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.
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:
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 2007 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission has reached a settlement with a complainant and Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited in a complaint alleging racial discrimination.
July 2007 - Over the past few years in efforts to resolve human rights complaints, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) approached the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) and the Toronto Police Service (TPS) to include specific public interest remedies.
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).
Recreational clubs such as sports clubs may give different services or charge different fees to persons based on sex, marital status or family status. For example, special family rates in a community centre or women-only sections of a gym are permitted under the Code.
January 2014 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has used a range of its functions to reduce and eliminate discrimination relating to land use planning. However, to meet Ministry goals and be consistent with Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the land use planning and appeal system needs to incorporate a human rights lens and provide human rights-related information, education and resources to those who implement and use the system. Planners and decision-makers throughout the system and in municipalities will benefit from clear guidance from the Province.
February 2014 - People with mental health disabilities are often among the most vulnerable people in Ontario. Many face a unique set of challenges where they live, in workplaces, or in our communities. When people are in crisis they also present a unique set of challenges to police services when considering the use of force. This leads to many concerns from a human rights perspective. It is not the role of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to comment on individual cases – we leave it to other experts to resolve these. But it is our role to look at common themes and concerns, and offer ways to move forward.