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New policy to protect the human rights of trans people in Ontario

April 14, 2014

For immediate release                                                               

Toronto –The Ontario Human Rights Commission today launched a new policy to help protect the rights of trans individuals and people of diverse genders. The Policy on preventing discrimination because of gender identity and gender expression looks at how to remove barriers and eliminate discrimination.

Toronto Police Service racial profiling and carding: deputation to Toronto Police Services Board

April 8, 2014

The Toronto Police Services Board’s Draft Policy is an important step in its efforts to monitor and oversee reforms to the current approach to Community Contacts. The Draft Policy refers to important principles including disengagement, rights knowledge, and compliance with the Human Rights Code and the Charter. We agree that surveys to gauge public satisfaction regarding street checks, and data collection in a separate database to monitor for racial bias in street checks, are valuable.

OHRC granted leave to intervene in Tanudjaja et al. v. The Attorney General of Canada et al

April 1, 2014

In 2011, four individuals and the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation filed an application against the Attorney General of Canada and the Attorney General of Ontario. The application alleged that Canada and Ontario have violated their rights under sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by creating and maintaining conditions that lead to and sustain homelessness and inadequate housing.

Re: Agenda items 7.(i) and 9.(vi): new comprehensive Zoning By-law, co-owned housing and communal dwellings

March 17, 2014

The OHRC provided guidance to the Township of Scugog about human rights principles relating to housing, as they considered amendments to their Zoning Bylaw relating to co-owned housing geared toward older Ontarians and people with disabilities. Following input from the community and the OHRC, the Township’s decision was to not create a special category, but treat the housing the same as any other residential housing.

OHRC releases statement on IBAs and human rights

March 4, 2014

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is releasing a public statement (attached) clarifying the legitimate status of preferential employment and contracting provisions within Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code). Our position is that the preferential employment and contracting provisions in IBAs are consistent with “special programs” under section 14 of the Code.

Letter to the Toronto Police Services Board regarding the practice of carding

January 13, 2014

Thank you for receiving the Commission’s deputation on racial profiling and carding on November 18, 2013. We understand that the Toronto Police Services Board (the TPSB”) has retained Frank Addario to provide an independent legal opinion on carding, and that he has a broad mandate to look at “the entire process of interactions between police officers and members of the public”.

Celebrating International Human Rights Day

December 10, 2013

Toronto - In recognition of the U.N. International Human Rights Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released a new and Improved edition of its popular school package entitled, Teaching Human Rights in Ontario (THRIO). This edition focuses on Ontario’s Human Rights Code, its human rights system, and most recent developments in human rights policy and case law.

Proposed lodging house licensing bylaw and the associated proposed zoning bylaw amendment

November 29, 2013

Lodging houses are an important form of affordable housing for many vulnerable groups identified by Human Rights Code grounds, including residents who receive public assistance, racialized persons, people with disabilities, newcomers, older and younger people, and single women. For this reason, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) offers the following comments on the proposed lodging house licensing bylaw and the accompanying zoning bylaw amendment.

Communities of colour joining with Indigenous communities for actions on truth, justice and reconciliation

November 12, 2013

Community organizations representing various communities of colour are organizing a day of dialogue to build solidarity with the Aboriginal Communities to promote truth and reconciliation. The event “From Remembrance to Reconciliation - A Shared Community Dialogue on Our Roles as Treaty Peoples" taking place today at Osgoode Professional Development, 1 Dundas Street West, 26th floor, Room C, will also mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.

Submission to the City of Toronto on group homes and “dwelling room accommodation” – October 22. 2013

October 21, 2013

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) would like to bring several items to the attention of the Planning and Growth Management Committee as the Committee considers the Chief Planner’s reports on group homes and dwelling room accommodations at its October 22, 2013 meeting.

