In November 2008, the Commission released its third edition of Human Rights at Work. This plain-language guide includes examples, best practices, sample forms and other resources to help people develop and maintain inclusive, respectful workplaces that meet the standards of the Code. The Commission has combined its human rights expertise with the publishing skills of Carswell Thomson Publishing to help make Human Rights at Work available across Ontario.
In October 2008, Professor Richard Moon released a “Report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission Concerning Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Regulation of Hate Speech on the Internet.” There is no direct effect on Ontario, which does not have an equivalent to the federal s.13 in Ontario’s Code.
It is hard to solve problems or run a successful business or make a good policy without all of the information. Yet this happens regularly when it comes to race, disability, sex, gender identity and other grounds covered by the Code. In many cases, information is not collected because of fear that doing so would itself be contravening the Code. That’s why the OHRC published a new guide called Count me in!, which dispels the myths and fears about collecting human rights-based data.
The media plays a powerful role in educating and shaping the public’s
perception on human rights issues. That is why over the past year, the OHRC
served as a regular voice offering a human rights-based perspective. Guest
editorials and letters to the editor covered topics such as:
On June 30, 2008, the role of the OHRC in dealing with individual human rights complaints changed. As of that date, all new human rights applications were filed directly with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). During the transition phase, the OHRC continued to work on the cases already within its system. By the end of the 2009/2010 fiscal year, the OHRC remains involved in 45-50 of these cases.
To meet the challenge of communicating with audiences across Ontario in a consistent, affordable way, the OHRC is creating new electronic tools for people to both learn about human rights and share what they have learned. The centre piece of this work is the OHRC website, www.ohrc.on.ca.
The site offers a wealth of information on human rights in Ontario, includes regular updates on the work of the OHRC, and offers options for people to sign on as partners in advancing human rights.
In 2009, the Superior Court of Ontario granted the OHRC’s request to intervene in a judicial review application of a woman who was ordered to remove her niqab when testifying at a preliminary hearing in a sexual assault case.
The OHRC’s work on racism and racial profiling has been a driving force in its partnership with the Toronto Police Services Board on the Toronto Police Charter Project.
The OHRC also intervened at the Tribunal in a complaint by Ron Phipps – a case which raised some tough issues. The Tribunal ruled Phipps had been subjected to racial profiling in 2005 by a Toronto police officer. The officer stopped Phipps when he was delivering mail in an affluent Toronto neighbourhood, checked with a homeowner Phipps spoke to, trailed him and checked his identity with a White letter carrier.