Toronto — In recognition of International Women’s Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is calling for an end to sexualized dress codes that discriminate against female and transgender employees. The OHRC makes the call in a policy position on gender-specific dress codes released today.
by Renu Mandhane
In 2007, Ashley Smith died in federal custody in Kitchener, Ont., after spending extended periods of time in segregation (or solitary confinement). In 2010, Edward Snowshoe died by suicide while in custody in Edmonton, Alta., after spending 162 days in segregation. These cases have become emblematic of the incredible problems with the continued use of segregation in prisons.
Following the release of the OHRC’s new Policy on preventing discrimination based on creed , there have been much-publicized claims that the policy extends protection against discrimination on the basis of creed to cover ethical veganism. To be clear, the Policy does not say one way or the other whether ethical veganism is a creed.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (Commission) is concerned about the number of officers experiencing mental health issues and dying by suicide as a result of their policing work, and the barriers – such as widespread stigma about mental health issues in the policing community – preventing officers from accessing adequate support. We understand that you are preparing to launch a systemic review to examine the experiences and suicides of Ontario police officers with mental health disabilities, and commend you for working toward addressing this serious problem.
By way of introduction, I am the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). On December 16, 2015, the OHRC announced that it will use its mandate under the Ontario Human Right Code (Code) to examine the overrepresentation of Indigenous and racialized children and youth in the child welfare system.
Toronto – Today, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the establishment of an Anti-Racism Directorate. The new body will be tasked with providing an anti-racism lens to the development and implementation of government policies, and will also be involved in some aspects of education and promotion. The official announcement is here: bit.ly/20XT3Bz.
Like most people that call this city home, I am deeply troubled by Sunday's shooting deaths in Toronto's Chinatown and the eight other gun-related deaths the city saw in January. This is obviously unacceptable, and police must be supported in their efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these horrific crimes.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is intervening in Roberts v. Toronto Police Services Board, an application before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) that raises the issues of racial profiling and discriminatory use of force.
February is Black History Month. It’s a time to celebrate the stories and significant contributions of Black Canadians to our province and our country. In fact, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) came into being more than half a century ago under the leadership of Daniel G. Hill, who as a Black man faced prejudice and exclusion while simply trying to find a place to live.
Observing the UN International Day of Commemoration in memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
Today is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. It’s a day to remember the genocide that resulted in the murder of millions of Jewish people in World War Two, along with the systematic killing of people with disabilities, Roma persons, and many other minority groups across Europe and Asia.
On November 11, 2015, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) filed its own application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) alleging discrimination in employment based on disability because of the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) failure to include on its Memorial Wall officers who end their lives as a result of a mental health disability incurred in the line of duty.
As the new year unfolds, Ontario continues to open its doors to refugees fleeing the war in Syria. The Ontario Human Rights Commission offers our welcome and support to all newcomers – from Syria, countries in Africa, and other parts of the world.
Toronto - Navi Dhanota, represented by ARCH Disability Law Centre; York University and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) have worked together to develop new documentation guidelines to access academic accommodations. The change in guidelines means that students will no longer have to disclose their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) diagnosis to register for mental health accommodations and supports.
Dear Chief Bordeleau, I am writing to commend the Ottawa Police Service for its continued leadership in addressing bias and discrimination in Ontario. Your proactive approaches have built strong and positive relationships with communities affected by hate crimes and are to be commended. I know that many officers and members from across your Service have been involved in these efforts.
Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) calls to action, and to similar calls from racialized communities, by committing to address the goal of preventing and reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous and racialized children and youth in the child welfare system.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Draft Regulation on street checks of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (Ministry). We are pleased to have the support of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) on this important issue.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today releases an updated Policy on preventing discrimination based on creed. The OHRC introduced its first policy on creed in 1996. Since that time, Ontario society has grown increasingly more diverse and there have been many important legal and social developments. The update reflects today’s issues and changes to case law, and provides expanded information in areas like Indigenous Spirituality and creed-based profiling.
Today is International Human Rights Day—the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The human rights movement was a direct response to widespread antisemitism which ultimately led to the Holocaust. By adopting the Universal Declaration in 1948, Canada and the international community rightly said, “Never again.”
