In a significant decision, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) found that Convention refugees should not face discriminatory barriers to accessing employment and contributing fully to Ontario society.
I am writing today on behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) about the government’s consultation on Ontario’s next Poverty Reduction Strategy (Strategy). The OHRC calls on Ontario to take a human rights-based approach to poverty reduction by entrenching the types of economic and social responses to COVID-19 into permanent solutions that will once and for all protect the well-being of everyone in our province.
Following the lead of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) urges Ontarians to keep human rights principles under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (Code), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and relevant international human rights treaties at the centre of decision-making during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Many individuals and organizations talked about people’s experiences with poverty. Poverty is a significant concern for people across Ontario with psychosocial disabilities. Unemployment, underemployment, discrimination and the lack of affordable housing for people with psychosocial disabilities were identified as major factors contributing to poverty.
We heard that many people with psychosocial disabilities are unaware of their human rights. Some people identified experiences that extended beyond the right to be free from discrimination. Because of this, it is important to understand how people’s experiences relate to human rights protected under domestic and international human rights documents.
The Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA) is calling on all levels of government across Canada to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
New Jersey, Massachusetts and California have all taken noteworthy steps to promote affordable housing. While each state’s approach may be different, they all share the following features, which may serve as best practices for future consideration in Ontario:
March 2012 - The OHRC will focus its comments on the issues and barriers identified in the CRSAO’s reports that connect to the OHRC’s current priority initiatives dealing with racism experienced by Aboriginal people and other groups as well as disability, especially mental health discrimination.
1. The context for interpreting the Code
a) Background and history
In 1962, many laws dealing with discrimination were brought together, along with additional protections, to create the Code. The Code has been amended at various times since then. The most recent amendments were passed in December 2006. The Ontario Code only provides protection against discrimination in Ontario. There are other pieces of human rights legislation in each of the other provinces and territories and federally.
As discussed above, the intersectional approach is the preferred one for complaints and cases that cite multiple grounds. Nevertheless, there are other ways in which multiple grounds matters are being handled by human rights bodies, courts and international bodies such as the United Nations (the “UN”). In some instances, the grounds are looked at sequentially to see whether discrimination can be made out on the basis of each one in turn.