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.
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 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)
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.
November 11, 2015 - the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) filed an Application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) alleging discrimination in employment based on disability because of the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) failure to include on its Memorial Wall officers who end their lives as a result of a mental health disability incurred in the line of duty. On April 18, 2017 a settlement was reached with the following terms...
February 28, 2017 - Dear Minister Lalonde, I am writing today to provide you with a summary of what we learned. There are some issues that appear unique to the Kenora Jail that raise human rights concerns and warrant further consideration and action on the part of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). I look forward to discussing these issues further at our upcoming meeting scheduled for early March.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code), employers, unions, housing providers and service providers have a legal duty to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities who are adversely affected by a requirement, rule or standard at work, at school, in housing, or any of the other “social areas” covered by the Code.
The applicant, Ian Cole, is a middle-aged man with a severe intellectual disability who lives in the community. To live in the community, Mr. Cole depends on the receipt of nursing services. The primary source of funding for the nursing services is his local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). The maximum funding for nursing services is set out in a regulation made under the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994. At the time the application was filed, funding was available for nursing services to a maximum of four visits per day.
- Why isn’t it an obvious violation of human rights to do mandatory collection of an employee’s fluids or breath that could reveal a disability?
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.
Supplementary Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ Provincial Segregation Review
It is an unfortunate truth that the history of disabled persons in Canada is largely one of exclusion and marginalization.