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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. Racial harassment and poisoned environments (fact sheet)

    2005 - All Ontarians have the right to be free from harassment in the workplace or in housing accommodation because of, among other things, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship and creed. While the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) doesn’t explicitly prohibit harassment in the areas of services, goods and facilities, contracts or membership in trade and vocational associations, the Commission will treat racial harassment in such situations as a form of discrimination and therefore a breach of the Code.

  2. Racism and racial discrimination: Systemic discrimination (fact sheet)

    2005 - Racial discrimination can result from individual behaviour as well as because of the unintended and often unconscious consequences of a discriminatory system. This is known as systemic discrimination. Systemic discrimination can be described as patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the structures of an organization, and which create or perpetuate disadvantage for racialized persons.

  3. Racism and racial discrimination: Organizational responsibility

    2005 - Employers, unions, educational facilities, service providers and other organizations covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) are responsible for ensuring that their environments are free from racial discrimination and harassment. This means not just responding when issues of discrimination or harassment arise, but also taking proactive measures to monitor for and prevent their occurrence.
  4. What is racial profiling? (fact sheet)

    2003 - For the purposes of its inquiry, the Commission’s definition for "racial profiling" is any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection, that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin, or a combination of these, rather than on a reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment.

  5. Phipps v. Toronto Police Services Board

    The OHRC intervened at the Tribunal in a complaint by Ron Phipps – a case which raised some tough issues. The Tribunal ruled Phipps had been subjected to racial profiling in 2005 by a Toronto police officer. The officer stopped Phipps when he was delivering mail in an affluent Toronto neighbourhood, checked with a homeowner Phipps spoke to, trailed him and checked his identity with a White letter carrier.
  6. Re: Coach who protested racial slur suspended until April (16/12/10)

    December 17, 2010 - Racial slurs and other name-calling because of one’s personal characteristics such as disability, sex or sexual orientation is wrong. The Ontario Human Rights Code makes that clear. It’s also clear that sports organizations and their governing bodies in Ontario must follow provincial human rights legislation. They should be prohibiting and not sanctioning such conduct.
  7. Human Rights settlement reached with Ministry of Education on Safe Schools - Terms of settlement

    WHEREAS on July 7, 2005, the OHRC initiated a complaint, number GKEA-6DUH6W, pursuant to subsection 32(2) of the Human Rights Code in the public interest and on behalf of racialized students and students with disabilities alleging that the application of the safe schools provisions of the Education Act and the Ministry’s and school boards’ policies on discipline are having a disproportionate impact on racial minority students and students with disabilities. NOW THEREFORE, the Parties agree to settle these matters as follows:

  8. Backgrounder - Commission settles complaints with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

    October 2005 - The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (the “Board’) agrees that, when teachers or school administrators are alleged to have made inappropriate remark(s) toward a student regarding that student's race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, or disability, or other grounds as protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code , or to have purposefully failed to appropriately accommodate the needs of disabled students, the Board shall investigate the allegations and implement measures, where appropriate, to ensure accountability. Such measures shall include, in appropriate circumstances, discipline up to and including termination.

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