May 2012 - What follows is a discussion of significant legal decisions dealing with religious and creed rights in Canada. The focus is on decisions made since the Commission issued its 1996 Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of religious observances. It does not review every decision, but those that may be important from a human rights perspective. In addition to a description of the case law, trends and areas where it is anticipated the case law will continue to evolve or be clarified are identified. The review will form the basis for further research and dialogue concerning the law in Canada as it relates to this significant area of human rights.
The mandate of the Ontario Human Rights Commission flows from Ontario’s Human Rights Code. The Code calls upon all Ontarians to work toward “the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province” (Preamble to the Code).
Toronto - The Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 30 is now in effect. As a result, the Ontario Human Rights Commission will no longer accept complaints of discrimination. All new applications alleging discrimination are to be filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). Complaints that were filed with the Commission before June 30, 2008 can be changed to applications to the HRTO if the Complainant takes an active step to do so.
This document explains the legal backdrop for the Commission’s Policy Framework. It is divided into two main sections. The first provides an overview and summary of key legal principles from some significant legal decisions. This section aims to help readers understand the relevant legal background when seeking to conciliate or otherwise reconcile competing rights claims. The second part of the document surveys the leading cases that deal with competing rights. It also provides examples of situations where the leading cases, and the key principles from them, have been applied by courts and tribunals. It is divided by the types of rights conflicts that most commonly arise. The cases are discussed in some detail as the specific factual context of each case is so important to the rights reconciliation process.