About the Commission

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).

Ontario Human Rights Commission Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022

This Strategic Plan provides the framework for 2017 – 2022. It lays out our proactive areas of focus for the coming five years. It is geared toward achieving results and creating an environment that encourages and supports a commitment to human rights accountability in our community. This Strategic Plan allows for developing, each year, a focused list of valid, necessary and measurable actions that advance the OHRC towards results. Internally, it provides the basis for more detailed operational plans to make sure that all organizational activities connect to results.
 
We envision an inclusive society where everyone takes responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights; where everyone is valued and treated with equal dignity and respect; and where everyone’s human rights are a lived reality.

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.

Administrative: 

OHRC Organization Chart - Linear format

November 2014

Chief Commissioner

  • Executive Advisor (reports to Executive Director)
  • Commission and Secretariat Coordinator (Designated Bilingual) (reports to Executive Advisor)

Executive Director

  • Executive Assistant Vacant
  • Administrative Assistant

Chief Administrative Officer – Centralized Services Branch

  • Junior Financial Analyst 
  • Information Technology Team Lead
  • Coordinator of Administrative Services
  • Technology Support Analyst
  • Administrative Clerk (2 positions)
  • Web Administration Developer
  • Network specialist
  • Network Architect, Web Lead 

Manager - Communications & Issues Management

  • Senior Communications Officer
  • Media Relations Officer (Designated Bilingual)
  • Information Officer (2 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Special Events Coordinator
  • Analyst Issues Coordinator
  • Correspondence Coordinator

Director Policy, Education, Monitoring & Outreach

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Senior Policy Analysts (5 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Human Rights Education and Change Specialist ( 2 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Public Education and Outreach Officer (3)
  • Electronic Education Specialist

Manager – Legal Services and Inquiries (Designated Bilingual)

  • Counsel (6 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Legal Secretary
  • Inquiry Analyst (3 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Articling Student
Administrative: 

Meet our Commissioners

Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane – Appointed October 2015

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.

Commissioner Karen Drake – Appointed June 2016

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.

Commissioner Ruth Goba – Appointed October 2006

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.

Commissioner Mary Gusella – Appointed February 2016

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).

Commissioner Rabia Khedr - Appointed September 2016

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.

Commissioner Julie Lee – Appointed September 2009

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.

Commissioner Kwame McKenzie - Appointed June 2016

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.

Commissioner Errol Mendes – Appointed September 2009

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.

Commissioner Bruce Porter - Appointed June 2016

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.

Commissioner Maurice Switzer - Appointed June 2016

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.

Administrative: 

Our values

We commit to embodying the following in all of our work and ways of working:

  • Respectful, engaged, trusting and collaborative relationships: We will engage in respectful, trusting and collaborative relationships, and put the lived-experience of people at the centre of our work.
     
  • Transformative approaches: We will be courageous, persistent, creative and innovative in pursuing systemic change and real impact.
     
  • Integrity: We will be principled and independent in advancing and securing substantive equality.
     
  • Accountability: We will be transparent and accountable to the people of Ontario both in terms of the pursuit of our mandate and the use of our resources.

Public education

Developing a culture of human rights

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.

Promotion & Partnership

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.

Speakers

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.

International liaison

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
Attention: Director

 

Litigation and inquiry strategy

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. 

What is an Inquiry?

The Code says the OHRC can conduct an inquiry to:

  • look into incidents of or conditions of tension or conflict in a community, institution 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.
  • look into programs, policy and practices made under statute for consistency with the Code and make recommendations.

Inquiries can be large or small, simple or complex.  They could include:

  • private letters to an organization asking about an issue and requesting a response or more information
  • public meetings
  • online-questionnaires or feedback forms
  • fact-finding, investigation, and requesting and obtaining information

What are Commission-initiated Applications?

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. 

How do we choose which cases to be involved with?

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:

  • Would this support our statutory mandate, high-level strategic goals and priority areas of work?
  • would it complement current, future or potential activities of the Commission?
  • Will it have a broad, systemic impact?
  • does it raise significant  issues of public policy or public interest from a human rights perspective?
  • will it benefit vulnerable or marginalized people protected by the Code?
  • what is the likely outcome?

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:

  • the seriousness or importance of the matter?
  • the complexity of issue?
  • Could it be done within current OHRC resources?

How do we spot emerging issues?

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:

  • issues raised in news media and other electronic publications
  • cases scheduled to be heard by courts or tribunals as well as court and tribunal decisions
  • notices from the Tribunal of applications that may raise significant human rights issues through, for example, interim decisions identifying opportunities for potential Commission intervention
  • requests for Commission initiated-applications, inquiries or interventions from the public. To make a request contact legal@ohrc.on.ca
  • issues identified by staff and Commissioners 
  • information from the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies about potential inquiries and legal proceedings
  • opportunities from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (which provides free legal advice to individuals who think they may have a discrimination claim)
  • stakeholders or other partners also identify opportunities 

Some examples of OHRC Inquiries and Litigation

  • The Commission intervened as a full party in JT. v. Hockey Canada, an HRTO application about locker room access for trans amateur hockey players.  The Commission and applicant negotiated a settlement requiring Hockey Canada to allow all players in Ontario to access locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity, review and revise its procedures to protect privacy about players’ trans status, and provide training to all Ontario coaches as trainers about gender identity and related discrimination and harassment.
  • Moore v. British Columbia (Education), 2012 SCC 61 (CanLII) at the Supreme Court of Canada, involved a student with severe dyslexia whose specialized learning program was cut by the school district because of budgetary constraints.  The OHRC argued that the selection of a comparator group was not required and the service at issue was general education, not special education.  Both arguments were adopted by the Supreme Court, which ultimately held that the school district’s action amounted to discrimination.   
  • Peel Law Association v. Pieters, 2013 ONCA 396 (CanLII) at the Court of Appeal for Ontario,  involved two Black lawyers who were singled out and approached in an aggressive manner by a librarian in the Peel Law Association lounge.  The OHRC’s argument about the three-part test for a prima facie case of discrimination was confirmed by the Court of Appeal, which rejected the stricter test of discrimination applied by the Divisional Court.  The decision also made clear that racial profiling is a form of everyday racism.
  • We intervened in Claybourn v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 HRTO 1298 (CanLII) to further access to justice.  The Tribunal considered the interpretation and application of section 45.1 of the Code in the context of previously filed public complaints under the Police Services Act (“PSA”) to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director about the conduct of police officers.  The Tribunal accepted the OHRC argument that the reasonable expectations of the parties had to be considered. It exercised its discretion not to dismiss the Tribunal applications under section 45.1 and confirmed that discipline under the PSA and relief to victims of discrimination under the Code can both be pursued. 
  • Jahn v. Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, at the Tribunal, dealt with mental health and the corrections system. We addressed the systemic issues that Ms. Jahn raised in relation to appropriate mental health services and the placement of people with mental illness in segregation. The settlement between the OHRC, Ministry and Ms. Jahn will help to ensure the proper identification and care of women with mental illness in provincial correctional institutions.

