April 6, 2016 - Dear Minister, I write in regard to your Ministry’s current consultation involving certain provincial and demonstration schools for students with disabilities. Under Ontario’s Human Rights Code, students with disabilities have a right to be free from discrimination. This includes the duty to accommodate students’ disability related needs. That duty also covers the accommodation process and everyone involved.
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:
This case involved a transgender boy, Jesse Thompson, who was denied access to the boys’ locker room the rest of his amateur hockey team used during the 2012-2013 hockey season. Jesse alleged that this resulted in him being ‘outed’ as trans, excluded from important team interaction and bonding, and exposed to harassment and bullying.
In employment, people with disabilities are entitled to the same opportunities and benefits as everyone else. “Employment” includes employees, independent contractors and volunteers. The Code prohibits discrimination based on someone’s disability in all aspects of the employment relationship.
People with disabilities have the right to be free from discrimination when they receive goods or services, or use facilities. “Services” is a broad category and can include privately or publicly owned or operated services.
Supplementary Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ Provincial Segregation Review
The applicant, Ian Cole, is a middle-aged man with a severe intellectual disability who lives in the community. To live in the community, Mr. Cole depends on the receipt of nursing services. The primary source of funding for the nursing services is his local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). The maximum funding for nursing services is set out in a regulation made under the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994. At the time the application was filed, funding was available for nursing services to a maximum of four visits per day.
November 2016 - For nearly two decades, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has raised concerns about systemic discrimination that are part of the culture of policing in our province. There have been far too many instances of racial profiling, discriminatory use of force on people with mental health disabilities and/or addictions, and racism and sexism in investigations of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Ontario to ignore. These incidents and related concerns have sparked multiple coroner’s inquests, recommendations, reviews and reports, stretching back for decades. Yet they all have failed to eliminate systemic discrimination in policing.
In July 2015, the OHRC intervened in a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Application concerning the treatment of trans persons in custody.
July 8, 2016 - In pursuit of our public interest mandate, section 31 of the Code authorizes the OHRC to request production of documents and gather other information as part of an inquiry. Pursuant to section 31, we are writing to request that you review employee dress codes in your Ontario operations, remove any discriminatory requirements, and provide documentation showing that you have done this.
March 2017 - Education providers are responsible for many things, including delivering a curriculum, managing the various other aspects of educational services, ensuring student safety, fostering pluralistic environments that respect human rights, and managing tension and conflict as they arise in the school setting. Schools ought to be a place for healthy discussions about acceptance and where a diversity of views can co-exist. Educators should communicate messages about difference in a fair and respectful manner and be sensitive to the views of everyone protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Students, staff and parents should realize that they cannot reasonably expect their own views and beliefs to be respected if they are not willing to respect the views and beliefs of others.