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Stronger actions required to address human rights concerns

July 4, 2002

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Keith Norton today released the Year-end results of the Ontario Human Rights Commission for the fiscal year 2001 - 2002. "This year, we have seen tremendous challenges both globally and locally in the field of human rights," stated Mr. Norton. He added, "Since the adoption of the Human Rights Code forty years ago, Ontario has become one of the most diverse communities in the world and gained international renown as a province of tolerance. Although we would like to believe that tolerance has become part of our core values, sadly, the reactions to the tragic events of last September 11th underline the need for constant vigilance. We need to continue working hard to advance the recognition of the dignity and worth of every Ontario resident, and to accomplish our common goals, we need the Code and an effective Commission."

Advancing Human Rights for older persons

June 13, 2002

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today released its Policy on Discrimination against Older Persons because of Age. This document provides an in-depth look at age discrimination as it relates to present protections in the Human Rights Code. The Policy was developed to help the public and Commission staff to gain a better understanding of how the Code protects older Ontarians and to sensitize them to the issues faced by these persons. It also aims to raise awareness among service providers, employers and landlords of their obligations under the Code.

Ontario Human Rights Commission releases Consultation Report on human rights and public transit service in Ontario

April 22, 2002

Toronto - There is a legal obligation under the Ontario Human Rights Code for equal access to public transit services without discrimination based on prohibited grounds, yet persons with disabilities, older persons and families with young children face difficulties in accessing transit on a daily basis. Human Rights and Public Transit Services in Ontario summarizes the input received from transit providers, seniors' organizations, disability consumers groups, advocacy groups and individuals during the Ontario Human Rights Commission's consultation on public transit. The report was released today at the Ontario Transportation Expo Conference and Trade Show in Toronto.

Insurance industry urged to avoid using enumerated grounds of discrimination and genetic testing information for measuring risk

February 14, 2002

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today released a report on consultations it conducted on human rights issues in insurance. In accordance with the Commission's mandate, the objective of the consultation was to promote awareness, understanding and advancement of human rights in the area of insurance and to examine alternatives to current practices by obtaining input from experts and regulators in the insurance industry as well as from consumers. Access to insurance in our society raises significant issues about distributive justice and fairness in the public sphere, issues that have received scant attention in Canada and in Ontario.

Ontario Human Rights Commission regrets Famous Players decision to close theatres

December 11, 2001

Toronto - Reacting to an implementation plan submitted by Famous Players Theatres in accordance with an earlier decision by a Board of Inquiry, Chief Commissioner Keith Norton stated, "The fact that Famous Players has decided to close the three theatres affected by the Board order well ahead of the deadlines set out by the Board, suggests that this decision is economically motivated. I am disappointed by this decision as it deprives local moviegoers from accessing services at these theatres. Clearly, the closings are based on economic reasons and not related to the decision of the Board."

Ruling in Famous Players Theatres case a victory for Ontarians

September 25, 2001

Toronto - In a recent ruling by a Board of Inquiry (Human Rights), Famous Players Theatres has been ordered to make three of its theatres accessible to persons with disabilities. The theatres to be upgraded are the Uptown, Backstage and Eglinton. The Plaza was also named in the group of inaccessible theatres in the complaint, but Famous Players Theatres chose not to renew its lease.

"Compassion, justice and a renewal of our pledge against hatred should mark this day of mourning", says Chief Commissioner Keith Norton

September 14, 2001

Toronto - Commenting on the horrible tragedy of September 11th, the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Mr Keith Norton, issued a call to civic, religious and community leaders "to jointly take leadership in the fight against hatred and to be vigilant against any backlash which might be directed against innocent persons or communities. It is surely time for a show of solidarity, especially among our major religious groups, to affirm that acts of violence motivated by hate are not justified by the teachings of any faith."

Ontario Human Rights Commission releases action plan for protecting human rights of older Ontarians

June 28, 2001

Toronto - Today, Chief Commissioner Keith Norton released Time for Action: Advancing Human Rights of Older Ontarians, a report that summarizes and reviews input received from individuals, government and community organizations across Ontario during the Commission's consultation on age discrimination.

Ontario Human Rights Commission achieves a current caseload

May 17, 2001

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Keith Norton today released the Ontario Human Rights Commission's year-end results for the fiscal year 2000-2001. In speaking about the Commission's major accomplishments for the year, Mr. Norton stated that, "Five years ago, when I began my first term as Chief Commissioner, I identified a current caseload as a top priority. I am pleased to report that we have accomplished this important goal."

