I am writing to you today on behalf of the OHRC to provide advice on steps the government can take to apply a human rights lens to reducing transmission of COVID-19 in Ontario’s correctional facilities and detention centres.
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:
January 7, 2019 - As part of the OHRC monitoring of the settlement in the Jahn matter, we visited the Vanier Centre for Women (“Vanier”) in Milton, Ontario. I am writing today to provide you with a summary of what we learned on our December 4, 2018 visit.
October 23, 2018 - The Court of Appeal for Ontario granted the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) leave to intervene in the appeal of Corporation of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) v Canada, a constitutional challenge to the administrative segregation provisions of the federal Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
May 16, 2017 - Dear Councillor El-Chantiry, Today the Ottawa Police Services Board is receiving the results of Phase III of the Ottawa Police Services Gender Project. As you know, the project arises out of a settlement reached with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (Commission) in a human rights case filed by a female Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officer.
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.
June 15, 2016 - Dear Minister Orazietti, Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is looking forward to working closely with you, especially as you continue to review the use of segregation within provincial jails, as well as the treatment of immigration detainees held in provincial custody.
Examples of gendered and/or sexualized dress code requirements or expectations that may violate the Human Rights Code:
Removing barriers based on sex and gender
This checklist can help organizations make sure that their dress codes and uniform policies are consistent with Ontario’s Human Rights Code protections relating to sex and gender, as set out in the OHRC’s Policy position on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes.
Dress codes/uniform policies should:
Twenty-five years after it was enacted, the provincial government (Government) is reviewing and revising the Police Services Act as part of its Strategy for a Safer Ontario (SSO). The OHRC welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (Ministry) on the SSO.
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.