Introduction to human rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code (revised 2014).
By way of introduction, I am the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). On December 16, 2015, the OHRC announced that it will use its mandate under the Ontario Human Right Code (Code) to examine the overrepresentation of Indigenous and racialized children and youth in the child welfare system.
Toronto – After intervening in the case of The Estate of Kulmiye Aganeh v. Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the OHRC has reached a settlement with the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (formerly known as Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene).
A few months ago, I visited Thunder Bay and had the opportunity to speak with members of the Indigenous community. Community members told me about their concerns related to policing and child welfare, trafficking of Indigenous women and girls, and everyday racism in almost every facet of their lives including employment, housing, healthcare and retail. Most strikingly, people talked about being “garbaged” – literally having garbage thrown at them while walking down the street, all because of their Indigenous ancestry. I brought these concerns to the leaders that I met later in the day, including the Mayor and police.
The Government has the power to take action to protect people who are being harmed by racism and Islamophobia, and we call on it to boldly do so. There is considerable scope for the Government to develop positions, policies and programs that promote inclusion and respect, especially for racial and religious minorities. These types of actions are consistent with the values of Canadians and the Charter.
One year ago today – January 29, 2017 – Canadians learned of the mass murder of six people, and the wounding of many others at a Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Quebec City. I was riveted by my tiny screen as the events were reported in real time on social media late into the night – a bystander watching from behind a glass window powerless to do anything.
Toronto - The OHRC provides tools and approaches that individuals, organizations and sectors across Ontario can use in their own efforts to advance human rights. A new reference guide, Anti-racism, Anti-discrimination for Municipalities, offers tips and templates municipalities can apply to their work.
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.
Toronto - Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall and the Ontario Human Rights Commission today launched “Right at home: Report on the consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario.” This report, which follows a year of public sessions, meetings and submissions involving hundreds of individuals and organizations across the province, focuses on housing as a human right, and sets out a framework for collective action to identify, remove and prevent discrimination in rental housing.