March 2017 - Education providers are responsible for many things, including delivering a curriculum, managing the various other aspects of educational services, ensuring student safety, fostering pluralistic environments that respect human rights, and managing tension and conflict as they arise in the school setting. Schools ought to be a place for healthy discussions about acceptance and where a diversity of views can co-exist. Educators should communicate messages about difference in a fair and respectful manner and be sensitive to the views of everyone protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Students, staff and parents should realize that they cannot reasonably expect their own views and beliefs to be respected if they are not willing to respect the views and beliefs of others.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, discrimination because of creed 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 creed.
The Code does not define creed, but the courts and tribunals have often referred to religious beliefs and practices. Creed may also include non-religious belief systems that, like religion, substantially influence a person’s identity, worldview and way of life. People who follow a creed, and people who do not, have the right to live in a society that respects pluralism and human rights and the right to follow different creeds.
Employers have a duty to accommodate an employee’s creed to the point of undue hardship, including by providing time off for religious holidays.
October 26, 2007 - The values embodied in human rights laws hold a special place in the minds of Canadians. Canadians believe that tolerance, mutual respect, and diversity are fundamental to the nature and success of this country. Looking at some of the recent debate in Ontario around religious school funding, and the ongoing consultation in Quebec on reasonable accommodation, I believe that this is a time to remember and promote those values. It is certainly not time to turn away from them.