and was a member of LEAF’s Legal Committee. She has also taught Disability Studies at Ryerson University. Ruth was appointed Interim Chief Commissioner of the OHRC beginning February 28, 2015. Her term ended in October 2015.
Mary Gusella has served as the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States, a member of the Public Service Commission, President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Chair and President of Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation. In addition, she was a board member and President of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and a member of the Canadian Human Rights Museum Advisory Committee. Ms. Gusella holds a membership with the Law Society of Upper Canada and the International Commission of Jurists – Canadian Section. She has a Certificate from the Canadian Securities Institute and holds undergraduate degrees from the Universities of Toronto and Ottawa. Ms. Gusella also serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).
Rabia Khedr is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for diverse communities, women and individuals with disabilities. She is a human rights consultant with diversityworX, founder of the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities and a member of the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee, which she chaired for eight years. Commissioner Khedr has also been on the board of directors for the Ontario Women's Health Network and a member of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Julie Lee is a lawyer, practicing family law in St.Thomas, Ontario. Julie clerked for the Honourable Mr. Justice Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 – 2000. Before her legal education, she worked in the anti-violence movement as an educator, administrator and advocate.
She is the co-founder of second stage housing in Huron County and the past executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre in London, Ontario. Julie’s advocacy has also been directed at achieving equity and dignity for same-sex families.
Kwame McKenzie is the medical director of underserved populations at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is also a professor and the co-director of the Equity Gender and Population Division at the University of Toronto's department of psychiatry. Dr. McKenzie is chief executive officer of the Wellesley Institute and a member of the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council to Ontario's Minister of Health. He serves on the boards of the United Way Toronto and Ontario Hospitals Association.
Professor Mendes is a lawyer, author and professor, and has been an advisor to corporations, governments, civil society groups and the United Nations. His teaching, research and consulting interests include public and private sector governance, conflict resolution, constitutional law, international law and human rights law and policy. He has authored or edited 11 leading texts in these areas. He has been a Project Leader for conflict resolution, governance and justice projects in China,Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, El Salvador and Sri Lanka.
Since 1979, Professor Mendes has taught at Law Faculties across the country, including the University of Alberta, Edmonton, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario and the University of Ottawa from 1992 to present. He recently completed a Visiting Fellowship at Harvard Law School.
Bruce Porter is a leading advocate for the rights of people living in poverty and the homeless. He is currently serving as the executive director of Canada's Social Rights Advocacy Centre and is a senior advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. Commissioner Porter recently co-directed a 10-year collaborative research project on social rights in Canada and has co-edited two books on social rights, in addition to writing many articles on the subject. Commissioner Porter lives and works outside of Huntsville, Ontario.
Maurice Switzer is the principal of Nimkii Communications, a public education firm which focuses on the treaty relationship between First Nations and the Canadian government. A citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, he has served as the director of communications for both the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of Ontario Indians. Commissioner Switzer was also the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada and currently resides in North Bay.
We commit to embodying the following in all of our work and ways of working:
Promoting human rights is key to developing a culture where everyone can play a part as we move to achieving the vision of society described in the Preamble to the Human Rights Code. This vision is consistent with that described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of Canada's Constitution. It is a vision where everyone feels that they are an important part of the community and that they are able to participate fully to its development and well-being while respecting and taking responsibility for the rights of others.
The Commission engages in a wide range of educational activities and partnership initiatives, such as public awareness campaigns, presentations, workshops and conferences. It also engages in national and international cooperation, participates in intergovernmental task forces and receives delegations from around the world.
In keeping with its responsibility to promote understanding and awareness of and compliance with the Code, the Commission has an important mandate to conduct public education throughout the province. Public education is delivered primarily through the Commission's Web site, publications, public awareness campaigns, speaking engagements and presence at community events.
In addition, the Commission has also adopted an e-learning strategy as part of its overall public education program. We will be posting Code-related computer-based tools on this site in the near future.
In evaluating requests for speakers, the Commission focuses its resources on events and initiatives that are consistent with its strategic priorities and have the potential to: promote systemic prevention of Code violations and advancement of human rights; significantly enhance the Commission's relationship with strategic or underserved sectors; "train trainers" to have a sustainable "multiplier" effect in the organization; and reduce discrimination across a sector and/or to decrease the incidence of formal human rights complaints.
