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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. Report of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on police use of force and mental health

    February 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.

  2. Forms of discrimination based on mental health or addiction disabilities (fact sheet)

    June 2014 - Discrimination against people with mental health or addiction disabilities is often linked to prejudicial attitudes, negative stereotyping and the overall stigma surrounding these disabilities. Discrimination in employment, housing or services may happen when a person experiences negative treatment or impact because of a mental health or addiction disability. The Code also protects people from discrimination because of past and perceived disabilities.

  3. Inclusive design and the duty to accommodate (fact sheet)

    June 2014 - People with mental health disabilities or addictions face many kinds of barriers every day. These could be attitude, communication, physical or systemic barriers. Organizations should identity and remove barriers voluntarily instead of waiting to respond to individual accommodation requests or complaints. Effective inclusive design reduces the need for people to ask for individual accommodation. Organizations, including government, should use the principles of inclusive design when creating policies, programs, procedures, standards, requirements and facilities.

  4. Mental health profiling (fact sheet)

    June 2014 - Mental health profiling is any action taken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about a person’s mental health or addiction instead of on reasonable grounds, to single out a person for greater scrutiny or different treatment. A “stereotype” is a generalization about a person based on assumptions about qualities and characteristics of the group they belong to.

  5. 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.

  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. 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.

  8. By the Numbers: A statistical profile of people with mental health and addiction disabilities in Ontario

    October 2015 - This report highlights the unique disadvantages that people with mental health and addiction disabilities experience in different social and economic areas. Showing these disadvantages can help policy makers, government, researchers, disability groups and service providers in their work to protect the human rights of people with disabilities, including people with mental health or addiction disabilities. The OHRC hopes that this report will be used as a tool to promote change to close these gaps.

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