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Human Rights Commission sent 170 complaints to Tribunal this past year

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May 11, 2006

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For immediate publication

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.

Six of the cases referred to the Tribunal stem from the same incident, and allege that members of an Ontario police service racially profiled Black men at a Somali restaurant. Specifically, the complainants allege that after calling police to remove a car from blocking the restaurant parking lot, they themselves were questioned and detained because of their race, claiming police ignored the White individuals in the restaurant altogether.

Another series of cases recently referred to the Tribunal deal with alleged acts of racial discrimination in eastern Ontario, where a group of South Asian taxi drivers claimed that a taxi company denied them employment by refusing to accept job applications from non-white drivers, and that since that time, they have been subjected to further discrimination when trying to pick up customers on their own.

A third group of cases referred by the Commission deals with allegations of discrimination based on citizenship made by complainants who work for a multinational corporation that manufactures defense equipment for a number of countries, including the United States. In trying to address legal requirements dealing with national security, the company did not allow persons with dual citizenship (other than American), to work on defense equipment, nor did it apply for a security clearance for these persons. As a result, numerous employees were removed from their jobs, and some even terminated.

Other notable cases referred to the Tribunal include:

  • A single mother who complained that a school board discriminated against her because of her marital status by refusing to bus her children to school from both her neighbourhood and that of her ex-husband, with whom she shares custody.
  • A foreign-trained doctor alleging that the requirements for residency training placements discriminate against immigrants trying to enter the medical profession.
  • A same-sex couple alleging discrimination against two mortgage companies for not recognizing land registry certificates identifying them as co-owners of a property.
  • A firefighter alleging he was forced to retire before age 65 because of provisions in his collective bargaining agreement, and who filed complaints against a municipality and its firefighters union.

None of the allegations in these cases have been proven, and the parties could agree to settle their matter through mediation at the Tribunal anytime.

For more information on the Commission and its policies, please visit the Commission's Web site.

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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