The Code states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The provisions of the Code are aimed at creating 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 feels able to contribute to the community.
Vulnerable groups protected by human rights legislation are more likely to experience low social and economic status or condition. Poverty is linked inextricably with inequality, particularly for women (especially lone mothers and elderly women), Aboriginal persons, racialized groups and persons with disabilities.
International, federal and provincial human rights legislation prohibit discrimination against persons with mental health disabilities. In Ontario, human rights protections for people with mental health disabilities and addictions are grounded in the Ontario Human Rights Code. People with mental health issues are covered under the ground of “disability” in the Code.
The Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that the values and principles enshrined in international law constitute part of the legal context in which legislation is interpreted and applied. Additionally, human rights commissions have been identified as key institutions in implementing and protecting international human rights standards.
Groups that have experienced historical disadvantage and who are protected under the Code are more likely to experience low social and economic status. Poverty is linked with inequality, particularly for women (especially single mothers and older women), Aboriginal persons, racialized persons and persons with disabilities. A person’s socio-economic status is highly relevant to his or her housing situation. It will dictate the type of housing available, the likelihood he or she will get the housing that he or she is seeking and may contribute to his or her treatment as a tenant.
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ”Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection”. Article 16 further states that “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State”.
Our international, national and provincial / territorial framework for human rights obligations in Canada provides a solid foundation for a Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.