About the Commission

Our mission

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is one part of Ontario’s system for human rights, alongside the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC). We are guided by the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code) in all our work.

The OHRC plays an important role in preventing discrimination and promoting and advancing human rights in Ontario. The OHRC:

  • Develops public policy on human rights
  • Actively promotes a culture of human rights in the province
  • Conducts public inquiries
  • Intervenes in proceedings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)
  • Initiates our own applications (formerly called ‘complaints’)
  • Engages in proactive measures to prevent discrimination using public education, policy development, research and analysis
  • Brings people and communities together to help resolve issues of "tension and conflict"

In addition, the OHRC has the power to monitor and report on anything related to the state of human rights in the Province of Ontario. This includes reviewing legislation and policies for consistency with the intent of the Code.

The HRTO may refer matters in the public interest to the OHRC and may ask the Commission to conduct an inquiry. The OHRC may also apply to the HRTO to state a case to the Divisional Court where it feels the HRTO decision is not consistent with OHRC policies. OHRC policies can be used in issues that are before the Tribunal.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission was established in 1961 to administer the Code. The Commission is an arm's length agency of government accountable to the people of Ontario through the legislature. There is a full-time Chief Commissioner and a varying number of part-time Commissioners, appointed by Order-in-Council. Staff of the Commission is appointed under the Public Service Act.

Our vision

An Ontario in which everyone is valued, treated with dignity and respect, and where human rights are nurtured by us all.

For more information about Ontario’s Human Rights System:

Administrative: 

OHRC Organization Chart - Linear format

November 2011

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

Facilities/General Administrative /Human Resources

Information Technology Desktop Support

Secretarial Administrative -Corporate Functions (2 positions)

Webmaster (Vacant)

Server Support

Network Architect  (Vacant - currently replaced by Temporary Project Lead for website)

Manager - Communications & Issues Management

Senior Communications/Spokesperson

Senior Information Officer (Designated Bilingual)

Information Officer (2 positions -1 Designated Bilingual)

Special Events Coordinator

Business and Statistical Analyst

Correspondence Coordinator

Director Policy, Education, Monitoring & Outreach

Administrative Assistant

Senior Policy Analysts (5 positions - 1 vacant - 1 Designated Bilingual)

Public Education Officer Lead  (Vacant)

Human Rights Education and Change Specialist (4 positions - 2 vacant - 1 Designated Bilingual)

Public Education Officer

Electronic Education Specialist

Junior Education Officer (2 positions – both vacant)

Manager - Public Interest Inquiries (Designated Bilingual)

Counsel (5 positions - 1 Designated Bilingual)

Legal Secretary

Inquiry Analyst (3 positions - 1 Designated Bilingual)

Articling Student

 

 

 

 

Administrative: 

Meet our Commissioners

Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall

Barbara Hall was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on November 28, 2005, after more than 30 years as a community worker, lawyer and municipal politician. She served three terms as a city councillor from 1985 on and as Toronto's mayor from 1994 to 1997. From 1998 to 2002 she headed the federal government's National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention.
 
Ms. Hall has also practised criminal and family law, been a member of the Ontario Health Ministry's Health Results Team, and lectured nationally and internationally on urban and social issues. She has extensive experience on non-profit boards and committees, and has a strong record of bringing diverse groups together to build safe and strong communities.
 

Ruth Goba

Ruth Goba is Women's Program coordinator and staff lawyer for the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA). She has taught disability issues at Ryerson University, and she clerked at ARCH: A Legal Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities.
 
Ms. Goba also worked in India on housing and land rights with both the Habitat International Coalition and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. She was appointed to the Commission in October 2006.
 

Raja Khouri

Raja G. Khouri joined the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2006. He is managing consultant at The Knowledge Centre, established in 1995 and specializing in organizational development and capacity building in the non-profit sector. Raja is co-chair of the advocacy committee and a member of the executive committee of Human Rights Watch Canada, and co-founder of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.
 
He formerly served on Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group and the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable. Raja is a former president of the Canadian Arab Federation and board member at the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs. His earlier career included senior management and consulting tenures in corporations in Canada and oversees. Raja has chaired conferences, given and moderated lectures, given numerous media interviews, and published commentaries in journals and major Canadian dailies.
 

Fernand Lalonde

Fernand Lalonde retired from the federal public service in 2001 after serving in many roles including General Secretary of the National Joint Council, Executive Director of Appeals and Investigations for the Public Service Commission of Canada, and Director of Personnel Services, Parks Canada.
 
Mr. Lalonde is a former President of the Canadian Public Personnel Management Association, and is currently a consultant providing services in union-management relations and dispute resolution. He was appointed to the Commission in May 2005.
 

Julie Lee

Julie Lee is a lawyer, practicing family and criminal law in St. Thomas, Ontario. Julie clerked for the Honourable Mr Justice Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999/2000. Prior to 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.
 

Paul LeFebvre

Paul Lefebvre is a partner at Weaver Simmons, where he practices corporate and tax law and is also a business owner. Currently he is President of the Sudbury District Law Association, and former Board Chair of the Centre de Sante Communautaire du Grand Sudbury.
 
Mr. Lefebvre sits on various boards in his community.
 

Larry McDermott

A member of Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, Larry McDermott served as an Ontario municipal politican for 28 years including as the first national rural chair of FCM.
 
He is currently Executive Director of Plenty Canada, a non-profit organization devoted to environmental protection and healthy communities, and Co-chair of the Canadian Environmental Network Biodiversity Caucus.
 

Errol Mendes

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 seven 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.
 

Mark Nagler

Mark Nagler, Professor Emeritus, taught sociology, race and ethnic relations, native studies and disability studies for 29 years at the University of Waterloo. He is credited with authoring the first text in Disability Studies which was adopted by 169 universities internationally. He has also authored 10 other books in Native Studies, Race Relations, and Disability Studies. A past president of ARCH, he has served on many volunteer boards and has advised the Federal and Provincial Governments on a variety of aspects related to disability issues.
 
He was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 1993. He lectures widely to diverse groups, including the US Census Bureau in Baltimore, MD. He is renowned internationally as a motivational speaker, having spoken to audiences in Canada, the US, Western Europe and Israel. He is recognized by Canadian courts as an expert in disability issues.
 

Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson is the Executive Director of 'the equality effect', a non-profit organization that uses human rights law to transform the lives of women and girls. Fiona has worked as counsel for the Ontario Human Rights Commission and as the Director of Litigation at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). Fiona has appeared as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada on many occasions representing women’s NGO’s in different equality rights cases. She has worked as a legal consultant with, amongst others, the Ontario Native Council on Justice, the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) of Canada, Education Wife Assault, and the Ethiopian Muslim Relief and Development Association.
 
Fiona has published numerous articles on women’s equality and disability rights, and has her Ph.D. in women’s equality law from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.
 

Bhagat Taggar

Bhagat Taggar is a Chartered (UK) and Professional (Ontario) Engineer with diverse international community experience. He served as a vice chair of race relations, and a city and regional Councillor in England, and as an Engineer in Zimbabwe. In Canada, he was the chairperson of Panorama India, Lion's club member, Professor of Engineering at Centennial College and a business owner.
 
Mr. Taggar was appointed by the Governor General of Canada (1996) as chairperson of the Employment Insurance Board for the Ontario regional division (Scarborough). He was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for community service 2002. Mr. Taggar was appointed to the Commission in May 2005.
 

Maggie Wente

Maggie Wente is a partner with Olthius Kleer Townshend, representing First Nations and Band Councils. She has also worked with the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres and the University of Toronto Community Legal Clinic. Currently she is a Board member of the Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and formerly Board Co-Chair of the Women's Counselling, Referral and Education Centre.
 
She is a member of both the Canadian Bar Association and the Indigenous Bar Association. She was appointed to the Commission in October 2006.

 

Administrative: 

Our values and principles

We value leadership

We are committed to:

  • promoting a broad purposive interpretation of the Code so as to advance the cause of human rights; and
  • the advancement of broader societal and human rights issues.

We value an informed public

We are committed to:

  • a strategic approach to public education, because we believe that an informed public contributes to the elimination of discrimination in society; and
  • developing partnerships to advance human rights.

We value quality service

We are committed to providing the highest quality service that is:

  • accessible and flexible by developing the most effective way of providing service;
  • sensitive to the diversity of the population served;
  • equitable; and
  • respectful of the dignity of each person and their right to be free from discrimination and to be kept fully informed.

We value consultation

We are committed to:

  • consultation and participation of both the communities we serve and our staff in matters pertaining to the advancement of human rights.

