March 8, 2016 - Through its public education, policy development, outreach and litigation functions, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) continues to work with community partners to challenge gender inequality and promote and advance the human rights of women and trans people in Ontario. Here is some of the work the OHRC has done in the past year:
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:
March 8, 2016 - Some Ontario employers require female employees to dress in a sexualized or gender-specific way at work, such as expecting women to wear high heels, short skirts, tight clothing or low-cut tops. These kinds of dress codes reinforce stereotypical and sexist notions about how women should look and may violate Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Mr. Tang alleged that the respondents, McMaster University, the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Centre for Student Development and the Medical Sciences Graduate Program, breached the Human Rights Code by failing to meet their substantive and procedural obligations to accommodate him.
February 25, 2015 - In the past, people who experienced discrimination or harassment by police had to decide whether to file an officer misconduct complaint under the Police Services Act (“PSA”) or an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”). The PSA provides a public complaints process, revised through amendments in 2009 which also established the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (“OIPRD”). If they filed both, there was a real risk that their HRTO application would be dismissed.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Ministry of Education have finalized a settlement of a human rights complaint initiated by the Commission against the Ministry and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in July 2005. A settlement was reached separately with the TDSB in November 2005.
With the recent passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005, accessibility issues are now governed by complementary aspects of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA, the Ontario Building Code and, in the case of existing buildings, the Ontario Fire Code.
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.
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.
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 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.