Approved by the Commission: June 19, 1996
Revised by the Commission: January 30, 2008
Available in various formats: electronic, audio tape, large print
This Policy contains the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s interpretation of provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code relating to organizational policies and procedures to prevent and address human rights issues. It has been prepared, approved and published by the Commission to provide guidance on the application of the Human Rights Code in this area in accordance with s. 30 of the Code (as amended).
The Policy is subject to decisions of the Superior Courts interpreting the Human Rights Code. Any questions regarding the Policy should be directed to the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Commission policies and guidelines set standards for how individuals, employers, service providers and policy makers should act to ensure compliance with the Code. They are important because they represent the Commission’s interpretation of the Code at the time of publication.
Effective June 30, 2008, pursuant to s. 45.5 of the Code, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the Tribunal) may consider policies approved by the Commission in a human rights proceeding before the Tribunal. If a party or intervenor in a proceeding requests it, the Tribunal shall consider a Commission policy. Commission policies have been given great deference by the courts and Tribunal, applied to the facts of the case before the court or Tribunal, and quoted in the decisions of these bodies.
 In Quesnel v. London Educational Health Centre (1995), 28 C.H.R.R. D/474 at para. 53 (Ont. Bd. Inq.), the Board of Inquiry applied the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (4th Cir. 1971) to conclude that Commission policy statements should be given “great deference” if they are consistent with Code values and are formed in a way that is consistent with the legislative history of the Code itself. This latter requirement was interpreted to mean that they were formed through a process of public consultation.