July 25, 2012 - We are pleased to note that a key objective of the consultation is to develop revised criteria that are in accordance with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario’s decision dated April 11, 2012 in XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services). We trust that this submission is of assistance in your development of revised criteria. We address the questions set out in your Consultation Document, and make additional observations.
Introduction to human rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code (revised 2014).
Discrimination may be unique or distinct when it occurs based on two or more Code grounds. Such discrimination can be said to be “intersectional.” The concept of intersectional discrimination recognizes that people’s lives involve multiple interrelated identities, and that marginalization and exclusion based on Code grounds may exist because of how these identities intersect.
Trans people and other gender non-conforming individuals are often judged by their physical appearance for not fitting and conforming to stereotypical norms about what it means to be a “man” or “woman.” They experience stigmatization, prejudice, bias and fear on a daily basis. While some may see trans people as inferior, others may lack awareness and understanding about what it means to be trans.
As part of It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, the Government of Ontario is hosting its 2015 Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Toronto from November 19 – 20.
9.1 The Ontario Human Rights Code
Sections 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9 of the Code set out the basic right to equal treatment without discrimination because of sex in services, goods and facilities, housing, contracts, employment and vocational associations.
Sections 7(1) and (2) set out a person's right to be free from harassment based on sex and inappropriate gender-related comment and conduct in housing and employment.
Section 7(1) states:
Multiple grounds in equality and human rights jurisprudence
Some courts and tribunals have started to acknowledge the need to make special provision for discrimination based on multiple grounds and to recognize the social, economic and historical context in which it takes place. However, despite these advancements, the courts’ understanding of a proper intersectional approach is still in its infancy. What follows is a discussion of recent cases in which a move towards a multiple grounds or intersectional analysis is evidenced in either a majority or dissenting opinion.
Adding the personal touch
We provided education to more than 7,800 people at 90 events across Ontario. Target audiences included private- and public-sector employers, human resources professionals and unions; health, education, police, corrections, housing, newcomer support and other service providers; mediators, regulatory bodies; arbitrators and lawyers.
2.1 Defining sexual harassment
Section 10 of the Code defines harassment as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome.” Using this definition, more than one event must take place for there to be a violation of the Code. However, depending on the circumstances, one incident could be significant or substantial enough to be sexual harassment.