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Disability

The Code protects people from discrimination and harassment because of past, present and perceived disabilities.  “Disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not visible. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time.

There are physical, mental and learning disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy, mental health disabilities and addictions, environmental sensitivities, and other conditions. 

Relevant policy: 

  1. MacConnell v. Ontario (Community and Social Services) Special Diets case – judicial review allowed

    September 2014 - The Divisional Court has allowed an application for judicial review, heard on September 16, brought by the applicants and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), of a decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) denying special diet benefits to Joanne MacConnell.

  2. Submission of the OHRC to the Ombudsman’s Investigation into the direction provided to police by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for de-escalating conflict situations

    July 2014 - People with mental health disabilities are often among the most vulnerable people in Ontario. Many face a unique set of challenges where they live, in workplaces, or in our communities. When people are in crisis they also present a unique set of challenges to police services when considering the use of force. This leads to many concerns from a human rights perspective. It is not the role of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to comment on individual cases – we leave it to other experts to resolve these. But it is our role to look at common themes and concerns, and offer ways to move forward.

  3. OHRC submission regarding Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2013-2014 Legislative review

    June 2014 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is making this submission to the second independent legislative review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). In accordance with its mandate under section 29 (c) of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the OHRC speaks out and makes recommendations designed to prevent and eliminate discriminatory practices including barriers faced by persons with disabilities. Disability is consistently the most frequent ground of discrimination cited in over 50% of applications to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

  4. Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions

    June 2014 - The OHRC’s Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions is intended to provide clear, user-friendly guidance on how to assess, handle and resolve human rights matters related to mental health and/or addictions. All of society benefits when people with mental health or addiction disabilities are given equal opportunity to take part at all levels.

  5. Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions - Summary (fact sheet)

    June 2014 - People with mental health issues and addictions are a diverse group, and experience disability, impairment and societal barriers in many different ways. Disabilities are often “invisible” and episodic, with people sometimes experiencing periods of wellness and periods of disability. All people with disabilities have the same rights to equal opportunities under the Code, whether their disabilities are visible or not.

  6. Discrimination based on mental health or addiction disabilities - Information for service providers (fact sheet)

    June 2014 - Discrimination in services may happen when a person experiences negative treatment or impact because of their mental health or addiction disability. Discrimination does not have to be intentional. And, a person’s mental health or addiction disability needs to be only one factor in the treatment they received to be able to show that discrimination took place. People with a mental health or addiction disability who also identify with other Code grounds (such as sex, race or age) may be distinctly disadvantaged when they try to access a service. Stereotypes may exist that are based on combinations of these identities that place people at unique disadvantage.

  7. Discrimination based on mental health or addiction disabilities - Information for housing providers (fact sheet)

    June 2014 - People with addictions have the same right to be free from discrimination as other people with disabilities. There is often a cross-over between addictions and mental health disabilities, and many people experience both. The Code also protects people from discrimination because of past and perceived disabilities. People with a mental health or addiction disability who also identify with other Code grounds (such as sex, race or age) may be distinctly disadvantaged when they try to find or keep housing. Stereotypes may exist that are based on combinations of these identities that place people at unique disadvantage.

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