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.
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)
June 1996 - The guidelines contained in this policy are intended to help applicants, employees and employers to understand their rights and responsibilities regarding employment-related medical information.
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.
September 2000 - Drug and alcohol testing are of particular concern in the workplace, notably for those Ontario employers that have safety sensitive operations, and/or that are subject to U.S. regulatory requirements (e.g. the trucking industry) or to the policies of U.S. affiliates with “zero tolerance” for the consumption of drugs or alcohol. For this reason, this Policy focuses on the workplace. However, it applies to other social areas as well.
May 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission has reviewed the initial proposed Employment Accessibility Standard prepared by the Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee pursuant to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The Commission would like to raise the following issues for consideration by the Committee as it deliberates and prepares to submit to government a final proposed standard following the public consultation period.
August 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission, (the “Commission”) commends the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (“Ministry”) for its work on an improved strategy to meet the needs of Ontarians with mental illnesses and addictions. The Commission is pleased to provide its input on this discussion paper, particularly with respect to the sections on Stigma and Healthy Communities.
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario and applies to the areas of employment, housing, goods, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations. In Ontario, the law protects you from discrimination and harassment in these areas because of mental health disabilities and addictions. This includes past, present and perceived conditions.
Year of decision: 2010
In a decision on June 16, 2010, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the Toronto Police Services Board discriminated against a new recruit, Ariyeh Krieger, by not accommodating his mental disability to the point of undue hardship.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) welcomes the opportunity to provide input into the independent mandatory review of the Accessibility for Ontarian’s with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). The OHRC has a long history of engaging its broad mandate promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, including providing advice to government dating back to 1998 on the development of successive pieces accessibility legislation as well as more recent submissions on standards being developed under the AODA.
May 22, 2009 - The Commission recognizes the hard work of the Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee in preparing the initial proposed Standard that sets out important requirements to help workplaces become fully accessible for applicants and employees with disabilities. The Commission’s submission details a number of issues for consideration by the Committee as it works to develop the final proposed standard.