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Creed

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, discrimination because of creed and religion is against the law. Everyone should have access to the same opportunities and benefits, and be treated with equal dignity and respect, regardless of their religion.

Religion includes the practices, beliefs and observances that are part of a faith or religion. It does not include personal moral, ethical or political views. Nor does it include religions that promote violence or hate towards others, or that violate criminal law. 

Note: We are currently updating our 1996 Policy on creed and the accommodation of religious observances. For a more detailed discussion, see Human rights and creed: emerging issues

  1. Separate school rights preserved

    From: Guide to your rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code

    Separate schools in Ontario have special rights guaranteed by the Constitution and by the Education Act. Section 19 means that the Code cannot affect those rights, which are mainly related to the existence and funding of Roman Catholic schools. Otherwise, the right to be free from discrimination under the Code applies to Catholic schools. All schools have a legal duty to provide students with an education environment free from harassment and other forms of discrimination because of Code grounds.

  2. Solemnization of marriage by religious officials

    From: Guide to your rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code

    There is an exception to the rule that services and facilities must be offered without discrimination. It allows a religious official to refuse to perform a marriage ceremony, to refuse to make available a sacred place for performing a marriage ceremony or for an event related to a marriage ceremony, or to assist in the marriage ceremony where the ceremony would be against the person’s religious beliefs or the principles of their religion.

  3. Human rights and creed research and consultation report

    2013 - The primary aim of this paper is to report on OHRC research and consultation findings and analysis to date on key creed-based human rights issues, options and debates. We hope that this will add further transparency to our creed policy update process, and help to increase general public awareness of creed-based human rights issues. Another goal is to develop a stronger contextual framework for understanding and addressing contemporary creed-based human rights issues.

  4. Human rights and creed: emerging issues (backgrounder)

    September 2013 - The OHRC is currently updating its 1996 Policy on creed. The goal is to clarify the OHRC’s interpretation of human rights based on creed under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) and advance human rights understanding and good practice in this area. The update, which began in 2011, will take two to three years to finish. It will involve extensive research and consultation, and will draw on lessons learned from the OHRC’s recent work on the Policy on competing human rights.

  5. Commission intervenes in court case involving a Muslim woman's right to testify wearing her niqab (face covering)

    The central issue in this appeal is the apparent conflict between the intersecting religious and equality rights of a witness and the fair trial rights of the accused in the context of a criminal proceeding. The OHRC’s submissions set out a process, based in existing case law, to analyze and reconcile potentially competing rights. The proposed process can apply, with appropriate modifications, to any competing rights claims whether they arise under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter), human rights legislation, the common law or otherwise.

  6. Creed, freedom of religion and human rights - Special issue of Diversity Magazine - Volume 9:3 Summer 2012

    The articles presented here offer many insights on human rights, creed, freedom of religion and the law, and take many different positions based on many different perspectives. These articles serve as a starting point as we move forward to craft a new creed policy that reflects the changing needs and realities of today’s Ontarians.

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