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Outside the employment context, there are few cases that deal with discrimination against older persons.  In the context of housing, age discrimination cases under human rights legislation tend to deal with issues facing younger people.  However, older persons may experience discrimination on the ground of age or on the potentially related grounds of disability and receipt of public assistance (which would include government pensions).

One important decision in the health care context is that of Ontario (Human Rights Commission) v. Ontario (Ministry of Health)[112]. The Ontario Ministry of Health Assistive Devices Program provided closed circuit television magnifiers only to persons under 25 years of age.  The complainant, a 71 year old man, was refused this visual aid.  Although the Board of Inquiry found that the program was a special program protected by s. 14(1) of the Code, the majority of the Court of Appeal rejected this finding.  The Court noted that in addition to protecting affirmative action programs from challenge, the purpose of s. 14(1) is to promote substantive equality.  Special programs are aimed at achieving substantive equality by assisting disadvantaged persons to compete equally with those who do not have the disadvantage.  Special programs should be designed so that restrictions within the program are rationally connected to the objective of the program.  In this case, the connection was not established.  The Court found that the program was initiated with age restrictions to have a small pool of clients and to conserve scarce financial resources, not because younger persons with disabilities have a greater need of such aids and less access to them than older persons.


[112] (1989), 10 C.H.R.R. D/6353 (Ont. Bd. Inq.), affd 14 C.H.R.R. D/1 (Ont. Div. Ct.), revd 21 C.H.R.R. D/259 (C.A.).

 

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