In May 2007, the Commission released the results of its groundbreaking initiative on discrimination based on family status, and became the first jurisdiction in Canada to examine the human rights implications of barriers faced by families who are caring for children, aging parents or relatives, and family members with disabilities.
The Commission’s litigation of cases before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and at higher courts has been instrumental in representing the public interest, enforcing the Code, promoting the Commission’s policies, negotiating, obtaining and enforcing strong public interest remedies, and setting precedents that help to advance human rights jurisprudence in Ontario, across Canada and internationally.
In July 2007, Lepofsky v. Toronto Transit Commission(TTC), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the TTC’s failure to ensure announcements of all stops on buses and streetcars violated the human rights of persons with disabilities, particularly riders with visual impairments.
One of the challenges of transforming Ontario’s human rights system is to let Ontarians know about the changes. The Commission turned to the artists of tomorrow to help create a new vision of the changing system. For the third year in a row, the Commission teamed up with students and faculty from Seneca College’s graphic design program at York University to develop human rights awareness campaigns. This year’s goal was to develop concepts that would effectively communicate the transformation of the human rights system.
In 2006, Bill 107 – The Human Rights CodeAmendment Act set the stage for a major transformation of Ontario’s human rights system. This legislation, which comes into effect on June 30, 2008, will lead to fundamental changes in the way the Ontario Human Rights Commission operates.
As the first point of contact for members of the public, the Commission’s inquiry service delivers important public education about human rights and responsibilities under the Code, and provides information about the Commission’s policies and guidelines, as well as relevant external resources. The Commission is often able to assist individuals and organizations to prevent or resolve problems so that a complaint is not necessary.