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4. Discrimination and services

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The Code protects people in the social area of goods, services and facilities. Services are broadly defined, but include health care (including mental health care), the criminal justice and the court system (for example police), government services (including social assistance), education, child welfare, insurance, shops and restaurants. Many issues may exist for people with mental health disabilities and addictions when they seek services. For example, people may be denied service based on a mental health disability or addiction, or because they are perceived to have mental health disabilities or addictions. They may be denied equal treatment in services, treated unprofessionally due to their disability, or their disability may not be accommodated to the point of undue hardship.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) customer service standard requires that services must be made accessible to people with disabilities.[3] This includes people who have mental health disabilities and addictions. However, many service providers may need more information about how they can create an inclusive service for people with mental health and addiction disabilities and how to accommodate their needs. We are looking for information on how all types of organizations and programs can deliver equitable and inclusive services that protect the human rights of people with mental health disabilities and addictions.

Some services or programs are designed to address the specific needs of people with mental health disabilities and addictions, such as special employment programs, court programs, or the mental health system. Some of these services will address situations where people lack legal capacity in a certain area and/or are thought to require certain services under existing mental health legislation (for example, the Mental Health Act). We want to learn how discrimination may play out in this service context, and how issues of consent and capacity may intersect with the right to be free from discrimination.

What types of discrimination exist in different types of services, including mental health-specific services?

Are there situations of discrimination that specifically affect people who lack legal capacity in an area and/or receive services while involved with the mental health system?

What information can help service providers design inclusive services and meet their duty to accommodate the needs of people with mental health disabilities and addictions? What information do service providers need in this area that the OHRC could assist with?

[3] Designated public sector organizations are already expected to comply with the customer service standard. All businesses with at least one employee will have to comply with the standard by January 1, 2012.

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