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Letter to Attorney General Downey

July 11, 2019

I hope this finds you well. On behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), I am writing to congratulate you on your appointment as Attorney General of Ontario. For nearly 60 years, the OHRC has enjoyed a strong working relationship with the government and we look forward to continuing this relationship with you.

Anti-Black racism in the Ontario Public Service

June 14, 2019

Dear Secretary Davidson:

Thank you for meeting with me on May 27, 2019 to discuss anti-Black racism in the Ontario Public Service (OPS). I am writing today to request further details on the government’s existing and planned initiatives to address systemic racism in the OPS.

As we discussed, a group of racialized employees has asked to meet with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to discuss their concerns about anti-Black racism in the OPS. This meeting has been scheduled for June 19, 2019.

Mental health services for frontline workers

May 28, 2019

I am writing to commend the government on its recent announcements regarding investments in mental health services for frontline workers including correctional officers, and Ontario Provincial Police personnel and their families. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the government’s acknowledgment that many correctional staff and police officers face mental health issues.

OHRC and OFIFC reaffirm joint commitment to reconciliation

May 21, 2019

TORONTO – In April, 2019, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) renewed an agreement, originally signed in April 2017, to work together with the ultimate goal of ending discrimination against Indigenous peoples in Ontario. The renewed agreement reinforces our ongoing collaboration with urban Indigenous communities based on trust, dignity, respect and a shared commitment to reconciliation and substantive equality.

Letter to Minister Rickford and Attorney General Mulroney: Bill 76 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

April 4, 2019

I am writing today to communicate the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) strong support for Bill 76, An Act to ensure that the laws of Ontario are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Letter to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services: An action plan to end segregation in Ontario

February 21, 2019

I am writing today about the Superior Court of Justice’s decision in R. v Capay (2019 ONSC 535) dated January 28, 2019. Consistent with other recent court cases and the OHRC’s earlier calls to action, the factual findings in R. v Capay confirm that segregation is harmful to health, increases risk and undermines safety, rehabilitation and reintegration. As I am sure you will agree, Justice Fregeau’s findings are extremely troubling and call for decisive action.

OHRC settlement addresses harmful impact of stereotypes on Indigenous youth

December 13, 2018

Toronto – After the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario invited the OHRC to intervene in the case of Gallant v Mississauga, the OHRC reached a settlement with the City of Mississauga and the Applicant, Bradley Gallant. The settlement addresses the harmful impact of stereotypes on Indigenous youth by requiring Mississauga to remove from its sports facilities all Indigenous-themed mascots, symbols, names and imagery related to non-Indigenous sports organizations.

Second annual Community Advisory Group summit shows the power of “working together as one”

November 22, 2018

Toronto - At the second annual OHRC Community Advisory Group Summit, on November 20 and 21, 2018, approximately 40 representatives serving diverse communities across Ontario offered their expertise, lived experience and insight on commitments made in the OHRC’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, Putting people and their rights at the centre.

OHRC successfully challenges restrictions to benefits for workers aged 65+

May 31, 2018

Toronto – The OHRC intervened in Talos v Grand Erie District School Board to challenge the provision of Ontario’s Human Rights Code that allowed employers to cut or reduce benefits to workers aged 65 and over. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that subsection 25(2.1) of the Code, as well as related provisions in the Employment Standards Act and its regulations, amount to age discrimination and violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

OHRC releases report on its inquiry into the over-representation of Indigenous and Black children in Ontario’s child welfare system

April 12, 2018
Toronto – On April 12, 2018 the OHRC released Interrupted Childhoods: Over-representation of Indigenous and Black children in Ontario child welfare. The report outlines findings from its public interest inquiry into whether First Nations, Métis and Inuit (Indigenous) and Black children are over-represented at children’s aid societies (CASs), particularly in admissions into care.

Timmins must come to grips with Indigenous relations

March 28, 2018

TIMMINS — In February, Joey Knapaysweet, 21, and Angnes Sutherland, 62, both from Fort Albany First Nation, died in separate incidents involving the Timmins Police Service. Both incidents are being examined by the Special Investigations Unit. The deaths galvanized a community where Mayor Steve Black said a police gun had not been fired in the line of duty in 34 years.

OHRC launches new eLearning to promote anti-racism education and inclusion in Ontario

March 21, 2018

Toronto – Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released Call It Out. This new interactive eLearning program is a tool designed to raise awareness of the history and impact of racism and racial discrimination and to promote a culture of human rights in Ontario.

Call for participants: Public interest inquiry into racial profiling and discrimination by the Toronto Police

March 19, 2018

In advance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21), the OHRC is inviting people to take part in its public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service (TPS).

January 29 a day to remember the tragic consequences of hate

January 29, 2018

One year ago today – January 29, 2017 – Canadians learned of the mass murder of six people, and the wounding of many others at a Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Quebec City. I was riveted by my tiny screen as the events were reported in real time on social media late into the night – a bystander watching from behind a glass window powerless to do anything.

OHRC obtains Tribunal Consent Order to keep people with mental health disabilities out of segregation

January 18, 2018

Toronto – On January 16, 2018, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario issued a Consent Order requiring Ontario to end the use of segregation for people with mental health disabilities across its 26 correctional facilities, barring exceptional circumstances. The Order was obtained on the consent of the OHRC and the Ontario government.

OHRC launches public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service

November 30, 2017

Toronto – Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) announced that it has launched a public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service (TPS). Using its legislated inquiry powers under section 31 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the OHRC has called for the TPS, the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) and the Special Investigations Unit to provide a wide range of data to determine exactly how and where racial profiling operates in law enforcement.

Inaugural community engagement summit inspires participants and brings new perspectives to the OHRC’s work

November 10, 2017

Toronto - At the first-ever OHRC Community Advisory Group Summit, on November 8 and 9, 2017, approximately 50 representatives from various communities across Ontario offered their expertise, lived experience and creativity to help the OHRC create a sustainable and transparent approach to community engagement.

Safer Ontario Act is a foundation to rebuild trust in law enforcement

November 9, 2017

In conversations about criminal justice reform, it has become cliché for leaders to conclude that sustainable solutions lie in “rebuilding trust.” And for good reason. A September 2017 poll found that six in 10 Torontonians would “be scared” if they were “pulled over by a police officer for no apparent reason.” When speaking to the introduction of the Safer Ontario Act, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said the legislation will rebuild trust. But will it?

Letter to Minister Naqvi re: Support for Bill 164, Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2017

October 24, 2017

I am writing to express the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) support for Bill 164, which was introduced on October 4, 2017 in the Legislature. We understand that the Second Reading will take place on October 26. As I expressed in our meeting on October 2, it is the OHRC’s position that Bill 164 improves the Human Rights Code by including new grounds of protection for people under social condition, police records, genetic characteristics, and immigration status.

Deputation to the Toronto Police Services Board on conducted energy weapons

October 19, 2017

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) makes the following deputation in response to the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Discussion Paper in which it proposes to expand the deployment of Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs) to on-duty primary response unit constables and on-duty constables from designated specialized units.

Mental health disabilities shouldn’t be a barrier to student success

October 12, 2017

Just as students were headed back to school, a vigorous debate was unfolding on the pages of this paper (and others) about the accommodation of students with mental health disabilities. Unfortunately, this debate has been dominated by professors and columnists whose expertise lies outside human rights law and whose opinions do not adequately take into account the lived experience of discrimination.

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