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Sexual Orientation Policy released by Human Rights Commission

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February 25, 2000

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For immediate publication

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission released today its Policy on discrimination and harassment because of sexual orientation. The policy outlines protections offered to all Ontarians on the ground of sexual orientation and same-sex partnership status.

"Ontario’s Human Rights Code and several other laws were recently amended to reflect the protections offered to same-sex partners by Bill 5," said Chief Commissioner Norton.

Bill 5 was the omnibus legislation amending 67 statutes, which affected same-sex couples and received Royal Assent last fall. As a result of this legislation, the Human Rights Code was amended to include "same-sex partnership status" as a separate protected ground. Everyone, including gays and lesbians, in conjugal relationships now has the right to equal treatment in the areas of services, goods and facilities, accommodation, contracts, employment and membership in vocational associations and trade unions.

The sexual orientation policy was developed to help the public and Commission staff to gain a better understanding of how the Code protects Ontarians of all sexual orientations and to sensitize them to the issues faced by persons on the basis of sexual orientation and same-sex partnership status. It also aims to raise awareness among service providers, employers and landlords of their obligations under the Code.

"The policy is in keeping with the broader goals of the Code, which promotes the inherent dignity and worth of everyone and the right to be treated equally without discrimination," noted Mr. Norton. In the past few years, the Commission has developed policies on various issues, such as pregnancy, and racial slurs and harassment.

For copies of the Commission’s policies and publications, please call:

1-800-387-9080 (toll-free) (416) 314-4500 (in Toronto)
1-800-308-5561 (TTY toll-free) (416) 326-0603 (TTY Local)
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