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Race and related grounds

Under the Code, every person has the right to be free from racial discrimination and harassment in the social areas of employment, services, goods, facilities, housing accommodation, contracts and membership in trade and vocational associations. You should not be treated differently because of your race or other related grounds, such as your ancestry, ethnicity, religion or place of origin. 

Canada, its provinces and territories have strong human rights laws and systems in place to address discrimination. At the same time, we also have a legacy of racism – particularly towards Indigenous persons, but to other groups as well including African, Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Jewish and Muslim Canadians – a legacy that profoundly permeates our systems and structures to this day, affecting the lives of not only racialized persons, but also all people in Canada.

Relevant policies: 

  1. Re: Requiring public sector organizations to collect race-based data

    September 20, 2017 - Dear Minister Coteau, I hope this letter finds you well. I am pleased that the Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) has been actively consulting with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on developing race-based data standards and guidelines. I am writing today to call on the government to build on this important work by requiring select public sector organizations to collect and analyze race-based data, especially in key sectors such as health care, corrections, law enforcement, education, and child welfare.

  2. Re: Plan of Action to Prevent Racial Profiling

    September 15, 2017 - Dear Chair El-Chantiry and Chief Bordeleau, Today, I am writing to request an update on the OPS’s response to the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project (TSRDCP) report dated October 2016. In particular, please let us know by reply letter what steps the OPS has undertaken to combat racial profiling since the TSRDCP report was released, including any further analysis that the OPS has undertaken at an operational level, specific changes to OPS’ policies and procedures, and any internal or external analysis of the data collected since the TSRDCP report was released.

  3. Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier – A guide for employers and regulatory bodies

    July 2013 - When an employer requires people applying for jobs to have “Canadian experience,” or where a regulatory body requires “Canadian experience” before someone can get accredited, they may create barriers for newcomers to Canada. Requiring “Canadian experience” could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), which protects people from discrimination based on grounds such as race, ancestry, colour, place of origin and ethnic origin.

  4. Talking about Canadian experience (fact sheet)

    July 2013 - In October 2012, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) hosted an online survey to learn more about the experiences of both job seekers and employers in dealing with requirements for Canadian experience. The survey was not about statistics – it was about giving people an opportunity to talk about the barriers they faced, and in the case of employers, the reasons for keeping or removing requirements for Canadian experience. We included many of stories and comments we heard in our new Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier. The following sections highlight some of the recurring themes we heard, and some of the more poignant stories of people facing discrimination because they did not have Canadian experience.

  5. Policy on Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier

    July 2013 - While the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recognizes the significance of all of the barriers newcomers potentially face when trying to access the job market, this policy will focus on “Canadian experience” as an employment or accreditation requirement, and as a practice that raises human rights concerns. The OHRC’s position is that a strict requirement for “Canadian experience” is prima facie discrimination (discrimination on its face) and can only be used in very limited circumstances. The onus will be on employers and regulatory bodies to show that a requirement for prior work experience in Canada is a bona fide requirement, based on the legal test this policy sets out.

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