April 2014 - People who are transgender, or gender non-conforming, come from all walks of life. Yet they are one of the most disadvantaged groups in society. Trans people routinely experience discrimination, harassment and even violence because their gender identity or gender expression is different from their birth-assigned sex. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) people are protected from discrimination and harassment because of gender identity and gender expression in employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations.
Under the Code, service providers have a duty to provide services that are free from discrimination and harassment. “Services” is a very broad category and includes services designed for everyone (shops, restaurants or education), as well as those that apply specifically to people with mental health disabilities and addictions (the mental health system or addiction treatment centres).
Work, paid or unpaid, is a fundamental part of realizing dignity, self-determination and a person’s full potential in society. In Ontario, people are protected from discrimination based on disability in employment. Employment includes paid employment, volunteer work, student internships, special job placements, and temporary, contract, seasonal or casual employment. Many consumer/survivors or people with addictions expressed their desire to work or volunteer, but could not without the accommodation they needed.
HIV/AIDS as a disability (section 10)
The OHRC recognizes that AIDS and other HIV-related medical conditions are disabilities under the Code. "Disability" is defined under section (s.) 10 of the Code. All persons infected with HIV or with HIV-related illness, or who are believed to have the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, are fully protected against discrimination in services (s. 1); housing (s. 2); contracts (s. 3); employment (s. 5); and membership in trade unions (s. 6).