"Whether our families have been here for centuries, decades or days, deep down, we are all the same -- with the same basic hopes and dreams. It is up to us to work and build and dream together so that we can make Ontario even stronger for the generations to come." (Premier McGuinty, 25 March 2006)
Human rights are the foundation of an inclusive, successful society and a thriving economy. The barriers produced by discrimination stop progress; they create an underclass that cannot contribute to the level of their ability and ultimately lead to tension, conflict and discord.
The Government has emphasized the need to identify and deal with the root causes of discrimination. The OHRC has responded to that objective by realigning its strategic goals and refocusing its organizational structure to deliver those goals effectively.
While tackling discrimination on a reactive case-by-case basis helps protects the rights of individuals, dealing with the sources of prejudice requires pro-active, long-term efforts; real change takes time.
The OHRC will continue to develop leading-edge human rights policy. We will research, investigate, monitor and report on discrimination that hurts the most vulnerable people in our society. For example, we will continue to work with police services to end stereotyping and with transit providers to make their systems accessible to all. We will share our knowledge and guidance through public education and outreach programs designed to make the fight against inequity and intolerance a common responsibility. By bringing partners in the community together, as in our Asian Canadian Anglers initiative, we are raising awareness of problems – and solutions.
Ontario’s rapidly changing demographic mix makes the task complex and urgent. In the context of an economic slowdown protecting the rights of marginalized people it is more important than ever.