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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 policies: 

  1. RE: University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy ­raises human rights concerns

    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.

  2. With learning in mind

    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.

  3. Letter to Ministers re: accessible education for students with disabilities

    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.

  4. Questions and answers on cannabis and the Human Rights Code

    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.

  5. Letter to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services re: Findings from Tour of Vanier Centre for Women

    January 7, 2019 - As part of the OHRC monitoring of the settlement in the Jahn matter, we visited the Vanier Centre for Women (“Vanier”) in Milton, Ontario. I am writing today to provide you with a summary of what we learned on our December 4, 2018 visit.

  6. Discussion paper: Human rights issues in insurance

    October 1999 - The objective of the Paper is twofold: to promote dialogue on protecting human rights in the insurance industry and to examine alternatives to current practices by obtaining input from experts, regulators and consumers. Access to insurance in our society raises significant issues about distributive justice and fairness in the public sphere, issues that have received scant attention in Canada and in Ontario where rate setting has traditionally been viewed as a private matter.
  7. Human rights commissions and economic and social rights

    2001 - This paper is one of several initiatives by the Ontario Human Rights Commission to explore ways in which human rights commissions can become more involved in protecting and promoting economic and social rights and in implementing international treaties to which Canada is a party. The challenge for human rights commissions is to find ways to maximize the potential of their mandates to promote international standards, including those contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  8. Consultation report: Human rights and public transit services in Ontario

    March 2002 - This Report is based on the many and varying viewpoints presented to the OHRC in the course of its public consultation on accessible public transportation in Ontario. Conventional and paratransit systems are examined in depth, in terms of the human rights principles that apply, the issues raised, and the impact on older persons, persons with disabilities, and families with young children. Three key issues raised throughout the consultation were funding, standards, and roles and responsibilities. These issues are examined in depth.
  9. The opportunity to succeed: Achieving barrier-free education for students with disabilities

    2003 - The Report provides an in-depth picture of human rights issues relating to disability and education in the province of Ontario. It outlines “Actions Required” of key players in the education system to address the practices and attitudes that limit the ability of students with disabilities to access education equally. It also includes specific Commission commitments which are steps that the Commission will take to help combat discrimination against students with disabilities. The Commission’s analysis and recommendations are informed by the comprehensive input received from stakeholders throughout the course of the consultation.
  10. The Ontario Safe Schools Act: School discipline and discrimination

    July 2003 - The main purpose of this report is to examine whether the Ontario Safe Schools Act and Regulations and the school board policies on discipline, known by some as “zero tolerance” policies, are having a disproportionate impact on racial minority students and students with disabilities. Advocates of zero tolerance argue that the policies are colour blind and fair because all the students who commit the same offence will be treated the same. Opponents point to other jurisdictions where there is data showing that suspensions and expulsions have a disproportionate impact on Black and other racial minority students and students with disabilities.

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