The Commission does not have the capacity to accept all requests. In such instances, the Commission tries to work with the organization or individual to help meet their needs in other ways through Commission resources or referral to other organizations.
This Web site provides the public with access to a wide array of information and educational resources including: an overview of the Human Rights Code and the Commission's mission; description of the complaint process; policies, plain language guides, public inquiry reports and Commission submissions; public education resources as well as news releases. The Commission's Web site is an increasingly important tool in the promotion of human rights in Ontario and ensures it is compatible with international accessibility standards for persons with disabilities and that documents are posted in both English and French in accordance with Ontario's French Language Services Act.
Based on its current strategic priorities, the Commission provides educational sessions to employers, unions, professional associations, community organizations and other groups who are partners with us in striving to develop a culture of human rights.
To invite someone from the Commission to speak to your group, see the section on Requesting Public Education from the Commission.
The Commission meets with delegations, intergovernmental organizations and staff from human rights commissions around the world to exchange ideas with them about administrative procedures and to share our common experiences in teaching people about human rights and enforcing human rights laws in civil society.
To inquire about the possibility of meeting with the Commission for this purpose, please contact us at:
Policy, Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9
The Ontario Human Rights Commission works to promote, protect and advance human rights in Ontario. The Human Rights Code provides a range of different tools that the OHRC may use, including, among others, policy development, research, public education and training, human rights inquiries and legal action.
The OHRC has unique legal powers under the Human Rights Code. We may conduct inquiries, make an application (a complaint) directly to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to allege discrimination and seek a Tribunal order, or intervene in applications before the Tribunal. The OHRC may also take part in cases before other administrative tribunals and courts. (For our powers under the Code, see here: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90h19_e.htm#s29).
This Litigation and Inquiry Strategy sets out when and how the OHRC decides to conduct an inquiry or take an application to the Human Rights Tribunal or when to intervene in a legal proceeding.
The Code says the OHRC can conduct an inquiry to:
Inquiries can be large or small, simple or complex. They could include:
The OHRC may make its own applications directly to the Tribunal to allege discrimination and ask for a Tribunal order, or intervene in other applications before the Tribunal. Section 35 of the Code says the OHRC may intervene as a full party to an application at the Tribunal if the applicant gives their permission. The OHRC can then participate in all stages of the proceeding, including calling evidence, cross-examining witnesses, presenting written and oral submissions and any negotiations or mediation.
Every year the Commission sets high level goals and priority issues to meet our statutory mandate. However, human rights cases and issues for inquiry often emerge that are clearly important but may not fall within our current priority areas.
We look at new issues on a case-by-case basis to decide if any response is needed or whether an inquiry, intervention or Commission-initiated application at the Human Rights Tribunal is called for. We consider:
o Will it shape, clarify or advance human rights law in Ontario?
o Is it an issue of such importance that Commission involvement is required because of:
Our Issues Management team monitors developments in human rights and related social issues, proposed provincial legislation, noteworthy Tribunal and court decisions, and other factors that could affect human rights in Ontario. We identify potential matters for litigation or inquiry through:
o In August of 2013, the Commission intervened in TB, MSB, and JBS v. Halton District School Board and Halton Student Transportation Services at the Tribunal. Following settlement negotiations with the applicants and the OHRC, the school board and transportation service agreed to move the children’s bus stop closer to the family home, seek the Commission’s involvement in preparing and delivering training on human rights accommodation and inclusivity, amend their transportation policies to accommodate parents with Code-related needs, and recommend similar policy amendments to the Halton Catholic District School Board.
We, the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, in full compliance with the spirit, intent and provisions of the, are committed to providing the highest quality customer service.
This statement of our commitment reflects our best efforts to provide excellent customer service, within the limits of our resources, by:
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) affirms its commitment to providing a safe & inclusive environment for all employees, and to accommodating persons with disabilities in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and Commission’s Disability Policy. Some Commission staff report sensitivities to various chemical-based or scented products. In response to such health concerns, the Commission has developed these guidelines. The Commission asks for everyone's cooperation in its efforts to accommodate these health concerns in accordance with the provisions of Ontario Human Rights Code.
