Recent events have triggered a nationwide discussion about the continued occurrence of sexual harassment and violence against women throughout Canadian society. Sexual harassment is against the law. The Ontario Human Rights Code Code prohibits sexual harassment in employment (and in services, housing, and other “social areas”).
October 31, 2014 - Dear Ms Leilani Farha, The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission in response to your survey regarding the responsibilities of sub-national governments with respect to the right to adequate housing.
Please find attached the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) letter to Hon. Kathleen Wynne regarding sexual and gender-based harassment in employment.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released an updated version of its Policy on preventing discrimination because of pregnancy and breastfeeding in an eLaunch today.
An hour-long webinar – available at www.ohrc.on.ca – provides an overview of the policy, offers a Q&A opportunity, and features several speakers.
For immediate release
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released its 2013-2014 Annual Report.
Commenting on her final report before stepping down as OHRC Chief Commissioner this November, Barbara Hall said, “Our annual report provides a snapshot of the Commission’s efforts over the last 12 months to create real change and advance human rights in Ontario, with the help of partners across the province.”
Chief Paul Cook
President, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
Dear Chief Cook,
On behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), I would like to congratulate the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) for its updated version of the LEARN Guideline for Police Record Checks with a clearer presumption against disclosure of non-conviction records.
Please find attached the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) submission in response to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) review of its policy on Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The OHRC supports the recommendations of the report released yesterday by the Honourable Frank Iacobucci.
As we said in our report on Police use of Force and Mental Health, “the challenge will be to put recommendations into action – and the time to do that is now.”
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) took another step to eliminate racial profiling in Ontario by speaking out in the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) systemic review of the OPP practices for obtaining voluntary DNA samples. The OHRC is troubled by allegations that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) engaged in racial profiling when requesting DNA samples from migrant workers near Vienna, Ontario as part of a sexual assault investigation in October and November 2013.
Chief Administrative Officer, City of Thorold
Dear Mr. Fabiano,
I am writing in response to your request for advice regarding the issue raised by people of Aboriginal heritage in your community who find objectionable the current Black Hawk warrior image used by local hockey teams and their associations in Thorold, Ontario.
Dear Dean Moran, Please find attached the submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) regarding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2013-14 Legislative Review.
For immediate release
Toronto – A new policy, released today, aims to provide user-friendly guidance on how to define, assess, handle and resolve human rights issues related to mental health and addiction disabilities. The Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions was released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).
Re: Report PG 33.2, “Amendments for all Zoning By-laws Group Home Separation and Occupant Numbers"
I am writing in support of the steps that are recommended in Report no. 14-29 – that instead of putting a licensing system in place for rental housing, the City of Guelph use existing bylaws to deal with property concerns. Licensing can be a good tool if its focus is on Building Code, Fire Code and health and safety standards, but it is not an appropriate option for dealing with the actions of the people who may live in the housing. This is why we concur with the report’s recommendation to expand existing programs to target the actual problem areas, without adding an extra cost to tenants across the City.
I was delighted to see the prompt response of Mayor Susan Fennell and other community leaders to the anti-immigration flyer. At the Ontario Human Rights Commission an important part of our work is helping communities deal with issues of tension and conflict. But we know that the most effective answer to people who would try to create division between us is to unite in opposing such efforts. Speaking out strongly in favour of respect and inclusion helps make us all stronger. Well done, Brampton!
We thank the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) for listening to concerns raised by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and other advocacy and community groups in previous deputations. In particular, we acknowledge that the TPSB has set out a definition of public safety as well as disciplinary measures in the event that the policy is breached.
However, we have concerns about the policy as drafted, including those described below.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission today launched a new policy to help protect the rights of trans individuals and people of diverse genders. The Policy on preventing discrimination because of gender identity and gender expression looks at how to remove barriers and eliminate discrimination.
The Toronto Police Services Board’s Draft Policy is an important step in its efforts to monitor and oversee reforms to the current approach to Community Contacts. The Draft Policy refers to important principles including disengagement, rights knowledge, and compliance with the Human Rights Code and the Charter. We agree that surveys to gauge public satisfaction regarding street checks, and data collection in a separate database to monitor for racial bias in street checks, are valuable.
In 2011, four individuals and the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation filed an application against the Attorney General of Canada and the Attorney General of Ontario. The application alleged that Canada and Ontario have violated their rights under sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by creating and maintaining conditions that lead to and sustain homelessness and inadequate housing.
The OHRC provided guidance to the Township of Scugog about human rights principles relating to housing, as they considered amendments to their Zoning Bylaw relating to co-owned housing geared toward older Ontarians and people with disabilities. Following input from the community and the OHRC, the Township’s decision was to not create a special category, but treat the housing the same as any other residential housing.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is releasing a public statement (attached) clarifying the legitimate status of preferential employment and contracting provisions within Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code). Our position is that the preferential employment and contracting provisions in IBAs are consistent with “special programs” under section 14 of the Code.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission today called on the Government of Ontario, police services and others to implement the Coroner’s inquest recommendations into the deaths of Reyal Jardine-Douglas, Sylvia Klibingaitis, and Michael Eligon.
I understand that the issue of a councillor, or other people, breastfeeding at Oshawa City Council chambers may be considered by Council. The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Discrimination Because of Pregnancy and Breastfeeding contains our interpretation of the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code relating to pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Recent references to a transgender person in a column and in letters to the editor are of concern to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, because they advance some common misinformation that has caused serious harm to the transgender community.
Thank you for receiving the Commission’s deputation on racial profiling and carding on November 18, 2013. We understand that the Toronto Police Services Board (the TPSB”) has retained Frank Addario to provide an independent legal opinion on carding, and that he has a broad mandate to look at “the entire process of interactions between police officers and members of the public”.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide our comments to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s Land Use Planning and Appeal System Review. Please find attached the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s written submission.
Toronto - In recognition of the U.N. International Human Rights Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released a new and Improved edition of its popular school package entitled, Teaching Human Rights in Ontario (THRIO). This edition focuses on Ontario’s Human Rights Code, its human rights system, and most recent developments in human rights policy and case law.
Lodging houses are an important form of affordable housing for many vulnerable groups identified by Human Rights Code grounds, including residents who receive public assistance, racialized persons, people with disabilities, newcomers, older and younger people, and single women. For this reason, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) offers the following comments on the proposed lodging house licensing bylaw and the accompanying zoning bylaw amendment.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) continues to have significant human rights concerns about racial profiling and its impact on racialized and Aboriginal Peoples.
Community organizations representing various communities of colour are organizing a day of dialogue to build solidarity with the Aboriginal Communities to promote truth and reconciliation. The event “From Remembrance to Reconciliation - A Shared Community Dialogue on Our Roles as Treaty Peoples" taking place today at Osgoode Professional Development, 1 Dundas Street West, 26th floor, Room C, will also mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) would like to bring several items to the attention of the Planning and Growth Management Committee as the Committee considers the Chief Planner’s reports on group homes and dwelling room accommodations at its October 22, 2013 meeting.
On September 13, 2012, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released Minds That Matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions. This report outlines what the OHRC heard in its largest-ever policy consultation, and sets out 54 recommendations for government, housing providers, employers, service providers and other parties across Ontario. The OHRC also made 26 commitments in this report to address human rights issues that affect people with mental health disabilities and addictions.
Toronto – The mental health needs of prison inmates is the focus of a landmark settlement reached today.
On August 13th, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario released its decision on a human rights application, R.C. v. District School Board of Niagara.
Christian Horizons and the Ontario Human Rights Commission are pleased to announce a partnership initiative to enhance diversity within the CH workforce, strengthening CH's mission to serve people living with developmental disabilities. As part of the initiative, CH will be welcoming applications for future vacancies in support worker and program manager positions from all persons regardless of creed.
Over the past several months, City staff have been in contact with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) as the City considers its options for licencing rental housing in Guelph. We are pleased to see that some of this discussion is reflected in references to human rights in the Rental Housing Licensing Cost-Benefit Analysis report.
National Aboriginal Day is an opportunity for all Canadians
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released a report on its inquiry into rental housing licensing in the City of Waterloo. The report outlines what the OHRC heard, identifies the City’s response to some concerns, gives recommendations for advancing human rights, and refers to two parts of the bylaw where human rights issues remain.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (“the OHRC”) understands that, on October 31, 2012, City Council approved zoning by-law amendment number Z-8063, permitting a methadone clinic to be established under certain conditions at 425 Wharncliffe Road. The OHRC further understands that, while Council approved this amendment, it applied a holding provision which required a public site plan meeting be held.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released a report on its inquiry into rental housing licensing in the City of North Bay. The report outlines what the OHRC heard, identifies the City’s response to some concerns, gives recommendations for advancing human rights moving forward, and also refers to one part of the bylaw where human rights issues remain.
Toronto – A new survey launched today by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) asks for public input on definitions for the new grounds of “gender identity” and “gender expression” that were added in June 2012 as grounds of discrimination under the Code.
A report on second year activities undertaken as part of a joint Project Charter with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) was released today by the Windsor Police Service (WPS), the Windsor Police Services Board (WPSB) and the Ontario Police College (OPC).
Dear Dr. Mukherjee, I wish to commend the Toronto Police Services Board's (the "TPSB") approval of a project to collect and analyze data related to contact cards and the pattern of contact between the police and members of the community in general including young people from certain racialized communities. I also understand that the TPSB is seeking an opinion from the City Solicitor on the legality of the practice of carding and the issuance of receipts, which engages the issue of human rights-based data collection and analysis.
Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) joins human rights commissions and agencies across Canada and around the world in celebrating the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The day pays tribute to the tragic events of March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa when 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed as they protested against apartheid. Canada was one of the first countries to support the UN initiative.
Dear Minister, Please find attached the submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) regarding your Ministry’s proposed changes to the barrier-free requirements of the Ontario Building Code Regulation.
Marking International Women’s Day on March 8, Barbara Hall, President of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), today announced that the association has released a motion addressed to the Government of Canada.
Letter to the editor, National Post - Some people will be amazed by the editorial board’s suggestion that “racism, sexism and homophobia have become rare in Canadian public life.” That is clearly not the experience of young black men or aboriginal people, or of women who are fired when they get pregnant or of LGBT youth bullied at school.
Opinion Editorial, Globe and Mail - A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada was very, well, Canadian. A young Muslim woman wanted to testify in court while wearing her niqab, saying her religious beliefs required it – and that she had the right to do so. The accused objected, claiming their right to a fair trial would be affected if they could not see the face of the witness. Which right trumps the other?