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.
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.
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.
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.
October 14, 1999 - Insurance practices routinely make distinctions based on, among other things, gender, age, marital status and disability. While many of these distinctions are based on valid business practices, others raise questions and concerns. These concerns relate to the existence of non-discriminatory alternatives to current practices and about respect for human rights.
2012 - The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination based on various grounds. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario, in employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or vocational associations. The Code protects you from discrimination in these areas based on your family status.
Recreational clubs such as sports clubs may give different services or charge different fees to persons based on sex, marital status or family status. For example, special family rates in a community centre or women-only sections of a gym are permitted under the Code.