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Commission's work receiving international attention

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October 4, 2005

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For immediate publication

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) is receiving international attention for its work combating ageism and age discrimination.

Chief Commissioner Keith Norton was recently invited to speak at the International Symposium on Age Discrimination held in London, England, in September. He presented a paper on the Commission’s approach to fighting ageism and age discrimination to an audience of international human rights practitioners.

The symposium was organized by Age Concern England, which recently published a report comparing age discrimination legislation in leading jurisdictions around the world. Entitled Addressing Age Barriers, this report focussed on developments in Belgium, Ireland, Australia, the United States, and Ontario, detailing the Ontario Human Rights Code and referencing the Commission’s policies and publications on age discrimination.

The Commission is being recognized in other international contexts as well. In addition to working with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO on promoting the development of a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism, Norway’s Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development has invited the Commission to present on a panel at the upcoming 10th International Metropolis Conference in Toronto, on October 19th. The panel will examine the accessibility of human rights complaint mechanisms in Canada, Norway, and Denmark. While Canada has had such systems for many years, Norway and Denmark have both recently adopted new systems.

Norway has identified establishing a high level of accessibility to its services as a key success factor for its new system. The Commission agrees, and looks forward to this timely discussion, having just completed a public consultation on how to strengthen the human rights system in Ontario. Once approved by the Commission, a report on stakeholder views will be released with the goal of assisting Ontario’s Attorney General to develop a blueprint for a reform process.

“As I approach the end of my nine-year tenure as Chief Commissioner, I am pleased to see that the Commission is again being recognized for its work and is being sought out internationally as an expert in the field of human rights compliance and promotion,” said Chief Commissioner Norton.

Information on the Code and Commission publications and initiatives is available online; information on Age Concern England is available at www.ageconcern.org.uk; and information on the upcoming Metropolis Conference is available at www.international.metropolis.net.

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Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
afroze.edwards@ohrc.on.ca
(416) 314-4528

Jeff Poirier
Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission
jeff.poirier@ohrc.on.ca
(416)314-4539