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Employment

The Code states that every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination or harassment because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.

The right to “equal treatment with respect to employment”  covers every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship, including job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship terms, dismissal and layoffs. It also covers rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, shift work, discipline and performance evaluations. 

Relevant policies and guides: 

  1. Re: Initial Proposed Employment Accessibility Standard

    May 22, 2009 - The Commission recognizes the hard work of the Employment Accessibility Standards Development Committee in preparing the initial proposed Standard that sets out important requirements to help workplaces become fully accessible for applicants and employees with disabilities. The Commission’s submission details a number of issues for consideration by the Committee as it works to develop the final proposed standard.
  2. Letter to the Minister of Labour regarding Bill 168 Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009

    May 22, 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission believes this type of legislation, which includes requirements for employers to develop policies and programs, provide information, have regard for domestic violence, and take action, is very important for helping to protect and promote the human rights of individuals at work. While the Bill’s definition of “workplace violence” is restricted to “physical force” against a co-worker, the Commission is pleased to see provisions in the Bill addressing both violence and harassment, including a definition of harassment covering both unwelcome conduct and comment, consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  3. Letter to the Attorney General regarding Police record checks on potential jurors

    June 4, 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission was concerned to learn this past week about broad police record checks being conducted on some jury pools. While this matter raises important issues around disclosure, impartiality, judicial fairness, privacy, and informed consent, there are also human rights implications for individuals with mental health disabilities under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
  4. Exceptions

    From: Policy on creed and the accommodation of religious observances

    Discrimination or unequal treatment may be legally defensible in certain circumstances.

    1. Participating in special interest organizations

    First, s. 18 of the Code provides that religious, philanthropic, educational, fraternal or social institutions that are primarily engaged in serving the interests of persons who are identified by their creed, may give priority to persons of the same creed with regard to participation or membership.

  5. Testing

    From: Policy on HIV/AIDS-related discrimination

    Testing for HIV infection would constitute a medical examination. It is the OHRC's position that any medical examination carried out for employment purposes should focus on verifying whether or not an individual is able to perform the essential duties of a particular job.

    Employers considering any form of employment-related medical testing should refer to the OHRC's Human Rights At Work, 3rd. Ed. (2008) and the Policy on Employment-Related Medical Information.

  6. OHRC letter to the former Ontario Insurance Commission

    From: Discussion paper: Human rights issues in insurance

    November 28, 1997 - In accordance with PART IV, s.36 of the Ontario Insurance Commission’s (“the OIC”) Rules of Practice and Procedure for Commissioner, Superintendent and Advisory Board Hearings, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) submits this letter of comment with respect to the public hearing to be held on an application filed by (the insurer) for an automobile insurance classification system and automobile insurance rates.
  7. 5. Undue hardship

    From: Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate

    The Code sets out only three considerations. This means that no other considerations, other than those that can be brought into those three standards, can be properly considered under Ontario law. There have been cases that have included such other factors as employee morale or conflict with a collective agreement. However, the Ontario legislature has seen fit to enact a higher standard by specifically limiting undue hardship to three particular components.

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