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 held an inquiry into a rental housing licensing bylaw in the City of Waterloo in 2012, which imposed, among other things, per-person floor area requirements, gross floor area requirements, and minimum separation distances on certain rental units with three or more occupants.  As a result of the inquiry and subsequent negotiations, the City made a number of changes including requiring that the impact on tenants be considered before it revokes or suspends a licence, committing to monitoring the impact of the bylaw on Code-protected groups with the assistance of an expert, and making changes that make it easier for people to share bedrooms.    
  • In January 2014, the OHRC participated in an inquest into the deaths of three individuals with mental health disabilities, and issued a report in February of 2014 to help raise public awareness about how police use of force uniquely affects people with mental health disabilities. 
  • OHRC litigation has led to  partnerships to create and sustain human rights organizational change with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. 
Resource Type: 

Our commitment to service

 

We, the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, in full compliance with the spirit, intent and provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, 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:

  • being sensitive, aware and knowledgeable about the realities of prejudice and discrimination;
  • recognizing and accommodating the diverse needs of our many client groups;
  • providing accessible services, information and materials;
  • acting on issues brought to the Commission as quickly as possible while maintaining the high quality of our work;
  • responding to questions, concerns and criticism in a prompt, fair and respectful way;

Providing goods and services to people with disabilities

1. Our mission:

The mission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”) is to provide leadership for the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights in Ontario. The OHRC’s vision is an Ontario in which everyone is valued, treated with dignity and respect, and where human rights are nurtured by everyone.
 
The 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 AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and providing high quality service where all persons have equal access to its services.
 

2. Our commitment to service:

In fulfilling our mission, the OHRC works at all times to provide our goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Commissioners and staff are committed to giving people with disabilities equal opportunity to access our goods and services and to allowing them to equally benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers. 
 
Our ongoing Commitment to Service is: 
We, the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, in full compliance with the spirit, intent and provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, 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:
  1. being sensitive, aware and knowledgeable about the realities of prejudice and discrimination; 
  2. recognizing and accommodating the diverse needs of our many client groups; 
  3. providing accessible services, information and materials; 
  4. acting on issues brought to the OHRC as quickly as possible while maintaining the high quality of our work; and
  5. responding to questions, concerns and criticism in a prompt, fair and respectful way.
  6.  

3. Providing goods and services to people with disabilities:

The OHRC is committed to excellence in serving all customers, including those with disabilities, and will carry out our functions and responsibilities in an accessible manner. Each request for accommodation is assessed on a case-by-case basis. In addition we follow these steps:
 

3.1 Communication:

We communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take their specific needs into account. We train staff how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
 
We train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. If communication over the telephone is not suitable or available, the OHRC will offer to communicate with customers in other ways including email, TTY and relay services.
 
The OHRC will arrange and pay for sign language interpretation, captioning or other disability-related communication services for its meetings and public events, in advance or upon request depending on the audience. (Any requests should be made as early as possible due to the high demand for these types of services across the province.)
 

3.2 Assistive devices:

The OHRC ensures that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers while accessing our goods or services. 
 
The OHRC only uses facilities for meetings and public events that are accessible for people with disabilities who use mobility aids and devices or have other facility-related needs.
 
Customers are encouraged to contact the OHRC (or staff or manager involved) as early as possible if any special arrangements are required.
 

3.3 Accessible documents:

All of the OHRC’s public documents, including correspondence and publications, are available in electronic format. OHRC publications are released simultaneously in electronic format and made available on our website www.ohrc.on.ca which meets W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. 
 
All documents created by the OHRC are available, upon request, in other alternate formats, such as Braille, to accommodate disability-related needs. The OHRC will tell the individual when the document will be available in the requested format.
 

3.4 Scent sensitive office:

Due to health concerns related to exposure to scented products, such as perfumes and colognes, staff and visitors are asked to be considerate in their use of such products when visiting the OHRC office; they should be aware they may be asked to not use such products should this be required to accommodate individuals with environmental sensitivities.
 

4. Use of service animals and support persons:

We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person. We will ensure that staff are properly trained on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person.
 

5. Notice of temporary disruption:

The OHRC will inform customers if there is a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by persons with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, how long it may last, and what other facilities or services are available.
 
This information will be placed on our automated phone system and at the entrance to our offices on the 8th and 9th Floors at 180 Dundas Street West, Toronto. If visitors are expected we will do our best to let them know about any disruption including waiting outside the offices for those visitors to help them as needed.
 

6. Training for staff:

The OHRC provides training for all Commissioners and staff so that they understand this policy, the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, how to interact and communicate with people with disabilities and how to respond to requests for accessibility and accommodation.
 
The OHRC will maintain and update an online training package for all current and future staff.
 

7. Feedback process:

The OHRC strives to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are appreciated. 
 
Feedback may be made in writing, by telephone, TTY or email to the:
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9
 
Tel: 416-314-4562
Fax: 416-325-2004
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, attempt to resolve it and provide a response within 14 business days of receiving the information.
 
Note: Complaints will be addressed according to other OHRC complaint procedures.
 

8. Modifications to this or other policies:

We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. 
 

A scent sensitive workplace

Background

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.

Policy: A scent sensitive work place

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.

Can scents cause health problems?

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:

headaches

loss of appetite

depression

dizziness

upper respiratory symptoms

anxiety

light-headedness

shortness of breath

nausea

weakness

difficulty with concentration

fatigue

malaise

skin irritation

numbness

confusion

insomnia

 

What types of products contain scents?

Scents are included in a very large range of products including:

shampoo & conditioners

potpourri

fragrances & perfumes

lotions & creams

soaps

colognes & aftershaves

deodorants

oils

air fresheners & deodorizers

hair sprays

candles

industrial & household chemicals

cosmetics

cleaning products

 

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.

Raising awareness of scent sensitivities

  • Staff will be informed of this policy through email, Branch/area meetings, signs posted in buildings and materials posted on the shared ‘N’ drive.
  • Visitors will be informed of this policy through signs. Meeting hosts are asked to explain the policy further if needed.
  • This policy can be reviewed and changed because of experience or new knowledge.

What should I do if I have a multiple chemical sensitivities?

  • If you are suffering from the effects of odours in the workplace, try, if possible, to identify the source of the problem.
  • Discuss your sensitivity with your manager, so that he / she is aware of the issues.

If the issue is a general office or building issue

  • Discuss this with your manager. Your manager should then inform the JHSC in writing so the issue can be followed up with building management or otherwise as appropriate.
  • Wherever possible, the Commission will give one week’s advance notice of activities as carpet cleaning, spring-cleaning, painting etc. When you receive such notices, discuss with your Manager how / if this may affect you and, if needed, make arrangements to be accommodated during this activity.
  • While you need not alert your manager every time there is a notice of general office cleaning, it may be helpful to remind them of the previous accommodation so that arrangements can be made on a timely basis.