Minds That Matter: We made commitments, we’re making progress

October 8, 2013

On September 13, 2012, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released Minds That Matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions. This report outlines what the OHRC heard in its largest-ever policy consultation, and sets out 54 recommendations for government, housing providers, employers, service providers and other parties across Ontario. The OHRC also made 26 commitments in this report to address human rights issues that affect people with mental health disabilities and addictions.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission and Christian Horizons today released the following statement

August 15, 2013

Christian Horizons and the Ontario Human Rights Commission are pleased to announce a partnership initiative to enhance diversity within the CH workforce, strengthening CH's mission to serve people living with developmental disabilities. As part of the initiative, CH will be welcoming applications for future vacancies in support worker and program manager positions from all persons regardless of creed.

Letter to the City of Guelph regarding report No. 13-32 - Rental housing licensing cost-benefit analysis

July 11, 2013

Over the past several months, City staff have been in contact with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) as the City considers its options for licencing rental housing in Guelph. We are pleased to see that some of this discussion is reflected in references to human rights in the Rental Housing Licensing Cost-Benefit Analysis report.

OHRC calls for Waterloo to remove discriminatory sections of rental housing licensing bylaw

May 27, 2013

Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released a report on its inquiry into rental housing licensing in the City of Waterloo. The report outlines what the OHRC heard, identifies the City’s response to some concerns, gives recommendations for advancing human rights, and refers to two parts of the bylaw where human rights issues remain.

Letter to the City of London on Zoning By-law Amendment number Z-8063 (methadone clinic)

May 22, 2013

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (“the OHRC”) understands that, on October 31, 2012, City Council approved zoning by-law amendment number Z-8063, permitting a methadone clinic to be established under certain conditions at 425 Wharncliffe Road. The OHRC further understands that, while Council approved this amendment, it applied a holding provision which required a public site plan meeting be held.

OHRC wraps up inquiry into rental housing licensing in North Bay, publishes new guide on human rights and licensing

May 8, 2013

Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released a report on its inquiry into rental housing licensing in the City of North Bay. The report outlines what the OHRC heard, identifies the City’s response to some concerns, gives recommendations for advancing human rights moving forward, and also refers to one part of the bylaw where human rights issues remain.

Letter to the Toronto Police Services Board regarding the analysis of contact card data

March 28, 2013

Dear Dr. Mukherjee, I wish to commend the Toronto Police Services Board's (the "TPSB") approval of a project to collect and analyze data related to contact cards and the pattern of contact between the police and members of the community in general including young people from certain racialized communities. I also understand that the TPSB is seeking an opinion from the City Solicitor on the legality of the practice of carding and the issuance of receipts, which engages the issue of human rights-based data collection and analysis.

Celebrating the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, 2013

Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) joins human rights commissions and agencies across Canada and around the world in celebrating the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The day pays tribute to the tragic events of March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa when 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed as they protested against apartheid. Canada was one of the first countries to support the UN initiative.

Re: Human Rights Commissions Have Had Their Day, editorial, March 6

March 7, 2013

Letter to the editor, National Post - Some people will be amazed by the editorial board’s suggestion that “racism, sexism and homophobia have become rare in Canadian public life.” That is clearly not the experience of young black men or aboriginal people, or of women who are fired when they get pregnant or of LGBT youth bullied at school.

The right to balanced rights

February 28, 2013

Opinion Editorial, Globe and Mail - A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada was very, well, Canadian. A young Muslim woman wanted to testify in court while wearing her niqab, saying her religious beliefs required it – and that she had the right to do so. The accused objected, claiming their right to a fair trial would be affected if they could not see the face of the witness. Which right trumps the other?

OHRC letter to The Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands regarding a methadone clinic and potential amendments to zoning bylaws

February 5, 2013

Your Worship, We understand that the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, by letter dated December 19th, 2012 directed Robinson IDA Pharmacy Ltd to cease dispensing methadone at the 19 Water Street Clinic in Little Current by January 31, 2013, and subsequently provided a two week extension to Feb 15, 2013.

