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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. E(RACE)r Summit on Race and Racism on Canadian University Campuses

    March 21, 2016 - Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane addressed attendees at the inaugural e(RACE)r Summit on Race and Racism on Canadian University Campuses, hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Diversity and Equity Office and the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, on the United Nations (UN) Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Read her speech.

  2. Eliminating discrimination to advance the human rights of women and transgender people

    From: OHRC policy position on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes

    March 8, 2016 - Through its public education, policy development, outreach and litigation functions, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) continues to work with community partners to challenge gender inequality and promote and advance the human rights of women and trans people in Ontario. Here is some of the work the OHRC has done in the past year:  

  3. Submission of the OHRC to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Provincial Segregation Review

    February 29, 2016 - The OHRC is concerned that segregation is being used in a manner that violates prisoners’ rights under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. As a result, the OHRC is calling upon MCSCS to end this practice and, in the meantime implement interim measures, including strict time limits and external oversight, to reduce the harm of segregation on vulnerable prisoners.

  4. Public lecture focuses on new ways to stamp out racial profiling

    Tuesday February 16, 2016 - York University’s School of Public Policy & Administration, Institute for Social Research, and Centre for Human Rights and the Ontario Human Rights Commission invite you to attend a public lecture to look at new ways to stamp out racial profiling. Keynote speaker and renowned journalist Haroon Siddiqui will talk about existing and emerging forms of racial profiling, and a panel will offer a variety of perspectives.

  5. OHRC submission to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on street checks

    The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Draft Regulation on street checks of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (Ministry). We are pleased to have the support of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) on this important issue.

  6. OHRC Comment regarding Canada’s upcoming 21st and 22nd Reports to the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination

    July 16, 2015 - Canada's combined 21st and 22nd periodic Reports on the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) are due for submission in November 2015 to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The OHRC provides periodic input to government and to UN human rights treaty bodies regarding Canada’s reporting obligations.

  7. Policy on discrimination and language

    June 1996 - This policy statement sets out the OHRC’s position on language-based discrimination in the areas of employment, accommodation, services, contracts, and membership in trade unions, trades, occupational associations or self-governing professions. Although the Code does not explicitly identify "language" as a prohibited ground of discrimination, the Human Rights tribunal of Ontario may consider claims under a number of related grounds, such as ancestry, ethnic origin, place of origin and in some circumstances, race. In the Commission's experience, language can be an element of a complaint based on any of these grounds.

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