If the source is another employee

  • If you feel comfortable approaching the individual then you should do so. Explain what the problem is and discuss how the conflict could be resolved, e.g. by asking them to wear a lighter scent, or less of it.
  • If you do not feel comfortable approaching the individual, or if they do not respond well to your request, discuss the situation with your manager to identify how the conflict could be resolved.
  • The manager should approach the individual to discuss how the issue could be resolved. On reaching a resolution, the manager should document and inform all parties of what has been agreed.
  • If the individual does not adjust their behaviour they will be in violation of this policy and the manager should handle this through the standard disciplinary procedures.

What should I do if I am approached by someone with a multiple chemical sensitivity?

  • Employees should consider all accommodation requests with dignity & respect, and in good faith.
  • Discuss the issues with the individual to identify how the issue may be resolved.
  • If you are unable to accommodate the request and/or you feel uncomfortable discussing this with the individual, explain this and then speak to your manager.

The responsibilities of the manager and JHSC

  • Managers and the JHSC are required to follow up concerns and take any necessary action in a timely manner.

OHRC - Multi year disability accessibility plan

Section 1: Introduction

OHRC statement of commitment:

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:

  • Customer service
  • Information and communications
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • The Built Environment

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.[1] 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.[2]

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:

  1. prevent and remove barriers for persons with disabilities
  2. meet the standards set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its regulations.

Section 2: Current accessibility policies, practices, facility and service features

General

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

Customer Service

  • Communications supports including ASL interpretation and captioning are provided at OHRC-hosted public events; other forms of accommodation are available upon request
  • All OHRC-hosted public events take place at accessible locations. The Special Events Coordinator visits each proposed event space to make sure that it is fully accessible
  • Standard language on all invitations invites people to contact the OHRC about additional Ontario Human Rights Code-related accommodation requests before event dates
  • As required under Section 7 of the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation, a web-based feedback process is available to help the OHRC better understand how well customer expectations are being met. People can also provide feedback via telephone, TTY, mail or fax.

Information and Communications

  • The OHRC has developed and launched a website that is designed to comply with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA  (www.ohrc.on.ca)
  • Staff are provided with specialized training on emerging technologies, designing accessible e-learning modules, and other topics to improve the accessibility of the OHRC’s online resources
  • Staff routinely take steps to make sure that the organization’s website and communications products are as accessible as possible, including:
    • The tools and products that are used to develop the website and other online materials have built in accessibility features
    • Web developers and any other external vendors are selected, in part, based on their experience designing accessible websites.
    • Any online materials, such as e-learning modules, are tested regularly during their development and are tested on an ongoing basis by staff and by external contacts who have disabilities
  • The OHRC provides local and toll free TTY numbers for communication with people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing
  • The OHRC uses a range of communication methods such as email and social media platforms to communicate with stakeholders and communities
  • All public documents including correspondence and publications are available in accessible digital formats, including accessible PDFs for all new publications. Captioning and transcripts are provided for all video content
  • All staff are expected to use plain language to write publications, documents, training materials and correspondence. Assistance with plain language editing is available for all OHRC policies and publications.

Employment

  • The OHRC is a scent-sensitive workplace. A Scent sensitivity policy exists to accommodate staff who report various sensitivities to chemicals or scents.
  • The OHRC follows the OPS’ Employee Accommodation and Return to Work Guidelines and Operating Policy for developing and documenting individual accommodation plans, return-to work plans and workplace emergency response information for employees with disabilities. 
  • The Orientation Manual for new OHRC employees includes information about employees’ rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA and OPS Policies that foster an inclusive workplace. These include the Scent Sensitive Policy, the internal Human Rights Policy, and the OHRC’s Policy on providing goods and services to people with disabilities

Accessibility Training

The OHRC has an internal guide on plain language writing and staff have been trained on plain language writing.

Section 3: Strategies and actions planned to 2019

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:

  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communications
  • Procurement
  • Accessibility Training
  • Employment.

General

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 will take steps to ensure that its workspaces and common areas are accessible for persons with disabilities. The OHRC will perform an inclusive design review of its offices to make sure that they are accessible for visitors and employees with disabilities. The Ministry of the Attorney General’s facilities branch will be involved in this review, where necessary.
    Timeline: 2015-2019

Customer Service

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 will amend staff email signatures to include information about the OHRC’s policy on providing goods and services to people with disabilities.
    Timeline: 2014
  • The OHRC will include feedback opportunities at the end of education and training sessions to understand how well Code-related accommodation needs of participants are being met and will consider opportunities for improvement.
    Timeline: ongoing

Information and Communications

  • The OHRC is committed to making sure its information and communications systems and products are accessible for persons with disabilities.
  • The OHRC will amend the telephone script to improve accessibility by, for example, reducing the number of options in the script, making it easier to connect to staff directly, and by removing superfluous pre-recorded information.
    Timeline: underway
  • The OHRC will develop an internal document template with clear guidelines on accessibility standards and formatting for OHRC publications and correspondence. The document will be based on the accessibility components in the OPS’ Correspondence Style Guide (2012)[3]. Staff will receive training on accessibility standards for correspondence, and will be expected to adhere to the organization’s guidelines on accessible correspondence. 
    Timeline: 2014
  • The OHRC will conduct reviews to identify and address any barriers in the ways that the organization makes information available to the public. The OHRC will continue to review website accessibility with external organizations and persons with disabilities to maintain the highest possible level of accessibility for users with disabilities and to keep up with emerging trends and technologies.
    Timeline: 2014 and ongoing

Procurement

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. 

  • The OHRC will identify accessibility requirements in project terms of reference, requests for proposals and contracts with third-party service providers. 
    Timeline: ongoing
  • Where necessary, staff with disabilities may be consulted about any accessibility considerations at the outset of the procurement so that they are included in the contract.
    Timeline: ongoing

Employment

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 adhere to the Ontario Public Service’s policies and procedures on employment accommodation for both current and prospective employees with disabilities, as well as the standards outlined in the IASR.
    Timeline: ongoing
  • The OHRC is committed to ensuring that the recruitment process for new staff is accessible. For example, the OHRC will review and monitor whether hiring managers always tell prospective employees that accommodations are available throughout the interview process. The OHRC will also explore ways to advise candidates about the type of testing that they will be expected to do during the interview process so that job applicants can request an appropriate accommodation for their disability for each job competition.[4]
    Timeline: Starting in 2014 and ongoing.
  • The OHRC will create an accessible quiet room for staff and visitors. This will  improve accessibility for persons with disabilities who may require, for example, the room to take medication or rest, and it will also improve accessibility for staff and visitors based on creed. It will also improve accessibility for women who are breastfeeding.
    Timeline: 2014
  • In accordance with Sections 12 and 26 of the IASR, the OHRC will review the software and systems it uses to manage and store information to identify and address any barriers for employees with disabilities. These reviews will be done in consultation with employees with disabilities, and may result in changes to OHRC business rules or recommendations to explore new software.
    Timeline: 2015-2019

Accessibility Training

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 will provide ongoing training to all staff and commissioners on human rights for persons with disabilities. The OHRC will develop a training plan to ensure that all staff and Commissioners receive ongoing training on accessibility and the duty to accommodate for disability and other grounds of the Human Rights Code. For example, the OHRC will also train all staff on the OHRC’s new Policy on mental health and addictions. 