Due to the health concerns arising from exposure to scented products – see below for examples - staff and visitors are asked to be considerate in their use of such products when reporting to this office, and to be aware that they may be asked to refrain from using such products should this be required.
Allergic and asthmatic patients report that certain odours, even in the smallest amounts, can trigger an attack. In addition, those persons with "multiple chemical sensitivity" may also be affected. The severity of symptoms can vary. Some people report mild irritation while others may be very severely affected and/or must give up 'normal' activities in order to avoid exposure to certain odours.
When scented products have been blamed for adversely affecting a person's health, some or all of the following symptoms may be reported:
loss of appetite
upper respiratory symptoms
shortness of breath
difficulty with concentration
Scents are included in a very large range of products including:
shampoo & conditioners
fragrances & perfumes
lotions & creams
colognes & aftershaves
air fresheners & deodorizers
industrial & household chemicals
It is important to remember some products which claim to be 'scent free' may have only masked the scent by use of an additional chemical.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) supports the full inclusion of persons with disabilities as set out in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the OHRC’s Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005. The OHRC is committed to complying with the accessibility standards set out in the AODA’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation.
Regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) include accessibility standards in:
The Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IASR) under the AODA was enacted in June 2011. Section 4(1) of the IASR requires the Government of Ontario and designated public sector organizations, including the OHRC, to create, maintain and make publicly available a multi-year accessibility plan. The accessibility plan must be created, reviewed and updated in consultation with persons with disabilities. The multi-year accessibility plan must also be reviewed at least once every five years, and all organizations are required to prepare an annual status report on the progress that the organization has made to implement their accessibility plan and comply with the IASR. The status reports must be made available to the public.
The Ontario Public Service’s (OPS) Multi-Year Accessibility Plan describes the organization’s commitment to accessibility, and the steps the government is taking to prevent and remove barriers for persons with disabilities in employment, services, and in making policy. For more information about the OPS’ commitment to accessibility for persons with disabilities, refer to the Ontario Public Service Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. The OPS’ plan outlines the government’s strategies to prevent, identify and remove barriers for persons with disabilities. Each ministry prepares an annual accessibility plan, as required under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA). The Ministry of the Attorney General’s Accessibility Plan sets out what the ministry plans to do to prevent and remove barriers for persons with disabilities, and what steps it is taking to comply with the requirements set out in the AODA and its regulations.
The OHRC has its own commitments to accessibility. We are guided by our Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate. We also provide eLearning information on accessibility, such as our eLearning module on the duty to accommodate.
This document outlines the steps the OHRC has taken and plans to take during the next five years (2014-2019) to:
The OHRC works to advance the understanding of the duty to accommodate and accessibility using our mandate under the Ontario Human Rights Code. For example, the OHRC recently released Minds that Matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions, and is developing a policy on mental heath and addictions for release in 2014. An eLearning module on human rights and the duty to accommodate is available on the OHRC’s website, and the organization routinely provides training to the public on these topics.
Systems and practices are already in place to help the OHRC comply with the requirements under the AODA, the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, the Integrated Accessibility Standards, Ontario Regulation 191/11 and the Human Rights Code.
The OHRC has an internal guide on plain language writing and staff have been trained on plain language writing.
The OHRC is planning take the following steps help meet the goal of being an organization that is fully accessible to persons with disabilities. These activities will help the OHRC comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA, the IASR and the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service in the following areas:
The OHRC is committed to advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities using our mandate under the Code, through activities such as public education, policy development, public inquiries and litigation. The OHRC makes the following commitments on promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities.
The OHRC is committed to providing customer service in a way that best respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities. The OHRC will continue to adhere to its policies and procedures on Providing goods and services to people with disabilities and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation.
The OHRC is committed to integrating accessibility considerations into procurement processes and will continue to comply with the OPS’ Guidelines: Meeting Accessibility Obligations in Procurement and the Management Board of Cabinet Procurement Directive, April 2011 as well as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its regulations regarding accessibility in procurement.
Sections 22-32 of the IASR require that employers take steps to ensure that employees are offered appropriate accommodation throughout their careers in a way that best respects their dignity and supports their full inclusion and advancement. The OHRC is committed to accessible employment practices and policies to attract and retain employees with disabilities. The OHRC is also committed to providing accommodation to employees with disabilities in a way that allows them to take part fully and meaningfully in the OHRC’s work, in a way that best respects their dignity. The OHRC also believes that inclusive design and integration are preferable to individual accommodations, where possible.
