August 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission, (the “Commission”) commends the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (“Ministry”) for its work on an improved strategy to meet the needs of Ontarians with mental illnesses and addictions. The Commission is pleased to provide its input on this discussion paper, particularly with respect to the sections on Stigma and Healthy Communities.
This document explains the legal backdrop for the Commission’s Policy Framework. It is divided into two main sections. The first provides an overview and summary of key legal principles from some significant legal decisions. This section aims to help readers understand the relevant legal background when seeking to conciliate or otherwise reconcile competing rights claims. The second part of the document surveys the leading cases that deal with competing rights. It also provides examples of situations where the leading cases, and the key principles from them, have been applied by courts and tribunals. It is divided by the types of rights conflicts that most commonly arise. The cases are discussed in some detail as the specific factual context of each case is so important to the rights reconciliation process.
For some time now, Canada has experienced immigrant and refugee movements from countries in which FGM is commonly practised. In Toronto, community groups have estimated that there are 70,000 immigrants and refugees from Somalia and 10,000 from Nigeria, countries in which FGM is commonly practised. As already noted, because of the nature of FGM, reliable statistics on the incidence of its practice are not available.
As discussed above, the intersectional approach is the preferred one for complaints and cases that cite multiple grounds. Nevertheless, there are other ways in which multiple grounds matters are being handled by human rights bodies, courts and international bodies such as the United Nations (the “UN”). In some instances, the grounds are looked at sequentially to see whether discrimination can be made out on the basis of each one in turn.
A. United States
The Harvard Civil Rights Project Report
Protection against discrimination on the basis of family status is relatively new in Canada. Provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of family status were added to a number of human rights statutes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Our international, national and provincial / territorial framework for human rights obligations in Canada provides a solid foundation for a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.
1.1. The Code context
The Code states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The provisions of the Code are aimed at creating a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person, so that each person feels a part of the community and feels able to contribute to the community.
Effective human rights organizational change requires a solid understanding of the legal and ethical requirements of human rights in Ontario, and the elements of effective organizational change.