A broad network of community advocates, human rights and legal experts, academics, concerned and affected individuals and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is calling on the Province to ensure that its Draft Regulation on police street checks – or “carding” – achieves the Minister’s stated objective of ending arbitrary and discriminatory police street checks.
Toronto - A settlement has been reached with the Ottawa Police in a case that alleged a female police officer was denied training, job placement and promotion opportunities because of her family status, sex and maternity leaves. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) intervened at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to address systemic barriers to promotion and advancement that women can face.
Such is the nature of our hyper-connected planet that events seemingly worlds away from our day-to-day lives can reverberate in our neighbourhood. That is the power and promise of social media — it makes the world smaller.
As part of It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, the Government of Ontario is hosting its 2015 Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Toronto from November 19 – 20.
Hatred and discrimination based on creed have no place in Ontario. They contravene our province’s most cherished ideals and commitments, including respect for the rule of law, and individual human rights and dignity.
In May 2015, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) learned that a Canadian insurance company (RSA Canada) would not issue an emergency travel medical insurance policy to anyone who had ever been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS and obtained a copy of the exclusionary policy.
The OHRC wrote to RSA Canada to express concern that the HIV/AIDS exclusion might contravene Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Today is my first day on the job as Ontario’s new chief human rights commissioner and, already, I am keenly aware of the need to convince Canadians of the continuing relevance of statutory human rights bodies like the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Toronto – Ruth Goba, Interim Chief Commissioner, today welcomes Renu Mandhane as the OHRC’s new Chief Commissioner effective Monday, November 2, 2015.
Hamilton police chief Glenn De Caire's position on carding and street checks contains a fundamental and significant error.
In his September 21 letter to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Chief De Caire cites the Ontario Human Rights Commission and our recognition of “the importance of officer discretion.” We agree that discretion is important – vitally so. But we have always been clear: officer discretion must be informed and guided to prevent racial profiling – and discretionary decisions that are informed by racial bias should lead to officer discipline.
(Whitby, ON) – Today, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission unveiled a new partnership to further develop human rights capacity at the specialty mental health centre.
Ontario Shores and the OHRC met last year to look at an opportunity to partner and support both organizations’ mission and values. The Project Charter signed today sets the framework for work that will happen over a three year term.
Toronto–The Ontario Human Rights Commission today launched By the numbers, a new report offering a statistical profile of people with mental health and addiction disabilities in Ontario. This launch was part of Taking it Local Peel, a one-day training event co-hosted by the United Way of Peel Region and the Regional Diversity Roundtable of Peel.
Recent media articles have looked at the issue of housing that is limited to people belonging to a certain community group.
Section 18 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code says:
Dear Chair and Committee Members, I am writing to comment on proposed amendments to the City’s Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws in regard to methadone clinics.
Where two human rights conflict, the Supreme Court of Canada has said no rights are absolute, no one right automatically “trumps” any other, and any human right can be limited if it interferes with the rights of others.
Girls and women often face sexism, marginalization, discrimination, harassment and exclusion throughout society. Women have fought hard over the years for equal rights and treatment.
People belonging to minority creed communities have faced religious intolerance, including serious persecution, harassment, racism and discrimination.
June 21st is important but the years of work and recent report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission make it painfully clear that one day is not enough.
The decision by the Toronto Police Services Board to return to its April 2014 policy on Community Contacts is a step forward - here’s why.
We were encouraged this week to hear Ontario’s Solicitor General and Minister for Community Safety and Correctional Services announce plans to regulate police street checks across Ontario.
The Minister was clear about what he wants: “to prevent unjustifiable police stops for no reason or without cause”. HOW to do this will be the difficult part – but ending “unjustifiable police stops” that amount to racial profiling is our goal.
Toronto –The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released OHRC Today, its 2014-2015 Annual Report, which focuses on mental health disabilities and addictions, bias-free policing and its work across Ontario on gender identity and gender expression issues.
