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Human rights policy in Ontario - 2008 edition

December 7, 2007

On this 45th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Code, I am pleased to present the fourth edition of Human Rights Policy in Ontario, a publication first introduced in 1998. I am also pleased that Carswell, a respected publisher of employment and human rights related material, is our partner in putting together this latest compendium of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policies and guidelines.

Inquiry launched into assaults against Asian Canadian anglers

November 2, 2007

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall today announced the launch of an inquiry into alleged assaults against Asian Canadian anglers. The inquiry is being conducted in partnership with the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and involves other community partners. It arises out of concern following a number of violent incidents involving Asian Canadians who have been either physically or verbally assaulted while fishing in a number of communities around the province.

Ontario Transit Services expected to announce all transit stops

October 25, 2007

Toronto - Following up on several key developments in the area of accessible transit, Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall has written to transit services across the province asking them to remove barriers faced by riders with disabilities. “Stop announcements are not only necessary for visually impaired riders but can benefit all transit users including visitors and even many of us who can't see the stops due to crowds or weather conditions,” commented Chief Commissioner Hall.

Proposed Transportation Accessibility Standards a setback for Ontarians with disabilities

August 30, 2007

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission has made a submission to the Transportation Accessibility Standards Development Committee of the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. The Committee is charged with developing the Initial Proposed Transportation Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

Human Rights Commission settles claim with respect to the exhibition of closed captioned movies

July 24, 2007

Toronto, Ontario - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today announced a settlement in the complaints between Nancy Barker, Gary Malkowski and Scott Simser, and movie exhibitors Alliance Atlantis Cinemas partnership, AMC Entertainment International Inc., Cineplex Entertainment LP and Rainbow Centre Cinemas Inc.

Archives of Ontario launch on-line exhibit honouring Dr. Daniel G. Hill, first Director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission

June 15, 2007

Toronto - This June 15th, marks the 45th anniversary of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, which came into effect in 1962. Equally historic, was the appointment of Dr. Daniel G. Hill, as the first Director of the Human Rights Commission.

Tribunal rules racial profiling in case against Peel Police

May 17, 2007

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission was successful in a significant racial profiling case under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. The complaint was filed by Ms. Jacqueline Nassiah against the Peel Regional Police Services. The Commission thoroughly investigated the matter finding evidence indicative of racial profiling. Attempts to mediate and settle the case with Peel Police were unsuccessful. In a decision released on May 11, 2007, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has found that a Peel police officer subjected Ms. Nassiah, a Black woman, to a more intensive, suspicious and prolonged investigation because of her race.

Commission defines connection between human rights and family relationships

May 2, 2007

Toronto - Today the Ontario Human Rights Commission released the results of its groundbreaking initiative on discrimination based on family status. “Ontario is proud to be the first jurisdiction to examine the human rights implications of barriers faced by families who are caring for children, aging parents or relatives, and family members with disabilities”, said Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner.

Media advisory: Ontario Human Rights Commission releases Consultation Report and Policy on discrimination on the basis of family status

May 1, 2007

On Wednesday, May 2nd, Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall begins a four-city launch of the Ontario Human Rights Commission's Consultation Report and Policy on Discrimination on the basis of Family Status. The documents set out how family relationships affect access to employment, housing and services and human rights protections related to family status under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Launch of Commission's consultation report and policy of family status

April 18, 2007

I am excited to have the opportunity to share with you the results of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (the “Commission”) groundbreaking project on discrimination on family status. The project is the first in Canada to examine the human rights implications of the barriers faced by families who are caring for children, aging parents or relatives, and family members with disabilities.

Message from Ontario Human Rights Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, marking Black History Month

February 9, 2007

Toronto - This year’s celebration of Black History Month is particularly significant as it marks the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. Despite many positive developments in human rights protections since then, racism and racial discrimination continue to exist. Eliminating them and the barriers they create for many requires real commitment and joint effort from governments, institutions and organizations … in short, from all of us.

Message from Ontario Human Rights Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall marking International Human Rights Day

December 8, 2006

Since December 10, 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed by Canada and other member States of the United Nations, Ontario’s human rights system has evolved to be a leader within the global human rights system. All of us have every reason to be proud of that and what we have accomplished.

Commission hosts workshop between Rights & Democracy and the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA)

November 30, 2006

Toronto - Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission hosted a full-day workshop on Creating and Strengthening National Human Rights Institutions Abroad: Engaging Canada’s human rights agencies in international cooperation for the promotion of human rights. The Workshop looked at past collaborations between human rights commissions in Canada and others abroad and explored opportunities for new initiatives in partnerships with other Canadian and international actors.

Letter to the Premier of Ontario regarding the Government's notice to invoke closure and prematurely end debate on Bill 107

November 21, 2006

Toronto - I wish to express my profound dismay at your Government’s notice to invoke closure and prematurely end debate on Bill 107, An Act to Reform the Ontario Human Rights Act. From the start of the Bill 107 process, more than a year ago, the Commission has commented on the need for full consultation by the Ministry of the Attorney General. What should have been a broad, consensus-building exercise in the best traditions of promoting human rights, was undertaken in a way which, instead, caused division within the communities concerned.