We value our employees

We are committed to a workplace which:

  • maintains equitable hiring and employment practices;
  • encourages diversity in the workforce at all levels;
  • does not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace;
  • accommodates the special requirements of employees within the meaning of the Code;
  • values and supports both corporate and self learning opportunities;
  • expects and recognizes good performance;
  • provides alternative working arrangements; and
  • fosters positive, cooperative relationships and communication among the employees, employee representatives and the employer.

We value effective and efficient management

We are committed to:

  • responsible fiscal management;
  • allocating resources to enable the Commission to meet all of its responsibilities under the Code; and
  • respecting the policies and procedures of the Ontario Public Service and the collective agreements.

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

 

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.

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: 

Internal human rights policy: Working Draft

A. Our commitment

To human rights for all persons
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) is committed to maintaining the human dignity of all persons and groups of persons. It is dedicated to being free of discrimination and harassment, to the highest standards of human equality.

To promoting and protecting these rights
It actively endorses these standards at every level and in all of its employment and service activities. Supervisors are expected to promote these values, and work to address and resolve human rights issues, whenever possible, through informal discussion or by procedures detailed in this Policy.

To never allowing harassment and discrimination
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has the right to be free from harassment and discrimination. The Commission will not tolerate, condone or ignore harassment and discrimination. Whether in its role as an employer or as a service provider to the general public, the Commission will take all needed steps to investigate and address any claims that do happen.

To promoting, protecting and advancing human rights
The Commission has a vital role to play in promoting, protecting and advancing human rights in the province of Ontario. In its goal of being a leader in human rights promotion and compliance, the Commission is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination, including:

  • Providing accommodation to the point of undue hardship
  • Training to make sure everyone knows her or his rights and responsibilities
  • Monitoring its systems and culture for barriers based on Code grounds
  • Providing an effective and fair complaints procedure
  • Promoting appropriate standards of conduct at all times.

To recognizing different voices
Human rights work in a diverse society requires the Commission to integrate as many different voices and experiences as possible into activities, both as an employer and in the services it provides to the public of Ontario.

The Commission especially recognizes that to effectively promote and protect human rights In Ontario, its staff must reflect the diversity in society.

B. Objectives of this Policy

The objectives are to:

  • Make sure that Commission management and employees, and members of the public who deal with the Commission, know that discrimination and harassment are unacceptable and are incompatible with the Commission’s standards, as well as being against the law
  • Identify and develop steps to address the behaviours, approaches and practices that may be offensive to the human rights of employees and people dealing with the Commission.

C. Working with other policies, legislation

This internal Human Rights Policy (Policy) is intended to be a single reference point for handling human rights matters and internal working issues within the Commission. It replaces the Commission’s Code of Ethics, and directly incorporates all relevant elements from other applicable policies and legislation.

This policy uses the Ontario Human Rights Code as its foundation. It is intended to work in harmony with all OPS collective agreements as well as the Public Service of Ontario Act (PSOA). It also builds on and advances external legislation and OPS policies such as the:

  • OPS Workplace Discrimination & Harassment Prevention (WDHP) Policy
  • OPS Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy
  • OPS Equal Opportunity Operating Policy.
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) regulations
  • Workplace violence and harassment prevention provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Timeframes and processes from each of these policies are reflected in this Policy. Employees are still responsible for adhering to the OPS requirements for training and understanding of each of the above-stated policies.  For further information on these policies, please see the MYOPS Wellness Portal under “Employee Services”.  

If it identifies requirements or best practices that appear to be in conflict with these or other related policies, including collective agreements, the Commission will consider what changes or actions might be needed, including filing applications with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Along with this Policy, people have full access to other existing processes under collective agreements and under the law, including making union grievances and applications to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.  

As well, the Commission may develop other policies on specific human rights issues, to further enhance internal human rights understanding, practices and procedures.

D. Who this Policy covers and when it applies

The right to freedom from discrimination and harassment extends to appointed Commissioners, to all employees, to people who receive Commission services, and to all who do business with the Commission.

Employees and other workers include: full-time, part-time, temporary, probationary, casual and contract staff, Commissioners, and people who work to gain experience or for benefits such as volunteers, co-op students, interns and apprentices. This Policy also applies to former employees if their complaints fall within the stated timeframes. 

This Policy applies at every level of the organization and to every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship. This includes recruitment, selection, promotion, transfers, training, salaries, benefits, discipline, and termination. It also covers rates of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, shift work, discipline, granting leaves of absence and performance evaluations 

People receiving Commission services include all persons who receive some manner of Commission services, whether these services are provided by employees working on site or off site, including through telephone, Internet or mail.

This Policy also applies to events that occur outside of the physical workplace but that have implications or repercussions in the workplace. Examples are business trips, Commission social events, or other Commission-related functions.

E. Discrimination and harassment are prohibited

This Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of the following grounds:

  • Age
  • Creed (religion)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding needs)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender Identity (transsexual, transgender, and intersex persons, cross-dressers, and others whose gender identity or expression is, or is seen to be, different from their birth-identified sex)
  • Family status (being in a parent-child or equivalent relationship and identity of family member)
  • Marital status (including being married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or living in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage, whether in a same-sex or opposite-sex relationship and identity of spouse)
  • Disability (including mental, physical, developmental, learning disabilities and addictions that lead to significant impairment or distress)
  • Race
  • Ancestry
  • Place of origin
  • Ethnic origin
  • Citizenship
  • Colour
  • Record of offences (conviction for a provincial offence, or for a criminal offence for which a pardon has been received)
  • Association or relationship with a person identified by one of the above grounds.

The Commission may consider adding other items for protection on a case-by-case basis.  

All types of discrimination related to protected grounds are prohibited, whether direct or indirect, intentional or unintentional. This Policy is contravened if discrimination is authorized, condoned, ignored, adopted or ratified and is proven on a balance of probabilities after investigation and bearing in mind all relevant factors identified in this Policy.

Personal harassment not based on a Code ground is also prohibited (e.g. workplace bullying). This is also prohibited under the OHSA. Hate activity based on the above grounds is also prohibited by this Policy.

Legitimate performance management is not a violation of the Policy.

Frivolous or bad faith allegations, complaints, or accusations are also considered a Policy violation. 

F. Roles and responsibilities

All Commissioners, employees of the Commission, and members of the public interacting with the Commission, are expected to uphold and abide by this Policy, by refraining from any form of discrimination and harassment. Employees and other workers must cooperate in any investigation on alleged discrimination or harassment, or related to requests for human rights accommodation.

Directing mind employees must act immediately on observations or allegations of harassment or discrimination, or on discrimination that they ought reasonably to be aware of. Managers and supervisors must create and maintain a harassment and discrimination-free organization, and should address potential problems before they become serious.

All parties in the workplace are expected to fulfill their roles and responsibilities, as set out in the Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Policy (WDHP) and reiterated in this Policy. These roles and responsibilities are included in Appendix E.

G. Human rights accommodation

The Commission commits to provide accommodation for needs related to the grounds of the Ontario Human Rights Code, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. 

Accommodation will be provided based on the principles of dignity, individualization and inclusion. The Commission will work cooperatively, and in a spirit of respect, with all partners in the accommodation process.

When providing accommodation, the Commission will follow all applicable definitions, guidelines and processes identified in the corporate Ontario Public Service Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy. See Appendix D for the steps required  in this Policy.

Also, the Commission will follow its own Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate. If there is a conflict between the requirements or best practices identified in the Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate and the corporate OPS policy, the Commission will advocate to change the OPS policy and may consider any needed actions, including filing an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. 

H. Procedures for resolving complaints

The Commission is committed to resolving human rights concerns in a fair and timely way. Where harassment or discrimination are found to have occurred, steps will be taken to make sure that the person whose rights have been violated is, to the best extent possible, ”made whole” and the effects of discrimination remedied. Appendix C includes steps for addressing disputes that may arise when administering this Policy.

Timeframes

Every effort must be made to comply with the timeframes outlined in this Policy. Timeframes, including those related to raising complaints under this Policy, may be extended in extenuating circumstances (e.g. if warranted by the complexity of the case) without voiding the process.  See sections on the Human Rights Accommodation Procedure and Filing a Discrimination or Harassment Complaint for specific timeframes associated with each step of the resolution process.

Access to Collective Agreement and Code mechanisms

The provisions of this Policy in no way affect the right of any person to exercise his or her rights under the applicable collective agreement or under the Ontario Human Rights Code, within the time limits specified by those documents. Formal applications of discrimination from members of the public against employees or other workers can be made to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Reprisal

Every person is entitled to claim and enforce their right to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. It is a violation of this Policy to discipline, criticise, ostracise, or otherwise negatively treat a person, or treat a person negatively by omission, because he or she has brought forward a complaint, provided information related to a complaint, or otherwise been involved in the complaint resolution process.

