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Creed

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.

Relevant policies: 

  1. Policy on creed and the accommodation of religious observances

    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.
  2. The shadow of the law: Surveying the case law dealing with competing rights claims

    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.

  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. Creed case law review

    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.

  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. Policy on preventing discrimination based on creed

    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.

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