MMAH Provincial Policy Statement Review on land use planning - OHRC letter

December 7, 2012

Dear Minister, Please find attached the submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) regarding the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s proposed amendments to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2005 on land use planning. The OHRC made an initial submission when your Ministry’s review began in 2010.

Alternative voting methods – an OHRC letter to Elections Ontario

December 4, 2012

Dear Mr. Essensa, Thank you for the opportunity to meet earlier this month regarding Elections Ontario’s review and public consultation on alternative voting methods involving internet and telephone voting technologies. The Ontario Human Rights Commission supports these forms of accessible voting as well as the eight electoral principles identified by Elections Ontario.

OHRC granted party status in Lynwood Charlton Centre OMB appeal

November 5, 2012

In a decision on October 31, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) granted the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) party status in the Lynwood Charlton Centre’s appeal of a decision by the City of Hamilton. The OHRC requested party status because of its concerns about human rights issues when the City turned down Lynwood Charlton’s request to move its housing for eight teenage girls with mental health issues.

OHRC launches survey into Canadian experience requirement

October 5, 2012

Toronto – A new survey launched today by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) asks job seekers and employers to describe how “Canadian experience” requirements in the Ontario job market have affected them. “In our conversations with newcomers, they often talk about the requirement for ‘Canadian experience’ as a big barrier to their entry into the workforce,” commented OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, “We want to learn more about how this requirement plays out in real life.”

OHRC seeks to intervene in Lynwood Charlton Centre OMB appeal

October 4, 2012

Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has made a formal request to the Ontario Municipal Board to intervene in the Lynwood Charlton Centre’s appeal of a decision by the City of Hamilton. This step is based on the OHRC’s concerns about human rights issues when the City denied Lynwood Charlton the zoning required to move housing for eight teenage girls with mental health issues.

OHRC releases consultation report on human rights, mental health and addictions

September 13, 2012

Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released Minds that matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions. This report outlines what the OHRC heard in its largest-ever policy consultation across Ontario, and sets out a number of key recommendations and OHRC commitments to address human rights issues that affect people with mental health disabilities or addictions.

Letter to the City of Belleville regarding proposed by-law amendments affecting methadone clinics

July 6, 2012

I am writing to comment on proposed amendments to the city’s zoning by-laws that would include new definitions for ‘Opioid Substitution Therapy Clinics’ and ‘Methadone Dispensaries’ and differentiate them from other clinics, medical clinics or professional offices. As noted in the City’s staff report GP-2012-03, the effect of this differentiation would be to identify opioid substitution treatment and services as distinct uses and “to require any such new uses to be specifically zoned for that purpose”.

OHRC letter to the the Town of Tillsonburg regarding zoning By-Law for methadone clinics and dispensaries

June 21, 2012

Your Worship, I am writing to comment on By-Law Number 3636, which establishes “interim control provisions for the town of Tillsonburg to prohibit the establishment of new methadone clinics and methadone dispensaries for an interim period of up to one year in order to permit the completion of a planning study on the potential regulation of these uses.”

June 15 marks 50 years for Ontario’s Human Rights Code

June 11, 2012

Toronto – June 15 is the 50th anniversary of Ontario’s Human Rights Code – the first such code in Canada. To mark this important event, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) is working with partners across Ontario to look back at human rights over the 50 years, and look ahead to the human rights of tomorrow. Highlights include a commemorative plaque and the “Proclamation Project” with municipalities across Ontario.

Re: White liberal guilt

May 24, 2012

Tarek Fatah is wrong to suggest I or anyone else “forced” Toronto Police to allow Khalsa Sikhs to wear kirpans in courtrooms. Acting Deputy Chief Jeff McGuire said the police were “pleased to have worked cooperatively to arrive at a procedure which recognizes the needs and rights of the Sikh community and the obligation to provide a safe, secure and accessible courthouse environment."

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