A complaint alleging reprisal may be made under this Policy, and persons engaging in reprisal are subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including dismissal from the Commission, subject to PSOA and collective agreement requirements.

I. Things to consider when applying this Policy

To effectively apply this Policy, the Commission will recognize societal discrimination, consider when rights intersect, and will seek ways to deal with competing rights claims to achieve a win-win situation.

Recognizing societal discrimination

To effectively apply this Policy, it is important to recognize the prevalence and nature of many forms of deeply embedded societal discrimination related to Code grounds. This discrimination has served to disadvantage groups in Canadian society. Often termed as “isms,” these forms of societal discrimination give rise to or contribute to direct and systemic discrimination and harassment.

Prominent examples of such “isms” include racism, ageism, sexism and heterosexism. Consistent with its Human Rights Strategy (see section J), the Commission will seek to identify and address the prevalence of these forms of discrimination in the policies, practices, procedures, and culture operating in its organization.

When rights intersect

The intersection of Code grounds is a possible and significant factor in the experience of discrimination. Intersectional discrimination occurs when persons identified by multiple Code grounds experience discrimination that reflects a combination of grounds, instead of one ground alone or multiple but not intersecting grounds.

For example, the social construct of “young black men” includes negative stereotypes that cause many young black men to experience discrimination. Such men are identifiable by three separate protected Code grounds – gender, age and race. However, looking at each ground alone would not help to understand the unique types of discrimination such men may experience in Canadian society. Understanding can only happen by recognizing how these grounds intersect.

Dealing with competing rights claims

Human rights claims may sometimes conflict with other human rights claims. In such situations, efforts will be made to recognize legitimate competing claims and reconcile them in a way that does not undermine or disrespect the legitimacy of any of the claims and of the integrity of persons involved.

These competing human rights claims will be carefully addressed and resolutions will be sought that best reconcile the competing claims. These claims will be resolved according to any competing rights policy framework approved by the Commission, under the direction of the Executive Director, and according to the WDHP procedures outlined in this Policy. Responsibility for resolving competing human rights claims lies with the Executive Director, who will consult with the WDHP Advisor as outlined in the complaints procedure in Appendix C.

Where it is possible, the approach to competing rights claims will be to undertake alternate dispute resolution. In cases where the process has not resulted in mutually agreed-upon reconciliation, and management is required to make a decision through direct management action, the parties will be advised in writing. Parties will be advised how the rights were reconciled and why they were reconciled in this way. This written response will correspond to the timelines outlined in the Policy. Where the written response is delayed, parties must be notified of time limitations that may exist relating to possible proceedings under collective agreements or under the Code.

If ADR is unsuccessful and the procedure is appropriate, management may choose to initiate an investigation. The investigation will be completed according to the procedures and timelines laid out in the Investigation section of this Policy. For more information about human rights investigations, please see the section, Filing a Discrimination and Harassment Complaint in Appendix C.

Examples of competing human rights claims may emerge related to any of the Code grounds, but have most commonly emerged under the grounds of disability, creed and family status, and related to competing claims based on creed and sexual orientation.

J. Human rights strategy

The Commission is committed to developing and implementing a Human Rights Strategy that aims to prevent discrimination and harassment, and promotes the highest level of employment and service equity. The Executive Director will be responsible for:

  • Creating and implementing this Strategy
  • Reporting once a year on the Strategy’s elements and related activity, including identifying its goals, its challenges, and its achievements related to both employment and services
  • Communicating this report to Commission staff internally and to the general public by posting of the Report on the Commission’s website

This Strategy must include:

  1. Steps taken for inclusive design, and to identify, prevent and remove barriers related to Code grounds. These steps should be taken regularly, with the requirement that all Code grounds be covered within a three-year cycle
  2. Efforts to make this Policy known to employees, prospective employees, and members of the public who seek Commission services, or who seek to contract with the Commission
  3. Ongoing training on this Policy to all staff, to any new staff, and on a renewal basis to all staff every three years
  4. Additional training for all staff on human rights themes that are timely and relevant
  5. Employment equity measures that enhance efforts to recruit, promote and retain staff. These measures must reflect the diversity of Ontario’s society, with special regard to retaining a workforce that reflects vulnerable Code ground protected groups to enhance human rights work
  6. Service equity measures aimed at providing Commission services to underserved and marginalized communities
  7. A process to annually review this Policy in consultation with staff representatives of all sections of the Commission

Elements of this Strategy may include, where appropriate and necessary, collecting data related to Code grounds in both employment and service contexts.

Administrative: 
Resource Type: 
Discrimination Type: 

Appendix A: Definitions

Directing mind employee: This refers to managers, decision-makers and supervisors in an organization who function, or are seen to function, as representatives of an organization. Even non-supervisors may be considered to be part of the “directing mind” if they have de facto supervisory authority or have significant responsibility for guiding employees and other workers.  

Discrimination:  Means any form of unequal treatment based on a Code ground that results in disadvantage, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but have the effect of disadvantaging certain groups of people. It may be obvious, or it may occur in very subtle ways. Discrimination needs only to be one factor among many factors in a decision or action for a finding of discrimination to be made.

Discrimination because of association:  Discrimination or harassment because of a person’s association, relationship or dealings with a person protected by the Code. It includes actions taken against a person who has objected to discriminatory comments aimed at another group.

Harassment: means a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome, based on a ground of discrimination identified by this Policy.  Harassment during employment can happen based on any of the grounds of discrimination.

Personal harassment, such as workplace bullying, which is not based on a Code ground, is also covered under this Policy

Examples of harassment include:

  • Epithets, remarks, jokes or innuendos related to an individual’s race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, creed, age, or any other ground
  • Showing or circulating offensive pictures, graffiti or materials, whether in print form or using e-mail or other electronic means
  • Singling out an individual for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes because they are a member of a protected group
  • Comments ridiculing an individual because of characteristics, dress, etc. that are related to a ground of discrimination.

Even if a person does not clearly object to harassing behaviour, or if they appear to go along with it, do not assume they have agreed to this behaviour. It could still be considered harassment.

Hate activity: comments or actions against a person or group motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, family status, sexual orientation or any other similar factor. It includes, but is not limited to, hate crime, hate propaganda, advocating genocide, telephone/electronic communications promoting hate, and the display of hate through any notice, sign, symbol or emblem.  

Organizational responsibility and vicarious liability: Under section 46.3(1) of the Code, a corporation, trade union or occupational association, unincorporated association, or employers’ organization will be held responsible for discrimination, including acts or omissions, committed by employees or agents during their employment. In other words, an organization is responsible for discrimination that occurs through the acts of its employees or agents, done in the normal course of employment, whether or not it had any knowledge of, participation in, or control over these actions.

Poisoned environment: negative, hostile or unpleasant workplace or an unequal work environment due to comments or conduct that tend to demean a group identified by one or more prohibited grounds under the Human Rights Code, even if not directed at a specific individual. A poisoned work environment may result from a serious and single event, remark or action.

Sexual harassment: A course of comment or conduct based on an individual’s sex or gender that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

Gender-based harassment is a subset of sexual harassment. It refers to behaviour that polices and reinforces traditional heterosexual gender norms.

Forms of sexual and gender-based harassment could include:

  • Gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or mannerisms
  • Paternalistic comment or conduct based on gender, which undermines a person’s self-respect or position of responsibility
  • Unwelcome physical contact
  • Suggestive or offensive remarks or innuendoes about members of a specific gender
  • Propositions of physical intimacy
  • Gender-related verbal abuse, threats or taunting
  • Leering or inappropriate staring
  • Bragging about sexual prowess or questions or discussions about sexual activities
  • Offensive jokes or comments of a sexual nature about an employee or client
  • Rough and vulgar humour or language related to gender
  • Display of sexually offensive pictures, graffiti or other materials, including through electronic means
  • Demands for dates or sexual favours.

Sexual Solicitation and reprisal: Sexually related solicitations or advances by any person who is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the recipient, where this is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. This includes managers and supervisors, as well as co-workers where one person is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the other. Reprisals for rejecting such advances or solicitations are also prohibited.

Systemic or institutional discrimination: Consists of patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the social or administrative structures of an organization, and that create or perpetuate a position of relative disadvantage for persons protected by the Code. They appear neutral on the surface, but have an exclusionary impact on persons identified by a Code ground. They can also overlap with types of discrimination that are not neutral, such as prejudice and stereotypes. Systemic discrimination may be identified by looking at:

  • Discrepancies in numerical data
  • Policies, practices and decision-making processes
  • Organizational culture

Effective efforts to address systemic discrimination usually target changes to policies, practices, decision-making processes and organizational culture by gathering relevant data and using multi-faceted organizational change interventions.

