I am writing today to outline the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s concerns regarding the University of Toronto’s proposed University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy which is being considered by the University Affairs Board tomorrow (January 30, 2018). The OHRC is concerned that the treatment of students contemplated in the Policy may result in discrimination on the basis of mental health disability contrary to the Human Rights Code.
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.
- Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities (2018)
- Policy on drug and alcohol testing (2016)
- Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability (2016)
- Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions (2014)
- Policy on environmental sensitivities (Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2014)
In 2016, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) wrote to public colleges and universities in Ontario asking them to implement six specific measures to reduce systemic barriers to post-secondary education for students with mental health disabilities. This report describes the systemic barriers identified by the OHRC, the modifications to post-secondary institutions’ policies and procedures requested by the OHRC, and the institutions’ self-reported progress in implementing the requested changes.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recognizes that it is a legitimate goal for employers to have a safe workplace. Safety at work can be negatively affected by many factors, including fatigue, stress, distractions and hazards in the workplace. Drug and alcohol testing is one method employers sometimes use to address safety concerns arising from drug and alcohol use. Drug and alcohol testing has particular human rights implications for people with addictions. Addictions to drugs or alcohol are considered “disabilities” under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code). The Code prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and perceived disabilities in employment, services, housing and other social areas.
August 24, 2018 - I am writing today to provide you with a confidential copy of the executive summary and recommendations for the OHRC's Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities. The new policy reflects case law developments, international human rights standards and evolving social science research, and also includes recommendations to key actors in the sector.
The Ontario Human Rights Code recognizes the importance of creating a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person, so that each person can contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province. The Code guarantees the right to equal treatment in education, without discrimination on the ground of disability, as part of the protection for equal treatment in services.
This Policy replaces the Guidelines on accessible education (2004).
August 21, 2018 - I am writing today to provide you with an advance copy of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities. The new policy reflects case law developments, international human rights standards and evolving social science research, and also includes recommendations to key actors in the sector.
September 2018 - Ontario’s Human Rights Code and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policies apply to cannabis in the same way they do for other drugs. The Code protects people who use cannabis for a medical purpose related to a disability from discriminatory treatment in employment, housing, services and other areas. The Code also prohibits discrimination against people who have or are perceived to have an addiction to cannabis based on the ground of disability.
September 2018 - Cannabis or “marijuana” laws are changing in Canada. It will now be legal for people age 19 or older in Ontario to buy, possess, use and grow recreational cannabis. Provincial laws generally permit cannabis use wherever laws permit tobacco use. Cannabis use for a medical purpose (medical cannabis) continues to be legal.
Employers and employees, housing providers and residents, and other organizations and individuals are asking about the implications under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
October 29, 2018 - Join us to learn more about protections for students with disabilities under Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and about the role of decision-makers, educators and parents in making sure every student gets the education they need to succeed.
November 1, 2018 - Join us to learn more about protections for students with disabilities under Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and about the role of decision-makers, educators and parents in making sure every student gets the education they need to succeed.