Commission takes action on disability rights: Sends six Hamilton transit cases to public hearing

March 29, 2001

Toronto - Today the Ontario Human Rights Commission sent six disability cases to a Board of Inquiry, challenging the lack of accessibility of transit services in Hamilton, Ontario. The complaints are against the Disabled and Aged Regional Transit System (DARTS), the City of Hamilton, the Ministry of Transportation and the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth.

Commission initiates complaints against the Ministry of Health and West Park Healthcare Centre over restrictive access to assistive devices

March 29, 2001

Toronto - Following a promise made last week to be more proactive when it comes to issues faced by persons with disabilities, the Ontario Human Rights Commission today initiated complaints against the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and its contractor, West Park Healthcare Centre. The complaints cite allegations that the Ministry of Health is acting in breach of the Human Rights Code by funding a program that uses discriminatory age-based eligibility criteria in providing assistive devices.

Ontario Human Rights Commission urges Famous Players to provide financial data

March 8, 2001

Toronto - Reacting to misinformation in recent media coverage of a case involving Famous Players theatres, Chief Commissioner Keith Norton stated that, "There is a pressing need to give some balance to the information that has been provided to the public. I regret having to take the extraordinary step of commenting on a complaint that has not yet been decided on by the Board of Inquiry."

Ontario Human Rights Commission announces partnerships on human rights projects

January 11, 2001

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Keith C. Norton today announced three partnerships to enhance the Commission's efforts to promote understanding of human rights. Working with partners is a key part of the Commission's public education strategy and has been clearly identified by stakeholders as something the Commission must do more of.

Commission releases revised policies

December 22, 2000

Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today released two revised policies. The Commission's Policy on Drug and Alcohol Testing has been updated to reflect the Ontario Court of Appeal's recent decision in Entrop v. Imperial Oil Ltd., a human rights complaint involving the introduction of a workplace policy requiring employees in safety-sensitive positions to disclose a past or current substance abuse problem. In this case, although the problem had occurred eight years earlier and there had been no further incident of substance abuse, the employee was immediately reassigned to another position. The employee subsequently filed a human rights complaint alleging discrimination because of a handicap.

Access for persons with disabilities to secret vote reaffirmed by Human Rights Settlement

December 21, 2000

Toronto - A settlement reached between two voters with visual disabilities and the City of Ottawa could set a standard for future election practices. In complaints filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Mr. Dubois and Mr. Green claimed that they were unable to cast a secret ballot independently as required by law during the 1997 municipal elections because the City could not accommodate their needs during the election process. As a result of the complaint, the City of Ottawa reviewed its practices to ensure that accommodations would be made to facilitate the ability of persons with a visual disability to vote during the 2000 municipal election.

Breastfeeding is a Human Right - New campaign launched

October 2, 2000

Toronto - The Commission today launched a province-wide campaign in partnership with the Infant Feeding Action Coalition (INFACT) Canada and Toronto Public Health to mark World Breastfeeding Week activities.The campaign features a transit ad, which will run on municipal transit vehicles across the province and a platform poster which will appear in high traffic subway stations in Toronto. These advertisements are designed to help eliminate discriminatory practices against mothers and children, and to support the Commission's mandate to increase awareness of human rights and protections for women under the Code.

Ontario Human Rights Commission releases its 1999-2000 Annual Report

September 1, 2000

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Keith Norton today announced the release of the Ontario Human Rights Commission's Annual Report for 1999-2000. The report highlights the Commission's achievements for the period April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2000 and sets out its position on key human rights issues and challenges. The report is available on the Ontario Human Rights Commission Web site:

Ontario Human Rights Commission reduces its caseload

June 23, 2000

Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released its Case Management Report. Key accomplishments include a reduction in the time required to resolve human rights complaints as well as a reduction in the number of cases. The average age of cases now stands at 13 months, down from about 20 months a couple of years ago. The median age of cases has dropped to 9 months.

Refusal to print stationery containing the words "gay and lesbian" ruled discriminatory

March 20, 2000

Toronto - On February 24, a Board of Inquiry ordered Imaging Excellence, a printing company, and its owner, Scott Brockie, to provide printing services to gays and lesbians and their organizations and awarded damages of $5000 in total payable to Ray Brillinger and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, a customer of Imaging Excellence. In its earlier decision released on September 29th, 1999, the Board determined that Imaging Excellence and Mr. Brockie discriminated against Mr. Brillinger when it refused to provide printing services to the Archives.