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission is seeking leave to intervene as a friend of the Court in the “Neptune 4” case, being heard by the Toronto Police Service Disciplinary Tribunal. The action is part of a longstanding effort by the OHRC to tackle racial profiling – an issue at the heart of the Commission’s mandate to promote and advance respect for human rights in Ontario.
Dear Minister, The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes your Ministry’s consideration of legislating standards set out in the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police 2014 Guideline for Police Record Checks.
We agree there is a lack of consistency with the various levels of record checks and their purposes, as well as the types of information disclosed. The OHRC has raised concern for a while now that police record checks have a negative impact on people with mental health disabilities who have non-criminal contact with police. That’s why we got involved in the development of the first OACP Guideline and endorsed its release in 2011.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is pleased to mark Sexual Harassment Awareness Week. Sexual harassment continues to be a critical issue across Ontario society. Recent news coverage of incidents affecting female reporters while on the job highlights the pervasiveness of the problem for women at work. The OHRC has long recognized the serious impact of sexual harassment on its victims, and on an organization’s morale and overall productivity.
Toronto - Several news outlets have recently quoted a Toronto Police Service (TPS) news release regarding body-worn cameras: http://torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/31840
That release says, in part:
The Service has partnered with the Information & Privacy Commissioner, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Toronto Police Association to develop a procedure that addresses issues of privacy, retention, and disclosure.
This statement is not accurate.
Editor, The Toronto Star
This week Mark Saunders was sworn in as Chief of the Toronto Police Service. He arrived amid a controversy that marred his predecessor’s final days and one that refuses to go away – the police procedure commonly known as “carding.” As Chief Saunders starts down this new road he has a choice – to hear the voices of the community and work to end racial profiling or to allow a deeply troubling practice to continue.
Toronto2015: Let’s build an accessibility legacy
The upcoming Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are an exciting opportunity to showcase the many ways Ontario is a world leader. One notable accomplishment should be our ability to welcome and include guests and residents of all backgrounds and abilities. The Games offer a good opportunity to raise awareness about what Ontario and its municipalities are doing to promote and enhance accessibility.
Dear Chief Blair,
I am writing further to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) deputation to the Toronto Police Service Board (TPSB) on April 2, 2015 in regards to the revised Policy and Procedure on Community Engagements.
You will recall, at the TPSB meeting on April 2, 2015, I said on behalf of the OHRC:
Racial profiling by the Toronto Police Service is a recognized problem in need of an effective solution. I am very disappointed that what appeared to be progress, in the Board’s 2014 policy, has failed to materialize.
Not just today – let’s challenge racism every day
It’s easy to identify discrimination when we hear hateful slurs or overt forms of bigotry. However, there are also many examples of more subtle – but equally pernicious – racism and racial discrimination.
There’s the judge who asks a Black woman in court where her lawyer is. In fact, the woman is the lawyer waiting for her client.
A Middle Eastern woman takes a seat at an empty restaurant. A White customer who enters after her is served first.
Forty years ago, the United Nations declared March 8 as International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate women and their achievements, reflect on the progress towards equality, and promote an Ontario and world where there is true gender equality.
While we join the world in observing this day and honouring our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, allies and friends, we know that we still have work to do at the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Our work is not done when one in two Canadian women report having experienced some form of violence in their lifetime.
Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling concern of the African Canadian community, other affected racialized communities, and of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”). In the past few years, many racialized people have experienced carding as yet another form of racial profiling.
The OHRC has frequently identified two key issues in the Toronto Police Service Procedure on Community Engagements that are critical to prevent racial profiling. To be consistent with the Human Rights Code and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Procedure:
Dear Colleagues, As new and returning mayors, councillors and elected officials, you play a central role in ensuring that municipal processes and decisions respect the human rights of all community members. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has worked for several years with governments, experts and community partners to increase human rights compliance in housing, land use and licensing. I’m writing to share some positive developments in these areas, and to point out some OHRC resources that can help you make your community more inclusive.
Re: Accounting professions legislation
It has come to the attention of the Ontario Human Rights Commission that the Ontario Government is looking at making changes to the statutes dealing with the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario, the Certified General Accountants Association of Ontario and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in recognition that these bodies have effectively unified under the banner Chartered Professional Accountants.