The Commission intervened in Sarnia (City) v. River City Vineyard, an appeal heard by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in October 2014.
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.
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:
May 2012 - What follows is a discussion of significant legal decisions dealing with religious and creed rights in Canada. The focus is on decisions made since the Commission issued its 1996 Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of religious observances. It does not review every decision, but those that may be important from a human rights perspective. In addition to a description of the case law, trends and areas where it is anticipated the case law will continue to evolve or be clarified are identified. The review will form the basis for further research and dialogue concerning the law in Canada as it relates to this significant area of human rights.
2015 - The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody the right to be free from discrimination in five parts of society – called social areas – based on one or more grounds. The five social areas are: employment, housing, services and facilities (such as education, health care, police, government, shops or restaurants), unions and vocational associations, and contracts or agreements.
2012 - Racial harassment may be based on a combination of any of the above characteristics. It may also be because of things related to them, such as if you wear clothing related to your background, speak with an accent or practice a certain religion. It is against the law for anyone to harass you, insult you, or treat you unfairly for any of these reasons.
The OHRC sought leave to intervene in an appeal of the Federal Court’s decision to strike down a policy banning citizenship candidates from wearing face coverings during the citizenship oath.
This document explains the legal backdrop for the Commission’s Policy Framework. It is divided into two main sections. The first provides an overview and summary of key legal principles from some significant legal decisions. This section aims to help readers understand the relevant legal background when seeking to conciliate or otherwise reconcile competing rights claims. The second part of the document surveys the leading cases that deal with competing rights. It also provides examples of situations where the leading cases, and the key principles from them, have been applied by courts and tribunals. It is divided by the types of rights conflicts that most commonly arise. The cases are discussed in some detail as the specific factual context of each case is so important to the rights reconciliation process.