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.
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.
This policy is a complete revision and update of the OHRC’s original Policy on creed and the accommodation of religious observances first published in 1996. It sets out the OHRC’s position on creed and accommodating observances related to a person's creed. The policy offers Ontario citizens and organizations ways to address and prevent discrimination and conflict based on creed in an informed, proactive and principled way.
What protection does the Ontario Human Rights Code offer?
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. It provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. Indigenous peoples, including status, non-status, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, are included in these protections.
The Code prohibits discrimination and harassment based on 17 personal attributes – called grounds. Creed is one of the protected grounds.
Before you receive an accommodation request
Minimize the need for accommodation up front by inclusively designing policies, rules, procedures, practices and spaces with everyone in mind (including people of diverse creed faiths).
Create an open, inclusive and safe environment free of discrimination and harassment so that people feel safe and welcome to express or observe their creed and ask for creed-related accommodations, without fear of reprisal or stigma. For example, you could:
March 8, 2016 - Some Ontario employers require female employees to dress in a sexualized or gender-specific way at work, such as expecting women to wear high heels, short skirts, tight clothing or low-cut tops. These kinds of dress codes reinforce stereotypical and sexist notions about how women should look and may violate Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
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.
What is racial profiling?
Racial profiling is a specific type of racial discrimination that pertains to safety and security. The OHRC currently defines racial profiling as:
[A]ny action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment.
This policy statement is based on the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) Policy on language and discrimination. The statement explains the relationship between the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code), language-based discrimination and French-language minority rights under other laws.
October 1996 - Creed is a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Code. Every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods, facilities, employment, the occupancy of accommodation, the right to enter into contracts and the right to join trade unions or other vocational associations, without discrimination because of creed. These policy guidelines set out the position of the OHRC with respect to creed and the accommodation of religious observances related to a person's creed.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Ministry of Education have finalized a settlement of a human rights complaint initiated by the Commission against the Ministry and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in July 2005. A settlement was reached separately with the TDSB in November 2005.