Workplace restoration: promoting and/or restoring positive and respectful workplace relationships following a complaint of discrimination or harassment.

Appendix B: Human rights accommodation procedure

Requests for accommodation by a member of the public

Requests for accommodation by a member of the public should be made to the Commission employee who is the normal point of contact. For example, a person requesting accommodation regarding a public communications event could initially make the request to the communications officer. Any Commission employee who receives a request for accommodation is required to bring this request to the attention of his or her Manager or Director.  Alternatively, members of the public may bring requests for accommodation straight to the manager of the responsible branch.

Upon receipt of a request for accommodation from a member of the public, the Manager, assessing the request must:

  • Normally accept the request for accommodation in good faith
  • Obtain advice where needed (for example from the Executive Director)
  • Seek additional information where necessary
  • Grant approved accommodation requests in a timely manner
  • Keep a record of the accommodation request and accommodation given
  • Maintain confidentiality of the information to the extent possible

Requests for accommodation by an employee

Employees and other workers and management are expected to work cooperatively to facilitate the accommodation process.

Requests for accommodation by an employee should be made to the employee’s manager. Requests for accommodation by a Commissioner should be made to the Chief Commissioner.

Accommodation requests should, whenever possible, be made in writing. The accommodation request should indicate:

  • The Code ground with respect to which accommodation is being requested
  • The accommodation need related to the Code ground, including enough information to facilitate the accommodation and/or confirm the existence of a need for accommodation

All accommodation requests will be taken seriously and dealt with in a timely manner. The Commission expects that the Executive Director, managers, supervisors, directors and other workers will fulfill their respective responsibilities as are set out in more detail in the Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy. These roles and responsibilities are appended to this Policy as Appendix F.

No person will be penalized for making an accommodation request.

Provision of information for accommodation

The Manager or Director may require further information related to the accommodation request, in the following circumstances:

  • Where the accommodation request does not clearly indicate a need related to a Code ground
  • Where further information related to the employee’s limitations or restrictions is required in order to determine an appropriate accommodation
  • Where there is a demonstrable objective reason to question the legitimacy of the person’s request for accommodation

Where expert assistance is necessary to identify accommodation needs or potential solutions, the accommodation seeker is required to cooperate in obtaining that expert advice. Any costs associated with obtaining such expert advice will be borne by the Commission.

Failure to respond to such requests for information may delay the provision of accommodation.

The Manager or Director will maintain information related to:

  • The accommodation request;
  • Any documentation provided by the accommodation seeker or by experts;
  • Status of the accommodation request
  • Related notes from the accommodation seeker’s personnel file
  • Any accommodation alternatives explored; and
  • Any accommodations provided.

Where the accommodation seeker requests it, the manager or director will provide the above information within five working days.

Privacy and confidentiality related to accommodation

The organization will maintain the confidentiality of information related to an accommodation request, and will only disclose this information with the accommodation seeker. Health and disability-related information will only be shared outside the OPS with the accommodation seeker’s specific written consent, except where required by law. Medical information will be kept separate from the person’s corporate file.

Accommodation planning

Accommodation requests will be dealt with promptly. Where necessary, interim accommodation measures will be provided while long-term solutions are developed.

The Manager or Director, the person requesting accommodation related to a Code ground and any necessary experts will work together cooperatively to develop an Accommodation Plan for the individual.

The Accommodation Plan will be put in writing and signed by the individual requesting accommodation and the Manager or Director.

An Accommodation Plan may include the following:

  • A statement of the accommodation seeker’s relevant limitations and needs, including any necessary assessments and information from experts or specialists, bearing in mind the need to maintain the confidentiality of medical reports
  • Arrangements for necessary assessments by experts or professionals;
  • Identification of the most appropriate accommodation short of undue hardship
  • A statement of goals, and specific steps to be taken to meet them
  • Clear timelines for the provision of identified accommodations
  • Criteria for determining the success of the accommodation plan, together with a mechanism for review and re-assessment of the accommodation plan as necessary
  • An accountability mechanism

Appropriate accommodations

The aim of accommodation is to remove barriers and ensure equality. Accommodations will be developed on an individualized basis. An accommodation is considered appropriate when it respects the employee’s dignity, responds to their individualized needs, and allows for full integration and inclusion in the workplace. Appropriate accommodations for employees and other workers where warranted may include:

  • Work station adjustments
  • Job redesign
  • Modifications to organizational policies and practices
  • Technical aids
  • Human support
  • Provision of materials in alternative formats
  • Building modifications
  • Counselling and referral services
  • Temporary or permanent alternative work[1]
  • Modification of performance standards, while retaining core job requirements
  • Leaves of absence
  • Changes to scheduling or hours of work

Appropriate accommodations for members of the public may include:

  • Information in alternative formats
  • Access to language interpretation
  • Extensions to deadlines

In considering accommodation for members of the public with disabilities, the Commission will adhere to standards set under the AODA.

In addition to the above lists, there may be other types of accommodation available.

Monitoring accommodations

The Manager or Director and the person receiving accommodation shall monitor the success of the Accommodation Plan, and shall promptly address any deficiencies or any relevant changes in the organization or the needs of the employee or member of the public.

Undue hardship

Accommodation will be provided to the point of undue hardship. A determination regarding undue hardship will be based on an assessment of costs, outside sources of funding, and health and safety. It will be based on objective evidence.  An analysis of what constitutes undue hardship is different from an analysis of appropriate accommodation.

A determination that an accommodation will create undue hardship may only be made by the Commission’s Executive Director in consultation with the Senior Management Committee. 

Where a determination is made that an accommodation would create undue hardship, the person requesting accommodation will be given written notice, including the reasons for the decision and the objective evidence relied upon within 90 days of determination being made. The accommodation seeker shall be informed of his or her recourse under this Policy, the applicable collective agreement, and under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Where a determination has been made that an accommodation would cause undue hardship, the Commission will proceed to implement the next best accommodation short of undue hardship, or will consider phasing in the requested accommodation. 

For more information on accommodation and return-to-work procedures, please see the Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy.


[1] Salary adjustments may apply if temporary or alternative work is provided.

Appendix C: Employment-Related Complaint resolution procedures

An employment-related complaint under this Policy will be handled according to the procedures set out in the WDHP, which are reflected in this section.

Access to information and advice

Employees, Commissioners and other workers can access information and seek advice under this Policy and the WDHP in the following ways:

  1. Through contacting the OPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  EAP staff can provide confidential advice and information about human rights and WDHP-related matters.
  2. By accessing the MYOPS Wellness Portal under Employee Services.  The Wellness Portal includes access to the WDHP and training on the WDHP.
  3. By contacting the appropriate WDHP office. The WDHP advisor will provide neutral and expert advice to any person concerned about discrimination or harassment within the organization. The advisor will not act as an advocate for any person and will not provide legal advice. Any advice they provide is not confidential. The WDHP office will also accept human rights complaints and start the complaint resolution process. The WDHP advisor, upon becoming aware of an alleged breach of this Policy, must take appropriate action by informing a manager.
    The appropriate WDHP advisor for the Commission can be reached at [Provide contact details]:
  4. Through contacting a manager, director or the Executive Director. Management has limits on confidentiality and must report alleged violations or potential violations of this Policy to the appropriate WDHP office and seek to resolve these situations.
  5. Human rights advice can also be obtained through contacting the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (www.hrlsc.on.ca) and union representatives, where applicable.

Addressing Discrimination or Harassment Concerns

If a person believes his or her right to be free from discrimination or harassment is being or has been infringed, he or she is encouraged, where possible, to attempt to make it known that the alleged behaviour is unwelcome. 

If the situation cannot be resolved by speaking to the person responsible, or such recourse is not available or not appropriate, employees and other workers are encouraged to quickly notify the first level of management not involved in the complaint, or the appropriate WDHP office, about alleged violations of this Policy. The first level of management not involved in the complaint, or the WDHP advisor may contact the managers or employers of other workers regarding alleged violations of this Policy.

Representation

During the complaint resolution processes related to this Policy, complainants and respondents have the right to be accompanied by another person, bargaining agent representative where applicable, or legal representative at their own expense.  

Documentation

Every person who believes that he or she has experienced harassment or discrimination, as well as every person who has been notified of a complaint against them, is advised to create and keep written notes about the events at issue, as well as maintaining any relevant written documentation.

Management Response

Managers must act immediately upon becoming aware of potential Policy violations by:  

  • intervening to stop unacceptable behaviour
  • contacting the WDHP office for advice and assistance, and to initiate the completion of a preliminary assessment
  • notifying the Executive Director of the complaint
  • taking action to protect complainants who raise allegations or file complaints of discrimination or harassment
  • facilitating the resolution of issues that arise by implementing appropriate and timely resolution mechanisms as described below
  • taking appropriate and timely remedial or disciplinary action to resolve the issue, when applicable.

Managers must make staff available at the earliest opportunity to participate in investigations and other complaint resolution mechanisms.

Senior management must notify police and consult legal services, as required, when information is brought forward about discrimination or harassment that may constitute criminal behaviour.

Managers must declare any potential conflict of interest in relation to an alleged violation of this Policy when they are, or may be perceived to be, either condoning or directly involved with an alleged violation. In such a case, the next level of management not involved in the complaint must assume responsibilities associated with a resolution.

When appropriate, management of another area, including another branch, ministry or Commission public body, may be asked to assume responsibilities associated with a resolution.

During the resolution of discrimination or harassment issues, management must determine, in consultation with the Executive Director, WDHP office and other human resource representatives where appropriate, whether a complainant or respondent should be placed on a paid or unpaid leave, relocated within the Commission, another ministry or Commission public body, provided with an alternate reporting relationship, or whether other similar and appropriate action should be taken.

Filing a Discrimination or Harassment Complaint

The WDHP advisor and managers are required to act on allegations of violations of this Policy, regardless of whether a written complaint has been filed. However, complaints under this Policy should be filed in writing, within six months of the alleged discrimination or harassment incident, and submitted to the next level manager not involved in the alleged incident or conduct, or the appropriate WDHP office.

The following details must be included in the written complaint:

  • name(s) of the complainant, respondent and witness (if any)
  • date(s) and location(s) of the alleged incident or conduct
  • alleged Policy violation including the identification of prohibited ground(s) under the Code, if applicable
  • names of witnesses, if any
  • description of the event or situation giving rise to the complaint
  • description of other proceedings underway
  • resolution sought.

The person receiving the complaint will notify the person(s) complained against (“the respondent(s)”) and will provide the respondent(s) with a copy of the written complaint. Complainants can use the WDHP complaint form to file their complaint, or they can write up their complaint using the points above. A copy of the WDHP complaint form and instructions on how to fill it out are included in Appendix G. 

Managers who are responsible for the work area referred to in the complaint must exercise authority to appropriately enforce the Policy and manage the work environment when a complaint has been filed.

Preliminary Assessment

A preliminary assessment must be completed by the WDHP advisor  (or where applicable, the next level manager not involved in the complaint) within 15 working days of a complaint being filed or being advised of issues or allegations related to this Policy. Every effort must be made to complete the preliminary assessment as quickly as possible.             

WDHP advisors must recommend a resolution mechanism or other appropriate actions to the manager based on the results of the preliminary assessment. Resolution mechanisms include:

  • direct management action
  • alternate dispute resolution (ADR)
  • investigation.

Managers must determine which resolution mechanism to pursue or another appropriate course of action, taking into consideration the advice of the WDHP advisor. After a resolution mechanism has been chosen, the manager responsible for handling the complaint has discretion regarding appointing an appropriate investigator or mediator, taking into consideration OPS procurement rules. Managers could choose to address the complaint themselves through direct management action, ADR or investigation. 

Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the safety and/or peace of mind of the complainant and the respondent pending completion of the complaint process. Such steps will be made on a case-by-case basis having regard to the principle that, where it was made in good faith, the complainant will not be penalized for making the complaint, Similarly, the respondent will not be penalized prior to the completion of an investigation, or prior to having an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

Resolution Mechanisms

A chart outlining the complaint process under the WDHP is contained in Appendix H.

Direct Management Action

When direct management action is determined by the responsible manager to be the appropriate resolution mechanism, taking into account the advice of the WDHP advisor, he or she must attempt to resolve the complaint or issue through appropriate action within 30 working days of the completion of the preliminary assessment. Direct management action may include remedial or disciplinary action according to applicable collective agreement requirements or discipline policy requirements.

Respondents must be given the opportunity to respond to allegations before remedial or disciplinary action is taken.

Alternate Dispute Resolution   

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is often a preferable approach to addressing human rights disputes.  Approaches like formal mediation are known to be effective methods to address internal human rights matters and allow for the identification and negotiation of mutually beneficial outcomes. When the manager determines that ADR is the appropriate resolution mechanism as a result of the preliminary assessment, he or she must seek the agreement of the complainant and the respondent within five working days of the completion of the preliminary assessment.

ADR must only proceed with the expressed agreement of the complainant, respondent and manager responsible for addressing the complaint. A case must be assigned to an ADR resource (e.g. a mediator) within 15 working days of the parties agreeing to pursue ADR.

ADR must be completed within 30 working days of the assignment of a complaint to an ADR resource.

Persons conducting ADR must be knowledgeable about:

  • Human rights issues and principles  
  • The requirements of the Code
  • The requirements of the applicable collective agreement
  • This Policy and Complaint Resolution Procedure and the WDHP
  • Methods for conducting mediations

When ADR is not effective or appropriate, the manager must initiate an investigation or take direct management action to resolve the complaint.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, even when ADR effectively resolves an issue between the parties, the manager may still initiate an investigation or engage in direct management action, for example, if discipline is warranted. 

Where the manager agrees, the parties may negotiate a solution by themselves without a manager or mediator present.

Investigation

Full and complete cooperation in the investigation of workplace discrimination or harassment is required by Commission staff when an internal or external investigation is determined by management to be the appropriate resolution mechanism as a result of the preliminary assessment.

Management must assign an investigation to an internal resource or external investigator within 15 working days of deciding that a complaint will be investigated. In deciding whether an internal or external investigation should be completed, management will consider the complexity of the matter, the nature of the allegations, the ability to be objective given the personnel involved, and any concerns about impartiality and objectivity that may be expressed. 

Where the parties agree, managers may choose to suspend an active investigation in favour of alternate dispute resolution, if appropriate.

The investigator is responsible for ensuring a thorough, fair and impartial investigation of the allegations in the complaint.  Persons conducting investigations must be knowledgeable about:

  • Human rights issues and principles  
  • The requirements of the Code
  • The requirements of the applicable collective agreement
  • This Policy and Complaint Resolution Procedure and the WDHP
  • Methods for conducting investigations

Investigation Process

The investigator will interview the complainant, the respondent(s), and relevant witnesses suggested by the complainant and/or respondent(s), as well as gathering documents or things relevant to the matters in the complaint. 

The investigation will be conducted as follows:

  • Complainants, respondents and witnesses will have access to statements they have provided
  • Respondents and complainants must have access to all relevant information about the allegations and responses of other parties and witnesses to enable them to make a defence or a rebuttal
  • All information must remain strictly confidential, except when sharing information required by Collective Agreement provisions or by law (e.g. possible Criminal Code violations). Personal information will only be used when administering this Policy, processing complaints, determining the appropriate means to either address, manage or resolve Policy violations, including appropriate disciplinary and other remedial actions, or for a consistent or related purpose.
  • There must be no reference to a complaint under this Policy in an employee’s personnel file, unless disciplinary action was taken against the employee
  • Parties may not share any summary of findings or investigation reports with anyone other than the person who accompanied them to complaint-related meetings and/or their representative.
Internal Investigation

An internal investigation must be completed within 60 working days of assigning a complaint to an internal resource, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

The manager responsible for deciding discipline resulting from internal investigations must decide on appropriate remedies, and notify the parties of the outcome of the internal investigation within 15 working days of the completion of the investigation.

If requested by the parties, a short summary of the findings of the internal investigation (e.g. background, positions of the parties, findings and conclusion) will be shared with the parties so they can make submissions to the manager for final decision before remedies are considered.  Submissions must be made within the investigation timeframe.

External Investigation

An external investigation must be completed, and a final report submitted, within 90 working days of assigning a complaint to an external investigator, unless there are extenuating circumstances. The WDHP advisor will review the report to ensure that the findings are complete and can withstand third-party scrutiny. The responsible manager and/or applicable WDHP advisor must submit the final report to the Executive Director.

Before a final report resulting from an external investigation is submitted to the Executive Director for review, a copy of a draft investigation report must be provided to the parties (complainant and respondent) so they can comment on the accuracy and the completeness of facts and allow them to make submissions before remedies are considered.

The Executive Director, or his or her delegate, must decide on appropriate remedies and notify parties of the outcome, where authorized, within 30 working days of receiving the final report. Where the Executive Director is not authorized to decide on a particular remedy, an authorized individual for the Commission must decide on the appropriate remedy and notify parties of the outcome within 30 working days of receiving the final report.

