Since disability was added to the Human Rights Code in 1981, it has become the ground most often cited in human rights complaints in Ontario. The OHRC has done much work in this area, but primarily on physical disability. In the past, there were few official complaints based on mental health, but we knew that they were out there. Now, as mental health issues emerge from the shadows and people feel more empowered to tell their stories, we’ve worked to better understand the discrimination that mental illness creates.
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)
2000 - The Ontario Human Rights 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. Education providers have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. Students with disabilities are not always being provided with appropriate accommodation, and, in some cases, are falling victim to disputes between the various parties responsible for accommodation. The accommodation process is a shared responsibility.
2000 - Once a disability-related need has been identified, or a case of discrimination has been established, education providers have a duty to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. Accommodation is a means of preventing and removing barriers that impede students with disabilities from participating fully in the educational environment. Accommodation involves three principles: dignity, individualization and inclusion.
2000 - Under the Code, persons with disabilities have the right to full integration and participation in society. They should be able to access services, employment, and housing, and face the same duties and responsibilities as everyone else.
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. All of these concepts are interrelated.
4.1 Mental health disability
It is an unfortunate truth that the history of disabled persons in Canada is largely one of exclusion and marginalization.
April 2008 - In October 2007, in response to recent developments and ongoing concerns in the area of transit accessibility, the Commission began an inquiry into whether transit providers across the province announce transit stops. Through this initiative, the Commission hoped to improve awareness in the transit sector of the importance of announcing all stops for the purposes of inclusion and accessibility, and to secure commitments toward quickly developing and implementing stop announcement plans.