Discrimination not allowed

9. No person shall infringe or do, directly or indirectly, anything that infringes a right under this Part.

You have the right to be free from discrimination that is:

  • in a specific social area such as jobs, housing and services, and
  • in a specific social area such as jobs, housing and services, and

Your rights under the Code are not violated if you only have a social area or only have a ground. You must have both. For example, the Code does not apply if a stranger on the street insults you by making a racist comment because this did not happen in a specific social area.[16] The Code will also not apply if you feel you were treated differently in your job due to a personality conflict with your manager, because there is no ground.

Discrimination can be unequal or different treatment. You do not have to show that the discrimination is deliberate or malicious. Even if comments are “only a joke”, they are not allowed if they are offensive and discriminatory based on a ground in the Code.

A person discriminates “directly” when the action itself is discriminatory and when the person acts on his or her own behalf. For example, a building manager who refuses to rent an apartment because he prefers to rent to someone of his own ethnic background is discriminating directly.

“Indirect discrimination” is discrimination carried out through another person. For example, a building manager instructs her superintendent not to rent to people of a particular ethnicity because their food “smells too much”. The manager can also be named in the human rights claim because she used the superintendent indirectly to discriminate against people because of their ethnic origin.

Poisoned Environment

You might feel that your workplace or housing is hostile or unwelcoming to you because of insulting or degrading comments or actions that have been made about others based on a ground in the ,Code. When comments or conduct of this kind have an influence on others and how they are treated, this is known as a “poisoned environment”. A poisoned environment cannot, however, be based only on your personal views. You must have facts to show that an objective person would see the comments or conduct resulting in unequal or unfair terms and conditions.

Example: A restaurant owner make negative remarks about African-Canadians. A co-worker of Chinese origin believes that that work environment is “poisoned” for all racialized people because of these comments.

[16] For more information on racism and racial harassment, please see the Commission’s Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Harassment (2006)

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