Appointing people to handle complaints

When determining whether to appoint advisors, mediators, investigators, designates or decision-makers that are external or internal to the Commission, managers and the Executive Director will consider the following factors:

  • Any conflicts of interest that may exist
  • Whether issues of trust in the process are evident
  • Whether required expertise exists internally
  • The OPS procurement procedures, where applicable 

Potential outcomes

If it is determined that the Policy has been violated, the manager shall determine the appropriate consequences for person(s) who have been found to have violated the Policy. These may include:

  • An apology
  • Counselling
  • Education and training
  • Verbal or written reprimand
  • Suspension with pay
  • Suspension without pay
  • Transfer
  • Termination of employment

In determining the appropriate consequences, management shall take into account all the relevant factors including the nature of the violation of the Policy, its severity, whether the individual has previously violated the Policy, and the provisions of any applicable collective agreement. Management will then notify the parties of the outcome.

Where a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint, he or she shall be reminded of his or her right under the Ontario Human Rights Code to file an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. 

Workplace Restoration

Managers must take appropriate steps to improve and/or restore work environments and work relationships affected by incidents or allegations of discrimination or harassment by employing workplace restoration strategies.

Managers must review workplaces in which there were findings of discrimination or harassment at least six months after the conclusion of the complaint resolution process to determine whether additional workplace restoration strategies should be engaged.

Confidentiality and privacy

Managers, directors, designates, advisors, investigators, mediators, and persons making complaints and persons receiving complaints will, to the extent possible, protect the confidentiality and privacy of persons involved in a complaint, subject to the requirements of a fair investigation and resolution process.

All documents related to a complaint, including the written complaint, witness statements, investigation notes and reports, and documents related to the complaint, will be securely maintained by the Chief Administrative Officer or Executive Director separate from personnel files after the conclusion of the complaint resolution process. 

Personal information must only be collected, used or disclosed when the collection, use or disclosure is necessary to administer this Policy. Personal information must be collected, used or disclosed in accordance with applicable policies or guidelines.

There must be no reference to a complaint under this Policy in an employee’s human resource file unless disciplinary action was taken against the employee. When disciplinary action has been taken, retention of information in the employee’s human resource file is subject to the applicable collective agreement or Archives Ontario retention schedules.

Complaints against the Executive Director

All complaints against the Executive Director will be forwarded to the Deputy Attorney General with the request that this Policy along with the applicable corporate OPS policies be employed to handle the complaint.

Complainants not satisfied with this process or its outcomes will be directed to alternative processes available under the applicable collective agreement or under the Code.

Complaints against Commissioners

All complaints against Commissioners can be made with the Executive Director or with  the appropriate WDHP advisor. The Executive Director will endeavour to handle the matter employing procedures detailed in this Policy. Where the Executive Director is not satisfied that a procedure under the WDHP can be successfully applied he/she will recommend the complainant file an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Complainants not satisfied with this process or its outcomes will be directed to alternative processes available under the applicable collective agreement or under the Code.

Commissioners’ Complaints

Commissioners can make complaints to the Chief Commissioner.  The Chief Commission may delegate complaint handling responsibilities to the Executive Director.  Where the Chief Commissioner or Executive Director are not satisfied that a procedure under the WDHP can be successfully applied he/she will recommend the complainant file an application with the Tribunal.

Measurement and Review

The Commission will collect and maintain statistics and program measures on workplace discrimination and harassment and prevention activity, and report this information to the WDHP Section, Centre for Employee Health, Safety and Wellness (CEHSW) on a quarterly basis.

Appendix D: Service Complaint Resolution Procedures

People receiving service from the Commission and members of the public can file Human Rights Code-related complaints against Commission staff or Commissioners through the following process. Complaints that are not related to discrimination or harassment should be filed under the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Public Complaints Policy, available on the Commission website at www.ohrc.on.ca.

Members of the public can access information about their human rights by contacting the Human Rights Legal Support Centre:  

Human Rights Legal Support Centre
180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 0A1

Tel: (416) 314-6266
Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179
TTY: (416) 314-6651
TTY Toll Free: 1-866 612-8627

Fax: 1-866-625-5180 or 416-314-6202
www.hrlsc.on.ca

Addressing Discrimination or Harassment Concerns

If a person believes his or her right to be free from discrimination or harassment is being or has been infringed by Commission staff or a Commissioner, he or she is encouraged, where possible, to attempt to make it known that the alleged behaviour is unwelcome. 

Documentation

Every person who believes that he or she has experienced harassment or discrimination, as well as every person who has been notified of a complaint against them, is advised to create and keep written notes about the events at issue, as well as maintaining any relevant written documentation.

Filing a Discrimination or Harassment Complaint

If the situation cannot be resolved by speaking to the staff person or Commissioner responsible, or this type of action is not available or not appropriate, members of the public are encouraged to fill out a complaint form (included in Appendix I) and send it to the Executive Director’s office.  The following details must be included in the written complaint:

  • name(s) of the complainant, contact details
  • Names of staff members(s) or Commissioner(s) complained about
  • Names of witness (if any)
  • date(s) and location(s) of the alleged incident or conduct
  • alleged Human Rights Code violation including the identification of prohibited ground(s) under the Code, if applicable
  • description of the event or situation giving rise to the complaint
  • description of other complaint proceedings underway (E.g. proceedings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario) 
  • resolution sought

If people need help writing the complaint, they should call the Executive Director’s Office at 416-314-4562.  Complaints must be signed and dated by the person making the complaint. If the complaint is from an organization, a signing officer representing the organization must sign and date the form. The written complaint must be received within six months of the last incident of discrimination or harassment.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Confidentiality of any client affected by a complaint under this policy shall be maintained, unless the client expressly consents otherwise.  Complainants will be asked to submit all relevant documents to the Executive Director to allow her or her designate to respond to the complaint and agree to allow the Commission to disclose these documents to people handling the complaint (e.g. mediators, investigators).

All documents related to a complaint, including the written complaint, witness statements, investigation notes and reports, and documents related to the complaint, will be securely maintained by the Chief Administrative Officer or Executive Director separate from employee personnel files after the conclusion of the complaint resolution process. 

Personal information must only be collected, used or disclosed when the collection, use or disclosure is necessary to administer this Policy. Personal information must be collected, used or disclosed in accordance with applicable policies or guidelines.

There must be no reference to a complaint under this Policy in an employee’s human resource file unless disciplinary action was taken against the employee. When disciplinary action has been taken, retention of information in the employee’s human resource file is subject to the applicable collective agreement or Archives Ontario retention schedules.

Representation

During the complaint resolution processes related to this Policy, complainants and respondents have the right to be accompanied by another person or legal representative at their own expense. 

Complaint Handling

All service complaints will be handled by the Executive Director’s office. The Executive Director or her designate will send the complainant a letter stating that the complaint has been received within three days of receiving the complaint. The letter will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and may ask for more information.

A copy of the complaint will be given to the staff member or Commissioner for a response.  

The Executive Director or her designate will try to resolve the complaint and may use a number of different methods, including alternate dispute resolution (ADR or mediation), investigation, or direct action. Where ADR is an option, both complainant and respondent must expressly agree to ADR. Complainants are allowed to be accompanied by a representative to the mediation.

Timeframes

The Executive Director will attempt to resolve the complaint within the following timeframes:

Direct management action timeframe: 45 working days

  • 15 working days to decide on a resolution method
  • 30 working days to resolve the complaint

Alternate Dispute resolution (mediation) timeframe: 65 working days  

  • 15 working days to decide on a resolution method
  • 5 working days to obtain permission from the parties to mediate
  • 15 working days to assign a mediator
  • 30 working days to complete the mediation

Investigation: 105-135 days  

  • 15 working days to decide on a resolution method
  • 15 working days to hire or appoint an investigator
  • 60-90 working days to complete the investigation
  • 15 working days to notify the parties of the findings and receive submissions

If a case is complex, this may delay the resolution.

At any time during the resolution process, complainants have the right to file an application at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Appointing people to handle complaints

When determining whether to appoint advisors, mediators, investigators, designates or decision-makers that are external or internal to the Commission, the Executive Director will consider the following factors:

  • Any perceived bias that may exist
  • Any conflicts of interest that may exist
  • Whether issues of trust in the process or power imbalances are evident
  • The OPS procurement procedures, where applicable 

Report of Findings

In cases that are investigated, the Executive Director or her representative will send complainants a written decision, including reasons, within 15 business days from the date of completing the investigation.  Complainants will be given a chance to respond to the findings.

If complainants are satisfied with the Executive Director’s decision, the complaint will be closed. If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision, they can apply to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Complaints about Executive Director

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

Complainants not satisfied with this process or its outcomes will be directed to alternative processes available under the applicable collective agreement or under the Code.

Appendix E: Detailed roles and responsibilities – Complaints

Employees and other workers (including Commissioners)

Employees and other workers are responsible for:

  • Refraining from discrimination and harassment, including offensive remarks or other actions that create intimidating, hostile or humiliating working conditions based on the prohibited grounds of this Policy   
  • Adhering to this Policy, the WDHP and related ministry processes
  • complying with obligations under the Code, the OHSA and regulations, other relevant legislation, this Policy, the WDHP and other policies, programs and procedures that support an inclusive, respectful workplace free from discrimination and harassment
  • participating in education and awareness programs related to this Policy and the WDHP
  • When possible, telling alleged offenders about unwelcome conduct or actions perceived to be harassing or discriminatory, and asking the respondent to stop
  • reporting alleged Policy violations they have witnessed or experienced to a manager or the appropriate WDHP advisor
  • raising complaints under this Policy within six months of the alleged incident unless there are compelling and extenuating circumstances
  • following the complaint filing protocols outlined under this Policy, and advising the responsible manager of related proceedings (e.g. a Tribunal application)  
  • cooperating fully and completely in the investigation of workplace discrimination or harassment
  • not threatening or retaliating against another employee or worker for exercising a right under this Policy
  • exercising rights under this Policy in good faith
  • meeting performance commitments associated with workplace discrimination and harassment prevention.

Managers, directors and supervisors

Managers, directors and supervisors are responsible for:

  • complying with obligations under the Code, the OHSA and regulations, other relevant legislation, this Policy, the WDHP and other policies, programs and procedures that support an inclusive, respectful workplace free from discrimination and harassment
  • Ensuring all employees and other workers know that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated
  • Ensuring that all employees and other workers know their rights and responsibilities under this Policy, including ways in which allegations of discrimination and harassment can be resolved
  • Managing the process for resolving allegations of discrimination, harassment or other Policy violations as soon as they become aware of them, whether or not a complaint has been written; consulting with the WDHP advisor within the timeframes stated in the Policy;
  • Advising employees and other workers not to threaten or retaliate against any complaint, respondent or witness to a complaint
  • declaring any potential conflict of interest in relation to an alleged violation of this Policy when he or she may be perceived to be either condoning or directly involved with an alleged violation
  • Cooperating with investigators and alternate dispute resolution service providers, such as ensuring availability of witnesses and the confidentiality of information
  • Restoring or improving workplace relationships when either Policy violations or resolutions have disrupted these relationships
  • Maintaining and providing statistical information on this Policy and the WDHP to the Executive Director through appropriate channels.
  • participating in mandatory education and/or training as outlined in this Policy and the WDHP
  • ensuring this Policy is posted in a conspicuous place in the workplace
  • When appropriate, advising members of the public, including visitors to OPS facilities or individuals conducting business with the government that they are expected to refrain from discrimination or harassment of employees, other workers and members of the public.
  • monitoring and maintaining awareness of potential discrimination or harassment issues in the workplace and taking proactive steps to prevent or address these issues
  • not threatening or retaliating against an employee or other worker for exercising a right under this Policy
  • meeting performance commitments associated with workplace discrimination and harassment prevention

The Commission Public Body Designated Official (Executive Director)

The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Providing leadership in creating and maintaining a workplace free of discrimination and harassment
  • integrating discrimination and harassment prevention responsibilities in performance criteria for managers and employees and other workers, and holding accountable managers and others responsible for implementing this Policy
  • Ensuring that managers responsible for implementing this Policy have the appropriate knowledge, skills, processes and resources
  • Ensuring that employees and other workers are informed of rights and responsibilities under this Policy
  • Deciding on cases and appropriate remedies including discipline, when assigned
  • Ensuring that remedies to violations of this Policy will create or restore a workplace which is free of discrimination and harassment
  • Handling complaints made against Commissioners
  • Monitoring (e.g. time frames noted under mandatory requirements)
  • Receiving and reviewing reports arising from external investigations
  • Ensuring effective implementation of settlements, remedies and corrective actions
  • Informing the Chair of the Policy breach and remedy applied, where appropriate  
  • Ensuring that appropriate statistics are kept about violations under the WDHP and submitted quarterly to the CEHSW
  • Ensuring that duties designated by the Chief Commissioner and Commission are carried out, including:
    integrating discrimination and harassment prevention strategies into the Commission’s business plans by:
    - allocating funds and human resources to address local discrimination and harassment issues 
    - developing strategies and priorities for discrimination and harassment prevention programs if appropriate 
    - evaluating and reporting on the effectiveness of the Commission’s discrimination and harassment prevention programs to HROntario, where applicable   

​Within HROntario, MGS the Centre for Employee Health, Safety and Wellness is responsible for:

  • providing discrimination and harassment complaint resolution and workplace restoration advisory services for all ministries except the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS)
  • leading the development of training and education programs for preventing and responding effectively to workplace discrimination and harassment issues
  • supporting managers, employees and other workers where applicable through centralized case management
  • providing advice and assistance to managers and human resource advisors in handling discrimination or harassment complaints
  • leading the preliminary assessment of complaints in collaboration with managers and recommending appropriate resolution strategies and remedies
  • providing advice and support to all parties (complainant, respondent witness, decision-maker, etc.) throughout the complaint resolution and workplace restoration process by answering questions, providing information on process and where to find appropriate resources
  • managing applicable vendor of record agreements and providing orientation to vendors on the application of this policy
  • overseeing investigations and reviewing draft WDHP investigation reports to ensure findings and conclusions are based on collected evidence and can withstand third-party scrutiny
  • monitoring WDHP compliance by producing metrics and reports for senior management and providing quarterly reports to deputy ministers on complaints that are not resolved within nine months of the filing date.

Chair of the Commission Public Body (Chief Commissioner)

Key responsibilities of the Chief Commissioner include:

  • providing leadership in fostering and sustaining inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible and respectful workplaces free from discrimination and harassment through compliance with the Code, the OHSA and its regulations, other relevant legislation, this Policy, the WDHP, and other policies, programs and procedures
  • Applying this policy and related policies and programs
  • Ensuring that the approved business case integrates discrimination and harassment prevention strategies in the Commission’s business plan
  • Involving HROntario in Commission-based initiatives that may have public service-wide implications for managing discrimination and harassment issues
  • delegating appropriate authorities and responsibilities under this Policy

HROntario, Ministry of Government Services (MGS)

HROntario, Ministry of Government Services (MGS) is responsible for:

  • conducting the annual review of the WDHP
  • ongoing monitoring of compliance with the WDHP and establishing reporting requirements
  • developing and communicating corporate discrimination and harassment prevention policies, programs, guidelines, training and performance measurement tools to assist ministries in addressing discrimination and harassment issues
  • interpreting the WDHP and providing expertise, advice, guidance, instructional materials and information to ministries and Commission public bodies on discrimination and harassment prevention programs, and the interpretation and application of relevant legislation, corporate policies and programs recommending WDHP improvements to Management Board of Cabinet, as appropriate coordinating the management of discrimination and harassment prevention issues that have enterprise-wide significance liaising with bargaining agents, as appropriate, on discrimination and harassment issues with enterprise-wide significance.

Appendix F: Detailed Roles and Responsibilities – Accommodation

As set out in the Employment Accommodation and Return to Work Operating Policy (EARW)

Deputy Heads (Executive Director)  

Deputy heads are responsible for:

  • Providing leadership in creating and maintain workplaces that support and facilitate employment accommodation and return to work;
  • Ensuring that mangers implement this Policy and the EARW Policy ;
  • Ensuring that managers and supervisors receive training in fulfilling the government’s obligations with respect to accessibility in employment, pursuant to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001;
  • Ensuring that managers and others responsible for implementing this Policy have the appropriate knowledge, skills, processes and resources;
  • Ensuring that all employees are provided information about the right and obligations of the government with respect to accessibility in employment, pursuant to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001;
  • Reviewing ministry practices, to ensure that employment barriers to people with disabilities are prevented where possible, or identified and removed, in accordance with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, and the Human Rights Code;
  • Ensuring that the ministry does not request an OPS-wide health reassignment unless the ministry reviewed and considered internal alternatives available at the time;
  • Ensuring that the ministry accepts health reassigned from other ministries, as long as the employee is minimally qualified and his/her accommodation needs can be met, short of undue hardship.

Managers

  • Safeguarding confidentiality of employees’ health information
  • Ensuring that all job applicants are made aware of the availability of employment accommodation during recruitment process, and are provided accommodations, short of undue hardship, when they request it; and
  • Providing and paying for documents prepared by their work units, in alternate formats, that OPS employees with disabilities may use.

