In 2004-2005, the Commission received 100 complaints relating to discrimination in housing. While this number amounts to only about 4 percent of the total complaints received by the Commission during this time period, the complaints that have been filed frequently raise significant systemic issues, issues that potentially affect large numbers of people besides the actual complainant.
1. Defining discrimination
The Code provides that every person has the right to be treated equally in the area of housing without discrimination because of any of the grounds set out in the Code. The purpose of anti-discrimination laws is to prevent the violation of human dignity and freedom through the imposition of disadvantage, stereotyping, or political or social prejudice.
The purpose of the Code, as set out in its Preamble, is the creation of a province in which there is “a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province.” Human rights concerns arise whenever individuals are targeted for greater scrutiny, or are the subject of negative attitudes or treatment because of their race.
1. Defining Discrimination
Protection against discrimination on the basis of family status is relatively new in Canada. Provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of family status were added to a number of human rights statutes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The ground of family status raises wide-ranging and complex issues. It is clear from this consultation that individuals with caregiving responsibilities face a range of systemic barriers to full participation in employment, housing and services. The Commission heard that families cannot, on their own, resolve all of these barriers. Addressing them will require a coordinated approach from government, employers, housing providers, service providers, and the Commission itself.
What are the lessons we can learn? How can we move towards a different world: one where there is public support for child rearing and care giving; one where both men and women are given equal roles and responsibilities; one where care giving requirements don’t fall on people who are already struggling?
Municipalities are urged to develop their own plan of action in keeping with these ten Common Commitments addressing three areas of municipal responsibility: