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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. Backgrounder: Settlement with respect to the exhibition of movies with closed captioning

    2007 - Three complainants filed complaints against various film exhibitors and distributors regarding accessibility of movies to the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing community which were referred by the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The complainants and the exhibitor parties (the “Exhibitors”) have agreed to a settlement which includes an incremental increase in the number of theatre complexes with the capability to exhibit movies with closed captioning.

  2. Discussion paper: Accessible transit services in Ontario

    January 2001 - Access to public transportation services is a human rights issue. Transportation is fundamental to the capacity of most persons to function in society. Transit services facilitate integration into public and social life in our communities, as well as allow people to access work, and basic goods, services and facilities. However, certain persons who are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code face significant barriers in using transit services. While the issue of transit accessibility is most often discussed in the context of persons with disabilities, it also impacts on others, such as older persons and families with young children.

  3. Consultation paper: Education and disability - Human Rights issues in Ontario's education system

    2006 - Education is central to the life of an individual in the community. It provides opportunities for personal, social, and academic growth and development. It sets the stage for later life experiences, most especially in employment. It is also an important venue for integration into the life of the community.

  4. Backgrounder - Human rights and public transit

    2002 - Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every citizen of Ontario has a right to equal treatment in receiving public services, which include public transit services.Transit providers have a legal responsibility to ensure that transit systems are accessible to all Ontarians. For many, access to public transit is a necessity - in order to obtain an education, find and keep a job, or use basic public services like health care.

  5. Backgrounder - Restaurant accessibility and the Ontario Building Code

    July 2006 - The Ontario Human Rights Code creates a right to barrier-free restaurants, shops, hotels, movie theatres and other public places, and obliges businesses operating in Ontario to make their facilities accessible. A failure to provide equal access to a facility or equal treatment in a service constitutes a violation of the Human Rights Code. The only available defence to such discrimination is showing that providing access or services would constitute undue hardship having regard to cost, outside sources of funding, or health and safety factors.

  6. Submission to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on land use planning and appeal system review

    January 2014 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has used a range of its functions to reduce and eliminate discrimination relating to land use planning. However, to meet Ministry goals and be consistent with Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the land use planning and appeal system needs to incorporate a human rights lens and provide human rights-related information, education and resources to those who implement and use the system. Planners and decision-makers throughout the system and in municipalities will benefit from clear guidance from the Province.

  7. 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.

  8. Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Independent Review of the use of lethal force by the Toronto Police Service

    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.

  9. 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.

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