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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. Submission regarding Bill 89, Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017

    April 3, 2017 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the introduction of Bill 89, Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017. The Bill responds to human rights concerns raised by the OHRC about various aspects of Ontario’s child welfare system,[1] including the overrepresentation of Indigenous and racialized children and youth in Ontario’s child welfare system.

  2. Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Independent Review of the use of lethal force by the Toronto Police Service

    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.

  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. 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.

  5. Racial discrimination (brochure)

    2012 - The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. It applies to the areas of employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or vocational associations. Under the Code, every person has the right to be free from racial discrimination and harassment.

  6. 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.

  7. Policy on height and weight requirements

    June 1996 - Standards for height and weight are sometimes used to screen or evaluate job applicants. In the OHRC's experience, this tends to occur in recruitment for occupations that traditionally have been male dominated. These standards or selection criteria are based on the average physical stature of men in the majority population group. Women and members of racialized groups are, on the average, physically smaller than members of the majority population group. Consequently, these groups tend to be disadvantaged by height and weight criteria. The policy of the OHRC with regard to such recruitment practices is set out below. This policy applies to all height and weight criteria used in the context of employment.

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