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End segregation, says Ontario Human Rights Commission

March 7, 2016

by Renu Mandhane

In 2007, Ashley Smith died in federal custody in Kitchener, Ont., after spending extended periods of time in segregation (or solitary confinement). In 2010, Edward Snowshoe died by suicide while in custody in Edmonton, Alta., after spending 162 days in segregation. These cases have become emblematic of the incredible problems with the continued use of segregation in prisons.

Eliminating discrimination to advance the human rights of women and transgender people

From: OHRC policy position on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes

March 8, 2016 - Through its public education, policy development, outreach and litigation functions, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) continues to work with community partners to challenge gender inequality and promote and advance the human rights of women and trans people in Ontario. Here is some of the work the OHRC has done in the past year:  

OHRC letter on the systemic review of police officer mental health and suicide

February 24, 2016

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (Commission) is concerned about the number of officers experiencing mental health issues and dying by suicide as a result of their policing work, and the barriers – such as widespread stigma about mental health issues in the policing community – preventing officers from accessing adequate support. We understand that you are preparing to launch a systemic review to examine the experiences and suicides of Ontario police officers with mental health disabilities, and commend you for working toward addressing this serious problem.

OHRC files claim against Toronto Police for refusing to memorialize officers who end their lives due to a mental health disability incurred in the line of duty

January 8, 2016

On November 11, 2015, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) filed its own application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) alleging discrimination in employment based on disability because of the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) failure to include on its Memorial Wall officers who end their lives as a result of a mental health disability incurred in the line of duty.

New documentation guidelines for accommodating students with mental health disabilities

January 6, 2016

Toronto - Navi Dhanota, represented by ARCH Disability Law Centre; York University and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) have worked together to develop new documentation guidelines to access academic accommodations. The change in guidelines means that students will no longer have to disclose their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) diagnosis to register for mental health accommodations and supports.

Insurer removes HIV/AIDS exclusion from emergency travel medical insurance policy

November 6, 2015

In May 2015, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) learned that a Canadian insurance company (RSA Canada) would not issue an emergency travel medical insurance policy to anyone who had ever been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS and obtained a copy of the exclusionary policy.

The OHRC wrote to RSA Canada to express concern that the HIV/AIDS exclusion might contravene Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Ontario Shores Launches Exciting New Project with the Ontario Human Rights Commission

October 16, 2015

(Whitby, ON) – Today, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission unveiled a new partnership to further develop human rights capacity at the specialty mental health centre.

Ontario Shores and the OHRC met last year to look at an opportunity to partner and support both organizations’ mission and values. The Project Charter signed today sets the framework for work that will happen over a three year term.

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