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Competing Human Rights - Definitions

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Competing Human Rights eLearning Module 2

NARRATOR:
Welcome to Module 2. You’ll learn how to tell the difference between human rights and other types of rights, interests and values. You’ll use this information when analyzing a competing rights situation.

Human rights are for everyone. In Canada, they are protected and interpreted through:

  • the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • provincial, territorial and federal human rights laws
  • decisions of tribunals and courts
  • human rights commissions
  • and international law.

For example, the Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in jobs, housing, services and other areas.

The Code’s goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, sexual orientation, disability, creed, and other Code grounds.

Human rights are given a special, highly protected status by the law. We’ll talk more about the Code in the next section.

Legal entitlements can be described as rights that are also protected by law, but do not have the same special status as human rights. For example, in Ontario, the Residential Tenancies Act protects a person’s right to “reasonable enjoyment” of their rental housing.

An interest is a matter in which someone has a personal concern, share, portion or stake. Interests are generally not legal rights, but in some cases an interest could be raised to the status of a right, like in “the best interests of the child”.

Values are moral principles, standards or things that a person (or group) believes are vital for being a good person or citizen. Honesty, respect and integrity are examples of values that people may hold. Generally, values are personal or subjective and not open to legal action in and of themselves. But understanding the values held by claimants may help in the search for solutions.

There are many situations where rights, interests and values seem to conflict or compete. When evaluating situations of competing rights, a higher status will be given to human rights and other legally defined rights than to interests and values. This is important to remember when you are deciding if a situation involves valid competing rights, or not.

Competing Human Rights eLearning
Transcript at http://ohrc.on.ca/en/learning/competing-human-rights/reducing-potential-...


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