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COVID-19 and human rights

Actions consistent with a human rights-based approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic

This document sets out various actions that governments can take that are broadly consistent with a human rights-based approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions are neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. Instead, they are a compilation of possible responses that are consistent with Canada and Ontario’s human rights obligations.

Op-Ed in the Toronto Star: Canada must put human rights at the centre of its COVID-19 response

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, it has the potential to touch all 7.8 billion of us. Most of us have not lived through another crisis so permeable to the boundaries of nationality, race, creed and social class. COVID-19 has already taken tens of thousands of innocent lives around the world and, in the process, exposed our common hopes and fears.

COVID-19 and Ontario’s Human Rights Code – Questions and Answers

March 18, 2020

Last updated October 09, 2020

The OHRC has developed a series of questions and answers for understanding your human rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These questions and answers cover the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, tenants and landlords, as well as residential institutions.

Disclaimer: The answers to the questions posed do not constitute legal advice. The OHRC continues to monitor the evolving situation and will update or add to these questions and answers on an ongoing basis as needed.


OHRC policy statement on the COVID-19 pandemic

March 13, 2020

Following the lead of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) urges Ontarians to keep human rights principles under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (Code), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and relevant international human rights treaties at the centre of decision-making during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.