Introduction to human rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code (revised 2014).
by Renu Mandhane
In 2007, Ashley Smith died in federal custody in Kitchener, Ont., after spending extended periods of time in segregation (or solitary confinement). In 2010, Edward Snowshoe died by suicide while in custody in Edmonton, Alta., after spending 162 days in segregation. These cases have become emblematic of the incredible problems with the continued use of segregation in prisons.
2015 - The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody the right to be free from discrimination in five parts of society – called social areas – based on one or more grounds. The five social areas are: employment, housing, services and facilities (such as education, health care, police, government, shops or restaurants), unions and vocational associations, and contracts or agreements.
October 29, 2015 - Dear Premier Wynne, There is a clear connection between violence against women and the disparate social and economic status women face in our society, and indeed, across the globe. It is with respect to this disparate social and economic status, particularly that of Indigenous women in our province, that I write this letter.
What protection does the Ontario Human Rights Code offer?
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. It provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. Indigenous peoples, including status, non-status, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, are included in these protections.
The Code prohibits discrimination and harassment based on 17 personal attributes – called grounds. Creed is one of the protected grounds.
February 29, 2016 - The OHRC is concerned that segregation is being used in a manner that violates prisoners’ rights under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. As a result, the OHRC is calling upon MCSCS to end this practice and, in the meantime implement interim measures, including strict time limits and external oversight, to reduce the harm of segregation on vulnerable prisoners.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), in collaboration with Indigenous knowledge keepers, Elders, academics and organizations, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, hosted “Indigenous Peoples and human rights: A dialogue” at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto from February 21-23, 2018.