While we are pleased to see the announcement on June 15, 2020, that Ontario is expanding data collection to include race, income, language and household size for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, in our view, these categories do not go far enough. We reiterate the importance of meaningful consultation on data collection and involving Code-protected and other vulnerable groups who are at heightened risk.
The concept of ‘intersectionality’ has been defined as “intersectional oppression [that] arises out of the combination of various oppressions which, together, produce something unique and distinct from any one form of discrimination standing alone....”
The unprecedented closure of schools has been difficult for all students. The OHRC has heard from stakeholders that students with special education needs and other vulnerabilities have experienced unique and compounded challenges, that their circumstances have not consistently been considered and addressed, and that as a result, they have fallen even further behind than their peers. It is imperative that the MOE and school boards establish plans and programs to systematically and consistently address the needs of students with disabilities for the 2020 – 2021 school year.
Given the vital work ahead with the plan to reopen schools, the OHRC is calling on the government to convene a Return-to-School Partnership Table to provide advice, input and expertise on implementing plans for Ontario’s students, educators and school boards from the perspective of Code-protected groups. The OHRC also recommends that the Ministry advise school boards to convene similar local tables to ensure that board-specific plans meet the needs of all students.
The OHRC and MERC are encouraged by the government’s announcement that more than $500 million will be invested in Ontario’s correctional system over the next five years, and urge you to allocate this investment in a way that directly improves the on-the-ground conditions prisoners and front-line staff face every day in Ontario.
Given the vulnerability of tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, the OHRC wants to remind the Greater Sudbury Landlord Association and the City of Greater Sudbury as a housing service manager and OW administrator, of their human rights obligations relating to rental housing.
The OHRC welcomes the proposed amendment to Ontario Regulation 569 made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) that would require collecting information on race, income level, language and household size for people who test positive for a novel coronavirus, including COVID-19. The OHRC recommends the ministry consider expanding the required collection of information to include other vulnerable populations identified in Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
I am writing on behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to acknowledge the steps the Ministry of Education (Ministry) has taken on its review of the Peel District School Board (PDSB) in response to growing concerns about systemic discrimination, anti-Black racism, discord among senior leadership, and issues of governance. The OHRC is very troubled by the review’s findings, and the significant human rights issues raised in the way that the PDSB manages issues related to Black students.
The OHRC welcomes the April 23 release of the government’s COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People (the Plan) as a first step toward addressing the disproportionate impact that the pandemic is having on Ontario’s most vulnerable people. However, to ensure that the human rights of vulnerable people are protected in a way that is consistent with Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the Plan requires expanded scope and detail, which must be done in consultation with vulnerable groups and human rights experts.
Over the last two months, the OHRC has met with a range of stakeholders representing racialized communities, people experiencing poverty, people with disabilities, older people and other Code-protected groups. These groups are concerned that certain aspects in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic are having a negative impact on their human rights, and have raised four immediate concerns
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) stands with Black communities in Ontario, in Canada and around the world in confronting and condemning anti-Black racism as it is experienced through racial profiling and other forms of systemic racial discrimination.