Managing specific employment accommodation of return-to-work situations:

  • Working cooperatively with employees (and their representatives, where necessary) to develop accommodation and return-to-work plans;
  • Obtain information and assistance, as appropriate and with the employee’s consent, about:
    - The employee’s capabilities/limitations/needs-from the employee and if appropriate, medical practitioners, LTIP carriers, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and/or other assessment specialists in health professions;
    - accommodation and return-to-work options- from the employee and if appropriate, rehabilitation professionals (including LTIP carriers, WSIB), external vendors and specialists, in employment accommodation, and/or internal staff in areas such as human resources, information technology and procurement;
  • Consulting human resources staff and obtaining approval before implementing an accommodation that may be inconsistent with collective agreement provisions;
  • Implementing and adhering to accommodation/return-to-work plans.
  • Documenting accommodation/return-to-work plans, including information about discussions held, options considered, reasons for acceptance or rejection of options, and actions taken;
  • Paying for accommodation-related expenses, and requesting human resources staff to help arrange reimbursement of eligible expenses from the Employment Accommodation Fund for People with Disabilities, when appropriate;
  • Ensuring that employees who are incapable of performing the essential duties of their home job, despite best efforts to accommodate them are:
    - advised of benefits entitlements in a timely manner;
    - only retained on salary to the extent of their eligibility to be paid;
    - put forward for reassignment to another position, when appropriate.

Monitoring and follow-up:

  • Maintaining contact with employees who are absent from work because of injury or illness, to communicate concern for the employee’s health, obtain information about expected return-to-work date and anticipated accommodation needs, and prepare for his/her timely and safe return;
  • Monitoring and revising accommodation/return-to-work plans in cooperation with the employee to respond to changing employee and operational needs;
  • Advising accommodated employees as early as possible about upcoming operational changes that may cause the employee to need new or different accommodation;
  • Addressing co-worker cooperation issues throughout the employment accommodation process.

Employees

  • Employees who need disability-related accommodation or are absent from work due to injury or illness are responsible for:
  • Identifying to the manager as soon as possible any accommodation needs that relate to their ability to perform job duties or participate fully in the workplace;
  • Cooperating with requests for health information about capabilities, limitations and prognosis, and with independent medical evaluation, when required, to provide clear and sufficient information to support employment accommodation or return to work;
  • Collaborating with the manager in developing an employment accommodation and/or return-to-work plan;
  • Accepting an accommodation/return-to-work solution that meets the employee’s accommodation needs and treats the employee with dignity, even if the solution is not necessarily the one the employee would have preferred;
  • Adhering to the accommodation or return-to-work plan, monitoring how well it is working, and advising the manager promptly about any difficulties encountered;
  • Advising the manager promptly of any changes in health/disability status that may require changes in an existing accommodation/return-to-work plan; and
  • Completing required documentation where the employee is being considered for a reassignment for health/disability reasons (e.g., identify skills and competencies).

In addition, employees who are absent from work due to injury or illness, and who may not be able to return directly to their regular duties or working hours without accommodations, are responsible for:

  • Maintaining ongoing communications with their managers on recovery progress, anticipated return to work date, potential employment accommodation needs, and work scheduling needs to accommodate treatment/rehabilitation. Information about anticipated return-to-work date and accommodation needs should be provided as early as possible in order to give the manager and employee time to prepare a return-to-work/ EA plan before the anticipate dated of return. If sufficient advance notice is not provided, it may not be possible for the manger to make accommodation arrangements in time for the employee to return on the anticipated date.

All employees are responsible for:

  • Supporting the employment accommodation and return to work of other employees, including accepting some change in duties when necessary to accommodate a co-worker’s needs; and
  • Treating with dignity and respect other employees who require accommodation and or are returning to work after an absence due to injury, illness or disability.

Human Resources

Human resources are responsible for:

  • Providing advice and coaching to managers and supervisors about this Policy and its implementation; relevant legislation and collective agreements, and related benefits and entitlements, including LTIP and workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) entitlements;
  • Seeking advice from subject matter experts, when necessary;
  • Safeguarding confidentiality of employees’ health information;
  • Carrying out ministry-level administrative responsibilities with respect to the Employment Accommodation Fund;
  • Conducting timely searches for possible health reassignments within the ministry, when an employee cannot be accommodated in his/her own position;
  • Working with MGS to help identify cross-ministry health reassignments available in their ministry;
  • Assisting managers in assessing employee skills and competencies against the requirements of vacancies available in their ministry;
  • Determining when the conditions for requesting an OPS-wide health reassignment exist, coordinating provision of required documentation, and representing the ministry on all related matters;
  • Assisting managers with referrals and requests for assistance from external specialists, in relation to assessment of employee capabilities and needs; rehabilitation planning; and employment accommodations solutions.
  • Consulting with the employee relations division (ERD) on any situation when a proposed accommodation solution would be inconsistent with collective agreement provisions and/or on the right of other represented employees, and either discussing the matter with the bargaining agent(s) concerned or allowing ERD to do so, as ERD determines; and
  • Providing or arranging other related services, as determined by the ministry- e.g., education/information for managers and employees, resolution of disputes related to employment accommodation or return to work.

Ministry of government services

The Ministry of government services is responsible for:

  • Maintaining and revising the EARW Policy and related guidance and tools;
  • Providing advice to ministries about the interpretation and application of the EARW Policy, as well as related legislation, collective agreements and programs;
  • Working with ministry HR branches to identify cross-ministry health reassignments;
  • Developing, related OPS-wide performance measures, specifying any reporting requirements, and monitoring EARW Policy implementation;
  • Reviewing OPS-wide human resources policies and practices to help prevent, and otherwise identify and remove any systemic barriers facing employees and job applicants with disabilities;
  • Consulting with bargaining agents on a timely basis whenever a proposed accommodation would conflict with collective agreement provisions, or approving consultation at a ministry level;
  • Providing advice on OPS-wide training with respect to the EARW Policy;
  • Providing training content for manager that meets the government’s obligation under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001;
  • Ensuring delivery of training for managers and supervisors that meets the government’s obligation under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001;
  • Safeguarding confidentiality of employees’ health information
  • Administering the OPS Employment Accommodation Fund for people with disabilities, which reimburses (funding permitted) eligible expenses related to employment accommodation for people with disabilities;
  • Providing information and advice to employees and managers about OPS benefits entitlements related to work absences due to injury, illness or disability;
  • Providing procurement advice and assistance that facilitates the timely procurement of goods and services required for accommodation, including the development and management of OPS-wide vendors of record (VORs) for EA and RTW-related service and expertise;
  • Preventing and otherwise identifying and removing systemic information technology barriers to the productivity and full participation of employees with disabilities, where appropriate;
  • Providing advice and assistance to managers and employees in accommodating the information technology-related needs of individual employees with disabilities; and
  • Maintaining information technology and procurement policies that support and facilitate the productivity, full participation, and timely accommodation of employees with disabilities, where technology can be utilized to assist the employee to attain his/her maximum contribution and participation in the workplace.

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

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Contact us

The OHRC works to build respect for human rights into all aspects of life in Ontario. To do that, we look at the roots of discrimination, develop policy for preventing different forms of discrimination and work to raise awareness of human rights issues. The OHRC intervenes, as needed, at tribunals and all levels of court on human rights issues with broad public interest or concern. We work with different sectors and groups, including the Government of Ontario, to promote organizational change and to break down barriers to equity and success.

We are interested in your comments and suggestions. Please visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/the.ohrc and follow us on Twitter twitter.com/OntHumanRights.

Our email address is info@ohrc.on.ca. Please note: the OHRC cannot provide information, advice or legal opinions on individual cases or circumstances.

If you would like information on the OHRC’s public education services please read Public education: Developing a culture of human rights.

You may write to us at:
Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900
Toronto Ontario
M7A 2R9

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario deals directly with all claims of discrimination filed under the Human Rights Code. The Tribunal resolves applications using mediation or adjudication. The Tribunal can be contacted at 416-326-1312 or 1-866-598-0322.

The Human Rights Legal Support Centre offers legal services to people in Ontario who have experienced discrimination. The Centre can be contacted at 416-597-4900 or 1-866-625-5179. TTY Toll Free: 1-866 612-8627 or 416-597-4903

The Legal Support Centre cannot assist employers, landlords, service providers or business operators who have questions about how the Human Rights Code applies to them.

Please see www.hrlsc.on.ca.

Please visit www.ontario.ca/humanrights for more information on the human rights system in Ontario.

Recorded information is also available via telephone:

Local: (416) 326-9511
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY (Local): (416)-326 0603
TTY (Toll Free) 1-800-308-5561

 

 

Administrative: