2007 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission has interpreted the ground of family status as protecting a range of families and familial relationships from discrimination. It protects parents from being discriminated against because they have children; it also protects adult children who experience discrimination because they are caring for their aging parents. It protects non-biological parent and child relationships, such as those formed through adoption, fostering, and step-parenting, as well as lone parent families, and those headed by LGBT persons.
Family and marital status
The Code includes two grounds that provide protections for persons in relationships: marital status and family status. “Marital status” is defined in section 10 of the Code as “the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside marriage”, including both same-sex and opposite sex relationships.
“Family status” is defined as “the status of being in a parent and child relationship.” This can also mean a parent and child “type” of relationship, embracing a range of circumstances without blood or adoptive ties but with similar relationships of care, responsibility and commitment.
The grounds of marital and family status intersect to cover a range of family forms, including lone parent and blended families, as well as families where the parents are in a ‘common law’ relationship.
2007 - Although the Ontario Human Rights Code has prohibited discrimination on the basis of family status since 1982, this ground of discrimination has been little understood. Employers, service providers, landlords, advocates, and the general public are largely unaware of the Code protections related to family status, or of the issues and barriers related to this ground of discrimination.
June 2006 - Over the past ten years, the Commission has been involved in 72 judicial review decisions, 32 decisions on appeal at the Divisional Court, 40 decisions from the Court of Appeal, and 17 from the Supreme Court of Canada. As of March 31, 2006, the Commission was litigating 462 cases at the Tribunal, eight cases before the Divisional Court, three in the Ontario Court of Appeal, and two before the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Code says every person has the right to be free from unwelcome advances or solicitation in employment. “Employment” includes applying and interviewing for a job, volunteer work, internships, etc. It also includes activities or events that happen outside of normal business hours or off business premises, but are linked to the workplace and employment.
2007 - The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits housing providers from discriminating against families with children. This applies to renting, being evicted, building rules and regulations, repairs, and use of services and facilities.
2007 - Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, persons in a parent-child relationship have a right to equal treatment in the workplace. This means that employers cannot discriminate in hiring, promotion, training, benefits, workplace conditions, or termination of employment because a person is caring for a child or parent.