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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. Under suspicion: Research and consultation report on racial profiling in Ontario

    May 3, 2017 - During the consultation, we heard many perspectives and experiences. We heard concerns about racialized and Indigenous peoples being subjected to unwarranted surveillance, investigation and other forms of scrutiny, punitive actions and heavy-handed treatment. We also tried to explore other, less well-understood forms of racial profiling, which may be systemic in nature. This report presents what we learned about institutional policies, practices, prediction and assessment tools, and decision-making processes, which may seem neutral but may nonetheless amount to systemic racial profiling. 

  2. The Ontario Safe Schools Act: School discipline and discrimination

    July 2003 - The main purpose of this report is to examine whether the Ontario Safe Schools Act and Regulations and the school board policies on discipline, known by some as “zero tolerance” policies, are having a disproportionate impact on racial minority students and students with disabilities. Advocates of zero tolerance argue that the policies are colour blind and fair because all the students who commit the same offence will be treated the same. Opponents point to other jurisdictions where there is data showing that suspensions and expulsions have a disproportionate impact on Black and other racial minority students and students with disabilities.
  3. Report of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on police use of force and mental health

    February 2014 - People with mental health disabilities are often among the most vulnerable people in Ontario. Many face a unique set of challenges where they live, in workplaces, or in our communities. When people are in crisis they also present a unique set of challenges to police services when considering the use of force. This leads to many concerns from a human rights perspective. It is not the role of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to comment on individual cases – we leave it to other experts to resolve these. But it is our role to look at common themes and concerns, and offer ways to move forward.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Re: Dafonte Miller and Implementation of Justice Tulloch’s Recommendations

    August 15, 2017 - Dear Minister Naqvi, Directors McNeilly and Loparco, and Chair Lamoureux: We, the undersigned, urge the Government of Ontario, the Special Investigations Unit (“SIU”), the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (“OIPRD”), and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (“OCPC”), to immediately and transparently implement recommendations made by the Honourable Justice Michael Tulloch in his Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review submitted to the Ministry of the Attorney General in March 2017.

  7. 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.
  8. Preliminary findings: Inquiry into assaults on Asian Canadian Anglers

    December 2007 - During the summer and fall of 2007, there were reports of a series of incidents across southern and central Ontario in which Asian Canadian anglers were physically or verbally assaulted. Racial slurs were associated with a number of these incidents. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) was gravely concerned by these reports.
  9. Police reform and oversight - Safer Ontario Act, 2018

    August 29, 2018 - We understand the government is conducting a review of the Safer Ontario Act, 2018 and is consulting experts, police services and the public. We are writing today to provide the OHRC's submissions on policing and police oversight to inform the government’s ongoing review. We encourage the government to implement the Safer Ontario Act and strengthen Regulation 58/16 related to “street checks” or “carding.”

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