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Allegations of racial profiling of migrant workers troubling: OHRC

July 17, 2014

Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) took another step to eliminate racial profiling in Ontario by speaking out in the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) systemic review of the OPP practices for obtaining voluntary DNA samples. The OHRC is troubled by allegations that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) engaged in racial profiling when requesting DNA samples from migrant workers near Vienna, Ontario as part of a sexual assault investigation in October and November 2013.

New OHRC Policy addresses human rights for people with mental health or addiction disabilities

June 18, 2014

For immediate release

Toronto – A new policy, released today, aims to provide user-friendly guidance on how to define, assess, handle and resolve human rights issues related to mental health and addiction disabilities. The Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions was released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).

Re: Report no. 14-29, Rental housing licensing recommended approach

May 2, 2014

I am writing in support of the steps that are recommended in Report no. 14-29 – that instead of putting a licensing system in place for rental housing, the City of Guelph use existing bylaws to deal with property concerns. Licensing can be a good tool if its focus is on Building Code, Fire Code and health and safety standards, but it is not an appropriate option for dealing with the actions of the people who may live in the housing. This is why we concur with the report’s recommendation to expand existing programs to target the actual problem areas, without adding an extra cost to tenants across the City.

Re: Anti-immigration group draws fire from Brampton community leaders

April 25, 2014

I was delighted to see the prompt response of Mayor Susan Fennell and other community leaders to the anti-immigration flyer. At the Ontario Human Rights Commission an important part of our work is helping communities deal with issues of tension and conflict. But we know that the most effective answer to people who would try to create division between us is to unite in opposing such efforts. Speaking out strongly in favour of respect and inclusion helps make us all stronger. Well done, Brampton!

Deputation to Toronto Police Services Board re: community contacts policy - April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

We thank the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) for listening to concerns raised by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and other advocacy and community groups in previous deputations. In particular, we acknowledge that the TPSB has set out a definition of public safety as well as disciplinary measures in the event that the policy is breached.  

However, we have concerns about the policy as drafted, including those described below.    

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.

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