The OHRC will continue to provide training on disability and the duty to accommodate to all staff. As part of its mandate, the OHRC will also continue to offer training on disability and the duty to accommodate to the public.
The OHRC encourages feedback about the its accessibility, including customer service, website, employment practices, procurement, etc. Feedback can be submitted using an online request form, which is available at: www.ohrc.on.ca/en/contact/ohrc-feedback. Feedback may also be made in writing, by telephone, TTY or email to:
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY Local: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
The Executive Director or a delegate will review the customer feedback, investigate the situation, try to resolve it and provide a response within 14 business days of receiving the information.
The OHRC will report annually about our progress on these commitments to identify and remove barriers for persons with disabilities, and the steps we have taken to comply with the requirements of the IASR. The OHRC will also report publicly on any barriers for persons with disabilities that are raised through the feedback process, and will identify the steps it is taking to address them, where possible.
 Section 4 (2) of the IASR requires that: “The Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly and designated public sector organizations shall establish, review and update their accessibility plans in consultation with persons with disabilities and if they have established an accessibility advisory committee, they shall consult with the committee.” O. Reg. 191/11, s. 4 (2).
IASR Section 4 (3): “The Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly and designated public sector organizations shall,
(a) prepare an annual status report on the progress of measures taken to implement the strategy referenced in clause (1) (a), including steps taken to comply with this Regulation; and
 Section 23 of the IASR requires that hiring managers inform job applicants that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the testing and interviewing materials or process. If a job applicant requests accommodation, the hiring manager must consult with the applicant and provide or arrange for a suitable accommodation. However, job applicants may not know what format the testing will take (for example, that reading a large amount of materials will be required) during the interview process, and therefore may not know if they need accommodation, or what type of accommodation is appropriate.
 Section 11 of the IASR requires that organizations with processes for receiving and responding to feedback make sure those processes are accessible for persons with disabilities by providing accessible formats and communication supports on request.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
between The Attorney General of Ontario and
The Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission,
on behalf of the Commission
The Minister and the Chief Commissioner share a commitment to the principles captured in the preamble to Ontario’s Human Rights Code, which recognizes the importance of and the need to reflect relevant international human rights principles, and agree that a strong and independent Ontario Human Rights Commission, capable of fulfilling its mandate efficiently and effectively, contributes substantially to the realization of those principles. (Appendix I sets out, for convenience, the relevant portions of the preamble to the Code.) To that end, the Minister and Chief Commissioner share the goal of establishing a relationship that ensures the responsible administration of the Commission and the fulfillment of its legislative mandate in a manner consistent with the effective and efficient use of public resources and with the Commission’s independent role in facilitating compliance with the Code.
The Minister and the Chief Commissioner are also committed to ensuring the flow of appropriate information between the Ministry and the Commission to assist each in fulfilling its proper role in respect of the Code.
In this Memorandum of Understanding:
“AEAD” means the Management Board of Cabinet’s Agency Establishment and Accountability Directive;
“Chief Commissioner” means the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council pursuant to section 27 of the Code and includes any Acting Chief Commissioner appointed temporarily under section 28 of the Code;
“Code” means the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, as amended from time to time;
“Commission” means the statutory body known as the Ontario Human Rights Commission and comprising the appointed members of the Commission and the public servants appointed under the Public Service of Ontario Act to carry out the Commission’s administrative and operational powers and obligations;
“Commissioners” means the members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to the Commission pursuant to section 27 of the Code;
“Deputy Minister” means the deputy minister of the Ministry;
“Executive Director” means the Executive Director of the Commission;
“FIPPA” means the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, as amended from time to time;
“MBC” means Management Board of Cabinet;
“MOU” means Memorandum of Understanding;
“Minister” means the Attorney General of Ontario, or such other minister to whom the Lieutenant Governor in Council may subsequently assign ministerial responsibility for the Code;
“Ministry” means the ministry led from time to time by the Minister;
“PSOA” means the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 35, Schedule A, as it may be amended from time to time;
“TB” means the Treasury Board of Ontario; and
“Tribunal” means the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
The purpose of this MOU is to:
The parties acknowledge and agree to the following principles.
This MOU is to be construed and applied in a manner consistent with its guiding principles, with the Code and any relevant regulations and international human rights principles that guide development and protection of effective national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights and of ensuring the pluralism of their membership and their independence. It does not modify, limit or interfere with the responsibilities of any of its parties as established by law. In case of conflict between this MOU and any statute (including the Code) or regulation, the statute or regulation prevails to the extent of the conflict. Section 47(2) of the Code gives the Code presumptive primacy over other legislation in case of conflict
- within thirty days of the date any significant change to the Commission’s statutory mandate, authority or governance structure, other than those already scheduled to come into force by January 1, 2009, takes effect;
- the date the Lieutenant Governor in Council assigns ministerial responsibility for the Code to the minister of a different ministry, unless that Minister and Chief Commissioner agree by letter that this MOU will continue in force without review or amendment; or
- four years from the date this MOU takes effect.
- that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly receives the Commission’s annual report for one fiscal year not later than June 30 of the next fiscal year; and
- that the Minister receives a copy of the annual report at least thirty (30) days before the Speaker receives it
and shall appear, where invited or permitted, and respond to inquiries about the affairs of the Commission before committees of the Legislative Assembly.
The Deputy Minister is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Ministry in providing administrative support to the Commission in fulfilling its mandate and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned to him or her by the Minister, by TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and by this MOU.
Commission staff report and are accountable to the Executive Director for their performance.
The Chief Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that appointees and staff of the Commission are informed of the conflict of interest rules, including the rules on political activity, that govern the Commission.
The Minister is responsible for:
- advising the Commission through the Chief Commissioner, as appropriate, of Ontario government public education or communications initiatives that relate to the Commission’s responsibilities;
- monitoring for compliance with the Code in the development of government policy;
- developing MOUs for the Commission with the Chief Commissioner and signing them into effect;
The Chief Commissioner is responsible for:
- directing corrective action, as needed, in respect of the Commission’s operations and execution of its functions;
- ensuring that public funds are used with integrity and honesty;
- providing both the Minister and the Minister of Finance with copies of every audit report and with the Commission’s response to each such report and to any recommendations contained within it in a timely manner;
- appropriate management systems (financial, information technology, human resources) are in place for the Commission’s effective administration;
- the Commission fulfills its mandate and operates within its approved budget allocation;
- performance measures and targets are developed for the Commission;
- there is an appropriate framework for orienting and training Commissioners and staff;
- Commissioners and staff are aware of and comply with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance Directives;
- the Commission has a process for responding, in a timely manner, to media inquiries and resolving promptly complaints or other concerns raised by the public that relate to the Commission’s operations;
- conflict of interest rules, approved by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, are in place for Commission staff; and
- Commission policies are publicly available;
- developing performance criteria for evaluation of the Executive Director; and
- evaluating the Executive Director’s performance against those criteria;
- monitoring the Commission’s performance to ensure ethical behaviour, accountability and excellence in management, sound use of public resources, value for money, openness and transparency;
- working with the Minister to minimize duplication of services; and
- advising the Minister promptly of, and attempting to consult with him or her in advance about, any Commission plans or initiatives that may affect materially government policy, unless such advice or consultation would compromise the Commission’s mandate, independence or ability to function.
The Commissioners are responsible for:
Individual Commissioners are also responsible for carrying out such responsibilities of the Chief Commissioner as he or she may delegate to them under section 27(12) of the Code, subject to such conditions as the Chief Commissioner may prescribe.
The Deputy Minister is responsible for:
- arranging for the administrative, financial and other support for the Commission that this MOU prescribes;
In addition to being the ethics executive for the Commission for purposes of the PSOA, the Executive Director is responsible for:
- consulting with the Deputy Minister, as needed, on matters of mutual importance, including services provided by the Ministry, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and Ministry policies;
- establishing a system for the retention of formal Commission documents and for making such documents publicly available, as appropriate;
- receiving information from the Deputy Minister on emerging issues and events that concern, or could reasonably be expected to concern, the Chief Commissioner and the Executive Director in the exercise of their responsibilities;
The parties to this MOU recognize that the timely exchange of information on the operations and administration of the Commission is essential to the Minister in meeting his or her responsibilities to report and respond to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Commission. They recognize, as well, that it is essential that the Chief Commissioner be kept informed about government initiatives and broad policy directions that may affect the Commission’s mandate and functions.
The Minister and the Chief Commissioner therefore agree as follows.
The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Commission and its staff operate in accordance with the Code, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, Public Service Commission directives under the PSOA and Ministry financial and administrative policies and procedures.
- a system is in place for the creation, collection, maintenance and disposal of records; and
- the Commission complies with the TB/MBC Management of Recorded Information Directive and the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 34, Schedule A.
The Commission has in place a formal process, consistent with the government’s service quality standards, for responding to complaints about the quality of the services it provides. Its annual business plan shall include performance measures and targets in respect of customer service and complaint response. This process is separate from any statutory provisions about review or reconsideration of any exercise of the Commission’s statutory powers.
The Chief Commissioner shall provide, on instruction from the Minister of Finance, the Commission’s financial information for consolidation into the Public Accounts. In addition, he or she shall provide annual financial statements to the Minister and shall include them as part of the Commission’s annual report.
The Commission is not required to pay GST.
The government’s Protection Program covers the Commission.
Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner
The Honourable Chris Bentley,
Attorney General of Ontario
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world and is in accord with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations;
And Whereas it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination that is contrary to law, and having as its aim the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province;
And Whereas these principles have been confirmed in Ontario by a number of enactments of the Legislature and it is desirable to revise and extend the protection of human rights in Ontario;
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
. . .
27. (1) The Ontario Human Rights Commission is continued under the name Ontario Human Rights Commission in English and Commission ontarienne des droits de la personne in French. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(2) The Commission shall be composed of such persons as are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(3) Every person appointed to the Commission shall have knowledge, experience or training with respect to human rights law and issues. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(4) In the appointment of persons to the Commission under subsection (2), the importance of reflecting, in the composition of the Commission as a whole, the diversity of Ontario’s population shall be recognized. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(5) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall designate a member of the Commission as Chief Commissioner. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
Powers and duties of Chief Commissioner
(6) The Chief Commissioner shall direct the Commission and exercise the powers and perform the duties assigned to the Chief Commissioner by or under this Act. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
Term of office
(7) The Chief Commissioner and other members of the Commission shall hold office for such term as may be specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(8) The Chief Commissioner and other members of the Commission shall be paid such remuneration and allowance for expenses as are fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(9) The Commission may appoint such employees as it considers necessary for the proper conduct of its affairs and the employees shall be appointed under the Public Service Act. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
Note: On the later of the day the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 35, Schedule C, section 132 comes into force and the day the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 30, section 4 comes into force, subsection (9) is amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 35, Schedule C, subsection 132 (5) by striking out “the Public Service Act” at the end and substituting “Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006”. See: 2006, c. 35, Sched. C, ss. 132 (5), 137 (1).
Evidence obtained in performance of duties
(10) A member of the Commission shall not be required to give testimony in a civil suit or any proceeding as to information obtained in the performance of duties under this Act. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(11) An employee of the Commission shall not be required to give testimony in a civil suit or any proceeding other than a proceeding under this Act as to information obtained in the performance of duties under this Act. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(12) The Chief Commissioner may in writing delegate any of his or her powers, duties or functions under this Act to any member of the Anti-Racism Secretariat, the Disability Rights Secretariat or an advisory group or to any other member of the Commission, subject to such conditions as the Chief Commissioner may set out in the delegation. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(13) The Commission may authorize any function of the Commission to be performed by a division of the Commission composed of at least three members of the Commission. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
Acting Chief Commissioner
28. (1) If the Chief Commissioner dies, resigns or is unable or neglects to perform his or her duties, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint an Acting Chief Commissioner to hold office for such period as may be specified in the appointment. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
(2) An Acting Chief Commissioner shall perform the duties and have the powers of the Chief Commissioner and shall be paid such remuneration and allowance for expenses as are fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
Functions of Commission
29. The functions of the Commission are to promote and advance respect for human rights in Ontario, to protect human rights in Ontario and, recognizing that it is in the public interest to do so and that it is the Commission’s duty to protect the public interest, to identify and promote the elimination of discriminatory practices and, more specifically,
(a) to forward the policy that the dignity and worth of every person be recognized and that equal rights and opportunities be provided without discrimination that is contrary to law;
(b) to develop and conduct programs of public information and education to,
(i) promote awareness and understanding of, respect for and compliance with this Act, and
(ii) prevent and eliminate discriminatory practices that infringe rights under Part I;
(c) to undertake, direct and encourage research into discriminatory practices and to make recommendations designed to prevent and eliminate such discriminatory practices;
(d) to examine and review any statute or regulation, and any program or policy made by or under a statute, and make recommendations on any provision, program or policy that in its opinion is inconsistent with the intent of this Act;
(e) to initiate reviews and inquiries into incidents of tension or conflict, or conditions that lead or may lead to incidents of tension or conflict, in a community, institution, industry or sector of the economy, and to make recommendations, and encourage and co-ordinate plans, programs and activities, to reduce or prevent such incidents or sources of tension or conflict;
(f) to promote, assist and encourage public, municipal or private agencies, organizations, groups or persons to engage in programs to alleviate tensions and conflicts based upon identification by a prohibited ground of discrimination;
(g) to designate programs as special programs in accordance with section 14;
(h) to approve policies under section 30;
(i) to make applications to the Tribunal under section 35;
(j) to report to the people of Ontario on the state of human rights in Ontario and on its affairs;
(k) to perform the functions assigned to the Commission under this or any other Act. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
30. The Commission may approve policies prepared and published by the Commission to provide guidance in the application of Parts I and II. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
. . .
31.6 (1) Every year, the Commission shall prepare an annual report on the affairs of the Commission that occurred during the 12-month period ending on March 31 of each year. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
Report to Speaker
(2) The Commission shall submit the report to the Speaker of the Assembly no later than on June 30 in each year who shall cause the report to be laid before the Assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next session. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
Copy to Minister
(3) The Commission shall give a copy of the report to the Minister at least 30 days before it is submitted to the Speaker under subsection (2). 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
31.7 In addition to the annual report, the Commission may make any other reports respecting the state of human rights in Ontario and the affairs of the Commission as it considers appropriate, and may present such reports to the public or any other person it considers appropriate. 2006, c. 30, s. 4.
See: 2006, c. 30, ss. 4, 12 (2).
Public Services of Ontario Act, 2006
Public Service Commission
. . .
Public Service Commission
Delegation of powers, duties and functions
prescribed individuals and chairs and deputy ministers
in respect of public servants appointed to work in
Commission public bodies
Pursuant to subsections 44(4), (5), (9) and (10) and clause 55(1)(c) of the
Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA)
PARAGRAPHS 1 AND 2, AND ONLY ONE OF PART A, B, C OR D, SHALL APPLY TO ANY
ONE COMMISSION PUBLIC BODY (THEREFORE, PARTS A, B, C AND D EACH BEGINS
WITH PARAGRAPH #3)
. . .
Delegation to deputy ministers and prescribed individuals in respect of public servants appointed to work in a Commission public body pursuant to PSOA subsections 44(4), (5), (9), (10)
1. This instrument sets out the Delegation of Authority under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, (the Act) made under subsection 44(4) of the Act by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to the persons described in Parts A, B, C and D of this document effective the date that the Act is proclaimed.
