Court decisions such as “O’Malley” have established that organizations governed by the Code have a duty to accommodate individuals’ creed observances up to the point of undue hardship, regardless of whether established organizational norms, standards, rules or requirements adversely affect creed adherents’ ability to follow the tenets of their creed by design, intent or simply effect.
The Code includes specific defences and exceptions that allow behaviour that would otherwise be discriminatory. Some of these recognize the associational rights of creed-based groups to give preference in certain circumstances to persons who share the same creed beliefs and practices.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, discrimination because of religion (creed) is against the law. Everyone should have access to the same opportunities and benefits, and be treated with equal dignity and respect, regardless of their religion. Religion includes the practices, beliefs and observances that are part of a faith or religion. It does not include personal moral, ethical or political views. Nor does it include religions that promote violence or hate towards others, or that violate criminal law.
The Code does not define “employment,” but the Commission interprets this word in a broad way. Employment includes full-time and part-time work, contract work, work done by temporary staff from agencies, probationary periods and even includes volunteer work.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)
and the City of Timmins invite you to join us at:
Taking it local: An update on human rights
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
McIntyre Community Centre
85 McIntyre Road, Timmins, Ontario P4N 8R8
5.1 Ontario Human Rights Code
Under Part 1 of the Code, people are protected from discrimination and harassment based on creed in five “social areas”:
Adams, Michael. (2009). Muslims in Canada: Findings from the 2007 Environics Survey. Horizons, 10(2), pp. 19-26. Government of Canada, Policy Research Initiative. http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2009/policyresearch/
Systemic faithism refers to the ways that cultural and societal norms, systems, structures and institutions directly or indirectly, consciously or unwittingly, promote, sustain or entrench differential (dis)advantage for individuals and groups based on their faith (understood broadly to include religious and non-religious belief systems). Systemic faithism can adversely affect both religious and non-religious persons, depending on the context, as discussed in the examples below.
From: Annual report 1999-2000
Breach of Settlement
Brad Bergman v. 474134 Ontario Limited, c.o.b. as Westwind Inn, Kristi Jensen
Quereshi v. The Board of Education for the City of Toronto
Alfred Abouchar v. Metropolitan Toronto School Board et al.
Bob Brown v. Famous Players Inc. and Capital Square Theatre)
While the courts have not set a clear formula or analytical approach for dealing with competing rights, they have provided some guidance. Where rights appear to be in conflict, Charter principles require decision-makers to try to “reconcile” both sets of rights.