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Chief Commissioner clarifies that statements regarding direct access are inaccurate

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April 13, 2006

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For immediate publication

Toronto - I would like to clarify my position regarding support for any proposed model to amend the human rights system. Recent reports suggest that I support the direct access model. These statements are inaccurate. I do not support any specific system, and will not until all of the parameters are made public. Any reform must be based on international principles and involve all affected communities.

As you know, the Commission has long requested changes to help it be more effective in the delivery of its services to the public. We have publicly welcomed change, in particular, the government's goals to improve and strengthen the human rights system, its focus on systemic issues, on the promotion and advancement of human rights and on the improvement of the enforcement of the Code. We will continue to work with the Attorney General to achieve these stated goals.

At the same time, I strongly believe that any change must build on the strengtohs of the existing system, and not jeopardize the international leadership this province has shown in protecting groups and individuals against discrimination. This will be essential to the Commission's support for any reform.

In this ongoing process, I would urge every interested party to continue the discussion in a positive way and identify the change necessary for a system that will meet the needs of the people of Ontario.

Barbara Hall, B.A, LL.B, Ph.D (hon.)
Chief Commissioner

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