Part II of the Code explains how the Code is interpreted and applied. In Human Rights 101, we will look at the following:
The remarks in parentheses refer to sections of theOntario Human Rights Code R.S.O. 1990, Chapter H.19,
which is available on the Internet in its entirety from e-Laws.
Part 2 of the Code explains how the Code is interpreted and applied. It also sets out the exceptions to the Code. Exceptions are very specific situations where the Code allows you to treat people differently based on Code grounds. In Human Rights 101, we'll look at the definition of: Harassment under Section 10, the Duty to Accommodate under Section 17, Special Programs under Section 14, Special Interest Organizations under Section 18, and Special Employment under Section 24.
What should I remember about harassment?
This is the Code definition of harassment. Section 10 defines harassment as “a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” Let’s break down this definition. Harassment can be based on any prohibited ground and any of the social areas. Harassment can be words or actions, usually happens more than one time, is known or should be known to be unwelcome.
Accommodation means making special arrangements for some people, so they can have the same opportunities as everyone else. For example, flexible working hours or a ramp into a building can make a big difference.
Let's move on to the duty to accommodate short of undue hardship. The duty to accommodate considers The Principles of Accommodation and The Standards of Accommodation. Accommodation means making special arrangements for some people, so they can have the same opportunities as everyone else. For example, flexible working hours or a ramp into a building can make a big difference. Employers and service providers have a legal duty to accommodate people based on grounds of the Code. They must accommodate people in a respectful and dignified way, so they don't face barriers. They must look at each case separately to see if there is a solution. Accommodation is a two way street. The employer and the employee both have obligations under the duty to accommodate. The employee makes a request, explains what is needed and why, provides necessary information on restrictions and limitations, discusses possible accommodation solutions, cooperates with experts if required, agrees to meet work standards, and continues working with the employer to manage the accommodation process. From the employer's part, the employer accepts the request in good faith, respects the employee's dignity, assesses needs, and considers 'undue hardship'. To summarize, under the Code the expectation is the 'duty to accommodate', and the standard is 'short of undue hardship'.
The following types of organizations are permitted under the Code to limit their services or facilities on specific grounds:
Special interest organizations. The Code allows certain organizations to limit services or facilities on specific grounds. These organizations include: Philanthropic or charitable groups, educational organizations such as religious colleges, fraternal organizations such as mutual aid societies, or social institutions such as the Japanese or Estonian community centres.
The Code allows special job programs for some organizations. These groups may hire people who share the same culture, religion or background as the people they serve. They include:
The Code allows special employment for certain types of organizations. These groups may hire people who identify with the same Code grounds as the people they serve. They include: Educational organizations such as religious colleges, fraternal organizations such as mutual aid societies, and social organizations such as a cultural clubs that serves a particular ethnic group.