Timeline: ongoing

Feedback Process:

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[5] to:

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9 

Tel: 416-314-4562
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
Fax: 416-325-2004
TTY Local: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Email: info@ohrc.on.ca

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.

Conclusion

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.


[1] 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).

[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

(b) post the status report on their website, if any, and provide the report in an accessible format upon request.” O. Reg. 191/11, s. 4 (3); O. Reg. 413/12, s. 3 (1).

[4] 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.

[5] 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.  

 

Code Grounds: 
Organizational responsibility: 

Memorandum of understanding between the Attorney General of Ontario and the Ontario Human Rights Commission

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
between The Attorney General of Ontario and
The Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission,
on behalf of the Commission

Preamble

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.

1.0. Definitions 

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.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this MOU is to:

  1. clarify the financial, administrative, human resources and reporting relationships between the Minister and the Commission through its Chief Commissioner;
  2. clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Minister, the Chief Commissioner, the Deputy Minister, the Executive Director and the Commission; and
  3. set out the expectations for the administrative, financial, auditing, human resources and reporting arrangements between the Commission and the Ministry.

3.  Commission's legal authority and mandate 

  1. The Commission’s legal authority derives from the Code.
  2. The Corporations Act and the Corporations Information Act do not apply to the Commission.
  3. The Commission does not have independent legal personality and cannot sue, be sued or hold property in its own right.
  4. The Commission’s mandate is to protect, promote and advance human rights in Ontario.  Its functions are those set out in section 29 of the Code, as it may be amended from time to time.  Appendix I sets out, for convenience, the functions prescribed for the Commission in the Code at the time this MOU comes into effect.

4.  The Commission's classification

  1. The Commission is classified under the AEAD as a regulatory agency without a governing board.
  2. Sections 1 and 2 of Ontario Regulation 374/07 designate the Commission as a public body and a Commission public body for purposes of the PSOA.
  3. The Commission is an agent of the Crown in right of Ontario within the meaning of the Crown Agency Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.48, as amended.

5.  Guiding principles

The parties acknowledge and agree to the following principles.

  1. The human rights system in Ontario comprises the Commission, the Tribunal and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
  2. The principles set out in the preamble to the Code (and reproduced for convenience in Appendix I) are at the foundation of Ontario’s human rights system.
  3. The Commission exercises powers and performs duties in accordance with its legal mandate.  The Commission plays a meaningful role in the development, as well as the delivery, of the policies and programs of the government.
  4. The Commission’s decisions relating to regulatory, litigation, public education and policy matters must be made and be seen to made impartially and independently of the government.  Government interference with the choice or conduct of any Commission inquiries, with the formulation or publication of any Commission policies, with Commission determinations under section 14 of the Code or with the Commission’s decisions about involvement in or initiation of any Tribunal or other legal proceedings would compromise the Commission’s capacity to function independently and impartially, and would be inappropriate.
  5. In carrying out its statutory mandate, the Commission may take positions that are publicly critical of, or that challenge, legislation and current government policies, positions and/or practices.
  6. The Attorney General is the guardian of the public interest in respect of the rule of law and the administration of justice.  He or she has statutory obligations to ensure that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with law and to superintend all matters connected with the administration of justice in Ontario.
  7. The Attorney General and the Chief Commissioner shall engage in meaningful, good faith consultation about matters that either may reasonably consider to be of importance to both.
  8. Accountability is a fundamental principle to be observed in the management and administration of the Commission.
  9. The Commission is to conduct itself in accordance with the management principles of the government of Ontario.  These include: ethical behaviour; prudent, efficient and lawful use of public resources; fairness; high quality service to the public; and openness and transparency to the extent allowed under law.
  10. The Commission shall conduct its business and administrative affairs in accordance with all relevant government policies and with generally accepted management and accounting principles.
  11. The Ministry and the Commission shall avoid duplication of services wherever possible.

6.  Interpretation

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

7.  Duration, review and amendment

  1. This MOU takes effect on the date it is signed by both parties.  In accordance with AEAD requirements, the Chief Commissioner’s signature shall precede the Minister’s.  It expires five years from the date it comes into effect unless replaced by a new MOU before that date, but shall remain in force on a strictly temporary basis until a new MOU replaces it.
  2. Either the Minister or the Chief Commissioner may initiate a review of this MOU at any time by written request to the other.
  3. In any event, the Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall initiate and cooperate in a full review of this MOU on the earlier of the following dates:
  1. 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;
  2. 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
  3. four years from the date this MOU takes effect.
  1. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner may, at any time, by mutual agreement after a review of this MOU, revise or amend it without affecting its ordinary termination date, or replace it with a new MOU.

8. Periodic reviews

  1. The Code requires the Minister to appoint a person to conduct a review of “the implementation and effectiveness of the changes resulting from the enactment” of the 2006 amendments to the Code three years after the effective date of those amendments. That person’s review may consider any aspect of the human rights system affected by the amendments, including the Commission’s mandate, powers, governance structure and/or operations.
  2. In addition, the Minister or TB/MBC may direct periodic reviews of the Commission; Treasury Board/Management Board Directives require such a review of each classified agency every five years.  The Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall consult with one another as appropriate during any such review. 
  3. The Chief Commissioner and the Executive Director shall cooperate in any such review.

9.  Accountability relationshiops

9.1 Minister
  1. The Minister is responsible to the Legislative Assembly for the Code.  The Minister is accountable to the Cabinet for reporting on whether the Commission is conducting itself in a manner consistent with its legal authority and with relevant and appropriate government policies.
  2. The Minister is answerable for inquiries about the Commission in the Cabinet and its committees and in the Legislative Assembly.
9.2  Chief Commissioner
  1. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure
  1. 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
  2. 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.

  1. The Chief Commissioner is accountable to the Minister for the Commission’s financial and administrative performance, for carrying out the roles assigned to the Chief Commissioner under this MOU, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and the Commission’s approved annual business plan, and for ensuring that the Commission’s performance reflects and respects the law and its statutory mandate.
9.3 The Commission
  1. The Commission is accountable to the people of Ontario in reports on its own affairs and on the state of human rights in Ontario.
  2. The Commission is accountable annually to the Legislative Assembly for the affairs it undertakes and the manner in which it carries them out.
  3. The Commission acknowledges that it is accountable in financial and administrative matters for compliance with this MOU, with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and with its approved business plan, and generally for ensuring that its performance reflects and respects the law and fulfills its statutory mandate, and that this means accountability to the Legislative Assembly through its annual reports and, through its reports on financial and administrative matters, to the Minister.
9.4  Deputy Minister

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.

9.5  Executive Director
  1. The Executive Director is accountable to the Commission through the Chief Commissioner on the functions of the Commission and to the Deputy Attorney General on financial and administrative matters.
  2. The Executive Director works under the direction of the Chief Commissioner to implement policies and operational decisions, and reports to the Chief Commissioner on the performance of Commission staff every ninety days, at a minimum.
9.6  Commission Staff

Commission staff report and are accountable to the Executive Director for their performance.

10. Conflict of interest

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.

11. Roles and responsibilities

11.1 Minister

The Minister is responsible for:

  1. monitoring, through the Chief Commissioner, the Commission’s activities in relation to its mandate;
  2. responding to inquiries about the Commission in Cabinet and its committees and in the Legislative Assembly;
  3. reporting and responding to the Cabinet on the Commission’s performance and compliance with government policies and policy directions;
  4. receiving and reviewing an advance copy of the Commission’s annual report before the Commission submits it to the Legislative Assembly;
  5. meeting with the Chief Commissioner, as needed, to be kept informed of the Commission’s affairs, including such matters as budget, objectives, plans, results and overall policy and public education activities;
  6. meeting with the Commissioners at least once a year;
  7. determining the need for any review and recommendations to TB/MBC on the status of the Commission, its mandate or on any changes to the arrangements needed to assist it in fulfilling its existing statutory mandate;
  8. recommending to TB/MBC, after consultation with the Chief Commissioner, the powers to be given to the Commission when a change in the Commission’s mandate is being proposed;
  9. meeting with the Chief Commissioner or the Commissioners to discuss, propose or recommend corrective action if, in his or her opinion, serious questions of public importance arise in respect of the Commission’s operations;
  10. ensuring, through the Deputy Minister, that the Commission operates in an efficient and effective manner in accordance with TB/MBC directives and guidelines;
  11. informing the Chief Commissioner of any preferences the government may have in respect of the Commission or its mandate;
  • advising the Commission through the Chief Commissioner, as appropriate, of Ontario government public education or communications initiatives that relate to the Commission’s responsibilities;
  1. consulting as early as practicable, with the Chief Commissioner (and others) when the government is considering regulatory or legislative changes affecting Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and as appropriate on significant and relevant new government directions;
  • 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;
  1. recommending to TB/MBC any provincial funding to be given to the Commission;
  2. directing periodic review of the Commission in accordance with Part 8 of this MOU and making subsequent recommendations to TB/MBC;
  3. recommending this MOU to TB/MBC for approval once there is agreement on text but before it is signed by the parties; and
  4. reviewing and considering the advice of the Chief Commissioner on candidates for appointment or reappointment to the Commission.
11.2 Chief Commissioner

The Chief Commissioner is responsible for:

  1. keeping informed of human rights issues and trends, domestic and, as appropriate, international, and of the activities, performance and expenditures of the Commission in order to advise and make recommendations to the Minister;
  2. submitting the Commission’s annual report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in accordance with section 31.6(2) of the Code and, in accordance with section 31.6(3) of the Code, to the Minister at least thirty (30) days before submitting it to the Speaker;
  3. keeping the Minister informed about the affairs of the Commission and about issues or events that may concern him or her in the exercise of his or her responsibilities;
  4. providing the Minister with such information about the Commission’s administrative management as the Minister may require for reports to Cabinet, the Legislative Assembly and its committees and for the development and review of government policy, programs and administration;
  5. meeting with the Minister to discuss possible corrective action if the Commission forms the opinion that serious questions of public importance have arisen about the government’s compliance with the Code;
  6. attending and/or making presentations, when invited or permitted, before committees of the Legislative Assembly on matters affecting the Commission’s operations;
  7. ensuring that the Commission carries out its affairs in accordance with the Code;
  8. providing leadership to the Commission;
  9. presiding at meetings of the Commissioners;
  10. developing performance measures and targets for the Commission;
  11. monitoring the performance of the Commission to ensure the implementation of the Commission’s goals and long-term vision;
  • directing corrective action, as needed, in respect of the Commission’s operations and execution of its functions;
  1. reviewing and approving the Commission’s business plan and budget proposals and its annual report and financial reports and submitting them to the Minister by the times and dates specified in TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and in this MOU;
  • 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;
  1. advising the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations;
  2. ensuring that Commissioners are informed of their responsibilities under the PSOA in respect of ethical conduct (PSOA, Part III) and political activity (PSOA, Part IV);
  3. recording any declared or apparent conflicts of interest and advising the Minister and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner of these conflicts promptly;
  4. hiring the Executive Director, in consultation with the Deputy Minister ;
  5. ensuring through the Executive Director that:
  1. appropriate management systems (financial, information technology, human resources) are in place for the Commission’s effective administration;
  2. the Commission fulfills its mandate and operates within its approved budget allocation;
  3. performance measures and targets are developed for the Commission;
  4. there is an appropriate framework for orienting and training Commissioners and staff;
  5. Commissioners and staff are aware of and comply with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance Directives;
  6. 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;
  7. conflict of interest rules, approved by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, are in place for Commission staff; and
  8. Commission policies are publicly available;
  1. carrying out effective public communications as the Commission’s chief spokesperson;
  2. cooperating with any periodic review undertaken in accordance with §8 of this MOU;
  3. keeping the minister informed of pending appointment vacancies and offering recommendations for appointments and reappointments;
  4. reviewing and approving Commissioners’ claims for per diems and expenses;
  5. ensuring that the Executive Director’s performance contract is in place and that it sets out the Executive Director’s responsibilities and reporting obligations and the standards he or she is to meet in carrying them out;
  6. in consultation with the Deputy Minister,
  1. developing performance criteria for evaluation of the Executive Director; and
  2. evaluating the Executive Director’s performance against those criteria;
  1. communicating Commission policy and strategic directions to the Executive Director;
  1. 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;
  2. working with the Minister to minimize duplication of services; and
  3. 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.
11.3 The Commissioners

The Commissioners are responsible for:

  1. ensuring that the Commission fulfills the functions assigned to it by section 29 of the Code;
  2. fulfilling their responsibilities under the PSOA in respect of ethical conduct (PSOA, Part III) and political activity (PSOA, Part IV); and
  3. consulting, as appropriate, with interested and affected parties on the Commission’s goals, objectives, strategic directions, rules and procedures.

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.

11.4 Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister is responsible for:

  1. the operation of the Ministry, including human resources policies, and the implementation of corporate policies, including policies concerning freedom of information and equal opportunity;
  2. providing, in consultation with the Executive Director, a framework for ascertaining whether the Commission is fulfilling its mandate, and assisting the Minister in conducting that appraisal;
  3. advising the Minister on the requirements of the AEAD and other directives that apply to the Commission;
  4. advising the Minister on the Commission’s operation and on any proposals that could affect its status;
  5. establishing a framework for reviewing and assessing the Commission’s business plans and other reports;
  6. advising the Minister on documents the Commission submits to the Minister for review or approval, or both;
  7. undertaking and cooperating with any review of the Commission as directed by the Minister or TB/MBC in accordance with Part 8 of this MOU;
  8. monitoring the Commission as requested by the Minister while respecting the Commission’s independence and authority; identifying, where warranted, occasions for corrective action and recommending to the Minister ways of resolving issues;
  9. negotiating a draft MOU with the Chief Commissioner as directed by the Minister;
  10. consulting with the Chief Commissioner, as needed, on matters of mutual importance, including: the Code; TB/MBC directives; Ministry policies; and services the Ministry provides;
  11. meeting with the Chief Commissioner as needed or as the Minister directs;
  • arranging for the administrative, financial and other support for the Commission that this MOU prescribes;
  1. meeting regularly with the Executive Director to discuss matters of mutual importance to the Commission and the Ministry;
  • receiving information from, and sharing information with, the Executive Director on emerging issues and events that concern or could reasonably be expected to concern the Commission, the Minister or the Deputy Minister in the exercise of their responsibilities; and
  • consulting with the Chief Commissioner on the performance evaluation of the Executive Director and, pursuant to paragraph 11.2.s, about recruitment and selection of an Executive Director.
11.5 Executive Director

In addition to being the ethics executive for the Commission for purposes of the PSOA, the Executive Director is responsible for:

  1. establishing, in consultation with the Chief Commissioner, performance measures and targets for the Commission and a performance review system for Commission staff;
  2. arranging for audits, as needed;
  3. managing the Commission’s day-to-day operations in accordance with the Code, TB/MBC, Public Service Commission and Ministry of Finance directives, accepted business and financial practices, and this MOU;
  4. applying policies so that public funds are used with integrity and honesty;
  5. establishing and applying a financial management framework for the Commission;
  6. establishing systems to ensure that the Commission operates effectively within its approved business plan;
  7. ensuring that the Commission has an appropriate risk management framework and mitigating strategy, to help provide sufficient assurance that program or service delivery objectives are met;
  8. supporting the Chief Commissioner and the other Commissioners in meeting their responsibilities including  delivery  of orientation and training;
  9. carrying out in-year monitoring of the Commission’s operational performance and reporting on it to the Chief Commissioner;
  10. advising the Chief Commissioner and Commissioners on the Commission’s compliance with the Code, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and Ministry policies and procedures;
  11. seeking support and advice from the Ministry, as appropriate, on day-to-day management issues;
  • 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;
  1. cooperating with any periodic review undertaken in accordance with §8 of this MOU;
  • 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;
  1. keeping the Chief Commissioner and the Deputy Minister advised about operational matters;
  2. preparing annual reports and business plans for the Commission as directed by the Chief Commissioner;
  3. ensuring that the Commission fulfills its mandate and operates within its approved budget allocation in doing so;
  4. preparing financial reports for the Commission;
  5. meeting performance objectives approved by the Chief Commissioner and the Deputy Minister;
  6. ensuring that Commission staff abide by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws, orders, regulations and bylaws, including, but not limited to, the Code, the Financial Administration Act, FIPPA, the French Language Services Act, the Pay Equity Act, the PSOA and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act;
  7. ensuring that 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; and
  8. ensuring that the Commission policies contemplated by section 30 of the Code are publicly available.

12.  Reporting requirements

12.1 Business Plan
  1. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Minister is provided with the Commission’s annual business plans within the timelines the Minister establishes in accordance with the Ministry’s annual funding cycle.  
  2. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Commission’s annual business plan fulfills the requirements of the AEAD.
  3. Every business plan requires the Minister’s approval.  The Minister shall review the Commission’s annual business plan and shall advise the Chief Commissioner promptly whether he or she concurs with the directions the Commission proposes and of such concerns as he or she may have about it.
  4. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Commission’s business plan includes a system of performance measures and reporting on the achievement of the objectives set out in the business plan.  That system shall specify performance indicators, targets and time lines, indicate how they will be achieved, and implement annual base line reporting and, where appropriate, quarterly monitoring.
  5. The Minister may be required to submit an approved annual Commission business plan for review.  If this happens, the Minister shall notify the Chief Commissioner of the requirement.
12.2 Annual Reports
  1. The Chief Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that the Commission’s annual reports fulfill the requirements of the Code.
  2. In accordance with section 31.6 of the Code, the Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly receives for tabling in the Legislative Assembly the Commission’s annual report for a given fiscal year not later than June 30 of the next fiscal year.
  3. The Chief Commissioner shall give a copy of the report to the Minister at least 30 days before it is submitted to the Speaker.
12.3  Other Reports and Documents
  1. The Chief Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that financial and administrative reports and documents required by TB/MBC directives are submitted to the Minister for review and approval according to the prescribed time lines.
  2. At the request of the Minister or Deputy Minister, the Chief Commissioner shall supply such specific financial and administrative data and other related information, not including identifying information about any individuals, as may be required from time to time for purposes of the Ministry’s administration.

13. Communications

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.

  1. Nothing in this section of this MOU shall require any discussion or exchange of information between Commission personnel and the Minister, Deputy Minister or Ministry staff about specific current, past or future inquiries or determinations that lie within the Commission’s statutory authority.
  2. The Minister’s office shall redirect to the Commission without comment inquiries it receives about specific human rights matters in progress at the Commission.  Any response the Minister’s office makes to the inquiring party shall indicate that the inquiry has been forwarded to the Commission and that the Minister cannot interfere with a Commission proceeding.
  3. Except where doing so would compromise the Commission’s independence in the exercise of its statutory mandate or its ability to function quickly and effectively, the Chief Commissioner shall keep the Minister advised, in a timely manner, of all planned events and issues that concern or can reasonably be expected to concern the Minister in the exercise of the Minister’s responsibilities.
  4. The Minister shall consult with the Chief Commissioner, as appropriate, on government policy initiatives or legislation being considered by the government that may affect the Commission’s mandate or functions.
  5. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall consult with one another, as appropriate, on public communications strategies and publications relating to human rights in Ontario and shall keep one another informed, as appropriate, of the results of relevant consultations and discussions, focused and general, with the public.
  6. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall meet at least quarterly, or more frequently as requested, to discuss issues relating to the fulfillment of the Commission’s mandate.
  7. The Deputy Minister shall meet at least quarterly with the Executive Director and/or the Chief Commissioner to discuss issues relating to the efficient operation of the Commission and the provision by the Ministry of services to the Commission.
  8. The Commission’s annual business plan shall include a communications strategy.  Commission staff shall respond promptly to public and media inquiries, complaints and concerns about the Commission’s operations and activities.
  9. The Commission shall provide the Minister, as early as possible but, unless the Minister or the Deputy Minister consents to some shorter length of time, always at least three (3) days before public release, with advance copies, of any Commission-approved report or policy that the Commission proposes to make public.

14.  Administrative arrangements

 14.1 Government of Ontario Directives

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.

14.2 Legal Services
  1. The Commission employs its own counsel but may, in rare cases, require private legal services.  Where these services do not involve litigation or an inquiry connected to its mandate under the Code, including services involving contractual negotiations for IT services or a civil action claim for damages against a Commission member or employee, the Commission shall retain counsel in accordance with the Ministry of the Attorney General's Corporate Operating Policy on Acquiring and Using Legal Services and related guidelines.   Where these services involve an inquiry under section 31 of the Code or litigation connected to the Commission's exercise of its mandate under the Code, such as cases in which the Commission has initiated an application or is an intervener in legal proceedings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Commission shall retain counsel in accordance with the principles set out in the above noted Corporate Operating Policy and guidelines.  For greater certainty, this means that the Commission will determine for itself whether to retain, and whom to retain as, private sector counsel but will do so only where circumstances indicate a conflict of interest, cost efficiency or a need for specialized expertise and only in accordance with the rates set out in the Private Sector Retention rates chart. The Commission agrees to retain, for audit purposes, a list of the instances in which it retains private sector legal services, the reasons for the retention, the nature of the work performed and cost.  This list shall be produced to the Ministry upon request, in a way that would not interfere with the solicitor-client relationship or ongoing litigation.  It can also be reviewed by both parties at any time upon agreement and it shall be reviewed by both parties at the time that this MOU is subject to revision or renewal.
  2. Lawyers employed by the Commission are recognized as members of the Association of Law Officers of the Crown.
  3. Where the Commission is awarded legal costs in a Court or Tribunal proceeding it shall forward those costs to the Consolidated Revenue Fund in accordance with the Proceedings Against the Crown Act.  Where the Commission is ordered to pay legal costs by a Court, or by a Tribunal and the Tribunal Order is filed with the Superior Court of Justice, the Commission shall notify the Director of the Crown Law Office, Civil, who will make arrangements for the amount to be paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in accordance with section 22 of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act.
  4. Where the Commission, the Chief Commissioner, a Commissioner or an employee of the Commission is named as a party in an action for damages, the Agency shall notify the Director of the Crown Law Office, Civil and a decision shall be made as soon as practicable as to whether or not that office shall deal with the matter.
14.3 Delegation of Human Resources Management Authority under the PSOA
  1. Sections 44 and 55(1)(c) of the PSOA authorize the Public Service Commission to delegate human resources authority in respect of Commission public bodies to the Deputy Minister and/or to an individual prescribed by regulation.  Regulation 376/07 designates the Executive Director as the individual to whom such authority may be delegated in respect of Commission employees.  In Appendix A1 of the document entitled Subdelegation of Powers, Duties and Functions Templates, attached for convenience as Appendix II of this MOU, the Public Service Commission has delegated some human resources authority in respect of Commission employees to the Executive Director and some to the Deputy Minister.
  2. The Executive Director and the Deputy Minister are responsible for exercising this authority in compliance with any relevant legislation, directives or policies, in accordance with the Commission’s mandate, and within the parameters of the delegated authority.
14.4 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
  1. Section 1 and the Schedule of Regulation 460, R.R.O. 1990, as amended, designate the Attorney General as the institution head of the Commission for purposes of FIPPA.  The Minister has delegated his authority as institution head to the Chief Commissioner.
  2. The Commission, as represented by the Chief Commissioner, warrants and agrees that any personal information, as defined under the FIPPA, that it collects shall be used and disclosed only in pursuit of the Commission’s objects and for no other purposes.  The Commission further warrants that it will have reasonable measures in place to ensure the security and confidentiality of all the personal information it holds.
14.5 Records Management
  1. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that:
  1. a system is in place for the creation, collection, maintenance and disposal of records; and
  2. 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.
  1. The Commission has been designated under FIPPA and is required to meet the standards set out there for the creation, collection, maintenance and disposal of records.  The Executive Director shall ensure that the Commission has a system for meeting these standards in doing these tasks.
  2. The Commission shall keep and maintain, in a manner consistent with generally accepted accounting principles and clerical practices, all financial records, invoices and other financially relevant documents related to its activities or to funding provided by the Ministry.  The Commission shall manage such records and keep them available for the Ministry’s review for seven years from the date of the creation of the records.
  3. The Commission shall maintain and manage all non-financial documents and records relating to its activities or to funding received from the Ministry, including any records it receives or creates relating to report subjects, in a confidential manner pursuant to defined processes of retention and disposal consistent with the TB/MBC Directive on Management of Recorded Information, the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, and other applicable legislation.
  4. The Commission shall collect and use personal information, as defined in FIPPA, in accordance with Part III of FIPPA.
  5. The Commission shall permit the Ministry, upon reasonable notice, to inspect and copy any financial records, invoices and other financially-related documents, and any non-financial documents in the Commission’s possession and control that do not disclose identifying information about individuals, that relate to Commission funding or otherwise to the Commission’s administrative activities.
  6. If, after execution of this MOU, the Commission’s mandate in relation to information management expands, the Commission shall, at the Ministry’s request, submit to a Privacy Impact Assessment.
  7. The Commission shall ensure that every contract it enters on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario for data collection and processing is specific about sources, entities and transfer from collection to destruction.
14.6 Client/Customer Service

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.

15. Financial arrangements

15.1 Funding
  1. The Commission is funded from the Consolidated Revenue Fund pursuant to an appropriation authorized by the Legislative Assembly.
  2. The Chief Commissioner shall prepare and deliver to the Minister, in sufficient time for the Minister to analyze and approve them, annual estimates of the Commission’s expected expenditures for inclusion in the Ministry’s Results Based Plan. The Minister may, after appropriate consultation with the Chief Commissioner, alter these estimates as required.
  3. The Commission’s financial procedures shall accord with the Code, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and guidelines, and other applicable government direction.
  4. The Commission shall obtain the Minister’s approval and, pursuant to section 28 of the Financial Administration Act, the written approval of the Minister of Finance before entering into any financial arrangement or commitment, guarantee, indemnity or similar transaction that may increase, directly or indirectly, the indebtedness or contingent liability of the government or the Crown in right of Ontario.
  5. When the Minister of Finance orders it pursuant to section 16.4 of the Financial Administration Act, the Commission shall pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund any money that the Minister of Finance determines to be surplus to its needs.
15.2  Financial Reports

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. 

15.3  Goods and Service Tax (GST)

The Commission is not required to pay GST.

16.  Audits and review arrangements 

  1. The Ontario Internal Audit Division may carry out internal audits as authorized by the Ministry’s Audit Committee or the Corporate Audit Committee.  Under the Auditor General Act, the Auditor General of Ontario may audit any aspect of the Commission’s operations at any time.
  2. The Chief Commissioner may request, at the Commission’s expense, an external audit of the Commission’s financial transactions or management controls.
  3. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner agree to share with one another the results of any audit of the Commission, regardless of which of them receives it first.  The Commission shall give the Minister a copy of its response to the audit report and to any related recommendations and shall advise the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations.

17.  Staffing 

  1. The Commission is staffed by persons employed under Part III of the PSOA.
  2. Permanent, full-time Commission employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan.
  3. The Commission, in its dealings with staff employed under the PSOA, is subject to the Code, TB/MBC human resources directives, and Public Service Commission directives authorized by the PSOA.

18.  Liability protection and insurance

The government’s Protection Program covers the Commission.

Original SIGNED:

Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner

The Honourable Chris Bentley,
Attorney General of Ontario

 

Appendix I
Relevant provisions of the Code

Preamble

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:

 . . .

Part III: The Ontario Human Rights Commission

The Commission           

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.

Composition

 (2)  The Commission shall be composed of such persons as are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Appointment

 (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.

Criteria

 (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.

Chief Commissioner

 (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.

Remuneration

  (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.

Employees

 (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.

Same, employees

(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.

Delegation

 (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.

Divisions

 (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.

Same

 (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.

Commission policies

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.

. . .

Annual report

 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.

Other reports

  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).

Appendix II

Subdelegation of powers, duties and functions templates

Public Services of Ontario Act, 2006
Public Service Commission
August, 2007
[excerpts]

. . .

 

APPENDIX A1

Public Service Commission
Delegation of powers, duties and functions
to
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)

NOTE

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

Delegation to prescribed PSC delegate in the Senior Management Group

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)

and (4)

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

Section 34

Imposing disciplinary measures for cause (including suspension but not dismissal)

Subsection 36(1)

Conducting an investigation to determine cause for the purposes of section 34

Subsection 36(2)

Pending the conclusion of an investigation, suspending the public servant for a period not exceeding the period prescribed under clause 55(1)(a)

Subsection 36(3)

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

Subsection 37(1)

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

Subsection 41(1)

Receiving at least two weeks’ notice in writing from a public servant of his or her intention to resign from his or her position

Subsection 41(2)

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:

  • A deputy minister may only subdelegate the powers, duties and functions set out in paragraphs 4 and 5 to one or more public servants in positions in classifications within the Senior Management Group or Crown Counsel 5.

. . . 

Public complaint policy

Introduction

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.

Things to think about before making a complaint

  • Is the complaint about the OHRC’s quality of service, denial of service, or conduct of its staff or Commissioners?
  • Is the complaint about the OHRC’s policies and procedures or the failure of the OHRC to apply its operational policies or procedures?
  • Was the issue raised directly with the involved staff and/or staff’s manager?
  • Did you try to resolve the matter informally with the staff or manager?
  • Any information you give us will be kept confidential except where it involves interactions with the involved staff.
  • This Policy does not stop you from raising any concerns with the Ombudsman of Ontario.

How to make a complaint

Complaints about OHRC Staff

  1. Complaints about OHRC staff should be directly raised with the involved staff member. The involved staff member and if required, their manager, will make every attempt to resolve the issue informally.
  2. If the complaint is not resolved you should:
    • Fill out a complaint form and send it to the Executive Director of the OHRC. Describe what happened, where and when it occurred and the names of any witnesses. Please suggest how you would like the complaint to be settled.
    • If you need help writing the complaint, call the Executive Director’s Office at 416-314-4562.
  3. The Executive Director’s Office will send you an acknowledgement letter within 3 business days of receiving the complaint. The letter will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and may ask for more information.
  4. The Executive Director or her representative will tell the involved staff person about the complaint and share all relevant documents, including the complaint, with the staff person.
  5. The Executive Director or her representative will investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it within 14 business days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
  6. The Executive Director or her representative may request the staff person or the manager to provide a written response to the complaint.
  7. The Executive Director or her representative will send you a written decision, including the reasons, within 14 business days of the acknowledgement letter. If the complaint involves a staff member, a copy of the decision will be given to the staff member.

Complaints about an OHRC service, policy or operational procedure

  1. If the complaint is about an OHRC service, operational policy or procedure or the failure to apply an operational policy or procedure you should:
    • Fill out a complaint form and send it to the Executive Director of the OHRC. Describe the issue. Please suggest how you would like the complaint to be settled.
    • If you need help writing the complaint, call the Executive Director’s Office at 416-314-4562.
  2. The Executive Director’s Office will send you an acknowledgement letter within 3 business days of receiving the complaint. The letter may ask for more information.
  3. The Executive Director or her representative will investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it within 14 business days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
  4. The Executive Director or her representative will send you a written decision, including reasons within 14 business days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
  5. If you are satisfied with the Executive Director’s decision the complaint will be closed. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can ask, in writing, that the Chief Commissioner review the decision.
  6. The Chief Commissioner will review the matter. The Chief Commissioner may:
    • Discuss the complaint with the Executive Director or her representative and try to resolve the complaint;
    • Offer you an opportunity to provide more information or comments or take part in a conference call; and/or
    • Make a decision based upon the information received.
  7. The Chief Commissioner will send you her written decision.

Complaints about Executive Director

Complaints about the Executive Director should be sent to the Deputy Attorney General, Ministry of the Attorney General.

Complaints about Ontario Human Rights Commissioners

Complaints about Commissioners should be sent to the Chief Commissioner.

Decision to not deal with a complaint

The Executive Director or Chief Commissioner will not deal with a complaint if:

  • You do not identify yourself or give us your address and telephone number;
  • You do not reply if we ask for more information; or
  • The matter has already been raised and addressed by the OHRC.

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

Alternative formats

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
8th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9

Tel: 416-314-4562
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Email: info@ohrc.on.ca

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Office of the Chief Commissioner
180 Dundas Street West
8th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9

Tel: 416-314-4537
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Email: info@ohrc.on.ca

Deputy Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
McMurtry-Scott Building
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2K1

Tel: 416-326-6220
Toll Free: 1-800-518-7901
TTY: 416-326-4012
Fax: 416-326-4007
Website: www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca

Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C9

Tel: 1-800-263-1830
Fax: 416-586-3485
TTY: 1-866-411-4211
Email: info@ombudsman.on.ca

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Public complaint form50.8 KB

Contact us

Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)

The OHRC works to promote, protect and advance human rights through research, public education, targeted legal action and policy development.

We cannot provide information, advice or legal opinions on individual cases or circumstances. See the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for more information (below).

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
info@ohrc.on.ca

Telephone directory: INFO-GO

Media inquiries: (416) 314-4528

Public education services: Request form

Request an OHRC initiated-application, inquiry or intervention: legal@ohrc.on.ca

Follow us: www.facebook.com/the.ohrc | twitter.com/OntHumanRights

Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)

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
www.hrlsc.on.ca

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)

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:

  • the Tribunal's processes for dealing with an application;
  • an application you have already filed at the Tribunal.

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
www.sjto.gov.on.ca/hrto


Administrative: