It is an unfortunate truth that the history of disabled persons in Canada is largely one of exclusion and marginalization.
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)
4.1 Mental health disability
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.
Moving forward with transit
In 2011, the OHRC reached settlements with the cities of Hamilton, Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay in three transit-based cases at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. We filed the complaints in 2009 to increase accessibility for riders with vision disabilities by ensuring the transit services called out all transit stops.
The Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) represents much of the life and disability insurance industry in Canada. CLHIA states that it has always believed that it is important to clarify the implications of human rights legislation for insurance practices and to create awareness of these issues.
All Ontarians should enjoy the rights to inclusion, dignity and personal choices in their daily lives. While most of us take the ability to make these choices for granted, there are still some people who do not enjoy the level of rights that most of us do. Simple rights like being able to decide what clothing to wear or what to have for lunch are often not available to some of the most vulnerable members of our society – people with developmental disabilities. An initiative is underway to change this.
Moving forward on mental health
March 2004 - This submission is in response to the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s public consultation on strengthening the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA).The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) commends the Ministry for this initiative to make the ODA stronger and more effective. We believe that a strong ODA can lead to significant improvements in the lives of Ontarians with disabilities.