Ontario Human Rights Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall remarks to the standing committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill 107, an Act to amend the Human Rights Code

November 15, 2006

I am pleased to be with you this morning and to bring you the view of the Commission on Bill 107 and its implications for the Human Rights System in Ontario. I anticipate that over the next few days and weeks you will hear many considered and informed opinions about the proposed legislation.

Transit accessibility

November 14, 2006

Equal access by persons with disabilities, older Ontarians, and families with young children to adequate, dignified public transit services is a right protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code. For many, it is also a necessity – in order to obtain an education, find and keep a job, or use basic public services like health care. Lack of access to transit may also lead to isolation, as visiting friends or participating in the life of the community becomes difficult or impossible. Unfortunately, equal access to transit services is far from reality for many Ontarians.

Call for a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against racism

October 16, 2006

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCU) is calling for a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism. This draft Preliminary Proposal for a coalition has been prepared by a Pan-Canadian Working Group lead by CCU. It is based on UNESCO’s initiative for an international coalition of cities against racism. The OHRC has lent its expertise and support to the CCU in developing the preliminary proposal.

Chief Commissioner facilitates human rights workshops at International AIDS Conference

August 16, 2006

Toronto - Ontario Human Rights Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall was invited to chair a number of sessions at the XVI International AIDS 2006 Conference, including two conference seminars held earlier this week on Hot Topics in Human Rights and HIV/AIDS and Time to Deliver on Stigma and Discrimination.

Restaurant accessibility report highlights successes of industry cooperation

July 6, 2006

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the "Commission") was joined by representatives of the business, government, and disability communities today while releasing Moving Towards Barrier-Free Services, the Commission’s final report into restaurant accessibility. This report demonstrates the progress that can be achieved through cooperation between government and business, but also emphasizes the need for ongoing improvement.

Pivotal time for human rights, Chief Commissioner reports

June 29, 2006

Toronto - On releasing the Commission’s 2005-2006 Annual Report today at Queen’s Park, Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall commented that, “This is a pivotal time for human rights in our province.” The Chief Commissioner highlighted a number of issues where progress is being made as well as areas where more work needs to be done to protect and promote human rights for the people of Ontario.

Commission appeals advance human rights law

June 13, 2006

Toronto - Over the past ten years, the Commission has been involved in 72 judicial review decisions, 32 decisions on appeal at the Divisional Court, 40 decisions from the Court of Appeal, and 17 from the Supreme Court of Canada. As of March 31, 2006, the Commission was litigating 462 cases at the Tribunal, eight cases before the Divisional Court, three in the Ontario Court of Appeal, and two before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Commission wins landmark decision finding Ontario Coroners Act discriminates against families of psychiatric patients

May 26, 2006

Toronto - A far reaching decision concerning the discriminatory treatment of psychiatric patients was issued by the Human Rights Tribunal on Tuesday, May 25, 2006. The complaints centred on the provisions of the Coroners Act, which make inquests mandatory when prisoners die in custody, but make inquests discretionary when involuntary psychiatric patients die when in a hospital or institution.

Ontario Human Rights Commission statistics for the year ending March 31, 2006

May 18, 2006

Toronto - The Commission provides information to tens of thousands of Ontarians. Last year, Commission staff dealt with over 43,000 inquiries by telephone, 1,760 by letter, and 760 in-person visits. It also received 824,887 unique visits to its website. In addition, the Commission’s public education activity on its policies and the Code reached a further 10,428 people. These contacts resulted in 2,399 new complaints being filed at the Commission.

Human Rights Commission sent 170 complaints to Tribunal this past year

May 11, 2006

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the "Commission") resolved 2,260 cases in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, 45 more than last year. 1,291 cases, or 57 per cent, were resolved through negotiated settlements, 256 received Commission decisions after thorough consideration of parties' written submissions, and a further 170 were referred to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the "Tribunal") for an oral hearing.

Commission's initial response to the introduction of Bill 107 to reform Ontario's Human Rights System

April 28, 2006

Toronto - On April 26th, 2006, the Attorney General introduced in the legislature Bill 107, An Act to Amend the Human Rights Code, which, if passed, will reform Ontario’s human rights system. The Attorney General has taken the next step in reform of the human rights system by introducing legislation, stated to achieve a number of goals shared by the Commission.

Chief Commissioner clarifies that statements regarding direct access are inaccurate

April 13, 2006

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.

Commission order reinforces rights of riders with disabilities to accessible public transit

April 7, 2006

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) has made an order declaring that paratransit services in Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor and London, are not “special programs.” Rather, these services form part of the legal duty on transit providers under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the “Code”) to accommodate riders with disabilities who cannot access conventional public transit.

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