2006 - Public transit in cities across Ontario is fundamental to the ability of many people to participate meaningfully in the life of their communities. Public transportation is used to access employment, education, public and social services and community activities. Equal access by persons with disabilities to public transportation is a right protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code (“Code”). Equal access to transit services in not a reality for many citizens of the Province and despite its importance in our daily lives, barriers to public transit services remain.
Goods, services and facilities
You have the right to be free from discrimination when you receive goods or services, or use facilities. For example, this right applies to:
- stores, restaurants and bars
- hospitals and health services
- schools, universities and colleges
- public places, amenities and utilities such as recreation centres, public washrooms, malls and parks
- services and programs provided by municipal and provincial governments, including social assistance and benefits, and public transit
- services provided by insurance companies
- classified advertisement space in a newspaper.
Relevant policies and guides:
July 2006 - For the past five years, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the "Commission") has been working closely with the restaurant industry to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities, older individuals, and families with young children. Moving Towards Barrier-Free Services is the OHRC’s final public report on this initiative.
2007 - Three complainants filed complaints against various film exhibitors and distributors regarding accessibility of movies to the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing community which were referred by the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The complainants and the exhibitor parties (the “Exhibitors”) have agreed to a settlement which includes an incremental increase in the number of theatre complexes with the capability to exhibit movies with closed captioning.
January 2001 - Access to public transportation services is a human rights issue. Transportation is fundamental to the capacity of most persons to function in society. Transit services facilitate integration into public and social life in our communities, as well as allow people to access work, and basic goods, services and facilities. However, certain persons who are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code face significant barriers in using transit services. While the issue of transit accessibility is most often discussed in the context of persons with disabilities, it also impacts on others, such as older persons and families with young children.
2006 - Education is central to the life of an individual in the community. It provides opportunities for personal, social, and academic growth and development. It sets the stage for later life experiences, most especially in employment. It is also an important venue for integration into the life of the community.
2002 - Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every citizen of Ontario has a right to equal treatment in receiving public services, which include public transit services.Transit providers have a legal responsibility to ensure that transit systems are accessible to all Ontarians. For many, access to public transit is a necessity - in order to obtain an education, find and keep a job, or use basic public services like health care.
2002 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today released Education and Disability: Human Rights Issues in Ontario’s Education System, and announced plans for a public consultation on disability issues in Ontario’s education system this fall.
July 2006 - The Ontario Human Rights Code creates a right to barrier-free restaurants, shops, hotels, movie theatres and other public places, and obliges businesses operating in Ontario to make their facilities accessible. A failure to provide equal access to a facility or equal treatment in a service constitutes a violation of the Human Rights Code. The only available defence to such discrimination is showing that providing access or services would constitute undue hardship having regard to cost, outside sources of funding, or health and safety factors.
July 2013 - When an employer requires people applying for jobs to have “Canadian experience,” or where a regulatory body requires “Canadian experience” before someone can get accredited, they may create barriers for newcomers to Canada. Requiring “Canadian experience” could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), which protects people from discrimination based on grounds such as race, ancestry, colour, place of origin and ethnic origin.
This section allows separate washrooms, examination areas, change rooms and other services that are men-only or women-only. Trans people should be provided access to facilities that are consistent with their lived gender identity.
 For more information, see the OHRC’s Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity (2000).