2. All references to section numbers in this document refer to section numbers of the Act.
PART A: For use where delegations are to a PSC delegate who is a public servant in the Senior Management Group and to a deputy minister
3. Pursuant to clause 44(4)(a), the PSC delegates to the individual prescribed under clause 55(1)(c), if that person is in a position classified within the Senior Management Group, the PSC’s powers, duties and functions in respect of public servants appointed to work in the Commission public body for which that person was prescribed, as follows:
PSOA Powers, Duties and Functions
In Relation To
Subsections 32(2), (3)
Appointing persons to employment by the Crown, for a fixed term or otherwise, to work in a Commission public body, as prescribed under clause 8 (1)(b) of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, in classifications other than Senior Management Group 3 or 4, Information Technology Executive 3 or 4, Financial Management and Control Group 3 or Crown Counsel 5
Reappointing for one or more further terms persons appointed for a fixed term
Imposing disciplinary measures for cause (including suspension but not dismissal)
Conducting an investigation to determine cause for the purposes of section 34
Pending the conclusion of an investigation, suspending the public servant for a period not exceeding the period prescribed under clause 55(1)(a)
Withholding the public servant’s salary, wages or any other remuneration, including benefits, during the suspension under section 36; if he or she considers it appropriate to do so, and at the end of the investigation, reimbursing amounts that were withheld if he or she considers it appropriate to do so
Where a public servant is appointed to employment for a term that is not fixed, directing that the public servant be on probation for a period of not more than one year
Receiving at least two weeks’ notice in writing from a public servant of his or her intention to resign from his or her position
Receiving from a public servant notice in writing of his or her withdrawal of the notice of intention to resign at any time before its effective date if no person has been appointed or selected for appointment to the position held by the public servant; and Approving the withdrawal of the resignation
4. Dismissal Delegation to Deputy Minister
a. Pursuant to subsection 44(4), the PSC delegates to the deputy minister of the ministry whose minister is responsible for a Commission public body the power to dismiss a public servant under sections 34, 38 and 39 appointed to employment under subsection 32(2) to work in that Commission public body.
b. Pursuant to subsection 44(10), a deputy minister shall obtain PSC permission to exercise his or her discretion in respect of subsection 38(1) for a regular employee who is employed in the Senior Management Group 2, 3 or 4, Information Technology Executive 2, 3 or 4, Financial Management and Control Group 2 or 3, Crown Counsel 5 or Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner 1 classifications.
c. Pursuant to subsection 44(10), the deputy minister may not subdelegate the delegation in paragraph 4a) of this document with respect to subsection 38(1).
5. Abandonment of Position Delegation to Deputy Minister
Pursuant to subsection 44(4), the PSC delegates to the deputy minister whose minister is responsible for a Commission public body the power under subsection 42(1) to declare in writing that a public servant appointed to employment under subsection 32(2) to work in that Commission public body has abandoned his or her position and that his or her employment by the Crown is terminated.
6. Pursuant to subsection 44(9), the PSC imposes the following restriction on a deputy minister’s entitlement under subsection 44(6) to subdelegate to one or more public servants employed under section 32 who work in his or her ministry any of the powers, duties or functions delegated under subsection 44(4) in respect of public servants appointed to work in a Commission public body:
. . .
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”) works to provide the highest quality service to the people of Ontario. Our Complaints Policy can help if you need to make a complaint about the OHRC’s quality of service, or the conduct of our staff or Commissioners. It also includes complaints you may have about the OHRC’s operational policies and procedures or the failure to apply them. The OHRC is committed to treating everyone involved in a complaint in a fair and respectful manner.
Complaints about the Executive Director should be sent to the Deputy Attorney General, Ministry of the Attorney General.
Complaints about Commissioners should be sent to the Chief Commissioner.
The Executive Director or Chief Commissioner will not deal with a complaint if:
Note: Complaints about Ontario Human Rights Code related discrimination by OHRC staff or Commissioners or its policies and procedures will be dealt with according to the OHRC’s Internal human rights policy.
This Policy is available in various accessible formats. Please contact the OHRC describing the format you need.
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Office of the Chief Commissioner
180 Dundas Street West
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Deputy Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toll Free: 1-800-518-7901
Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9
Tel: (416) 326-9511
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY (Local): (416) 326-0603
TTY (Toll Free) 1-800-308-5561
Telephone directory: INFO-GO
Media inquiries: (416) 314-4528
Public education services: Request form
Request an OHRC initiated-application, inquiry or intervention: firstname.lastname@example.org
The HRLSC provides free legal assistance to people across Ontario who have experienced discrimination contrary to Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and who may want to file an application to the HRTO.
Human Rights Legal Support Centre
180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 0A1
Tel: (416) 597-4900
Toll Free: 1-866—625-5179
TTY: (416) 597-4903
TTY Toll Free: 1-866 612-8627
The HRTO deals with all claims of discrimination filed under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Tribunal resolves applications through mediation or adjudication.
Go to the Tribunal's website for:
Call the Tribunal for information about:
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
655 Bay Street, 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2A3
Tel : (416) 326-1312
Toll Free: 1-866-598-0322
TTY (Local): (416) 326-2027
TTY (Toll Free): 1-866-607-1240
Fax: (416) 326-2199
Fax (Toll Free): 1-866-355-6099