Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released Minds that matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions. This report outlines what the OHRC heard in its largest-ever policy consultation across Ontario, and sets out a number of key recommendations and OHRC commitments to address human rights issues that affect people with mental health disabilities or addictions.
Ontario Human Rights Code
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.
Municipalities in Ontario come in all shapes and sizes. Each has different issues, different neighbourhoods and different community needs. And each has a different capacity to respond to these needs. This guide offers a variety of steps municipalities can tailor to meet their unique circumstances, while also meeting their human rights responsibilities.
About the Human Rights Code
The Ontario Human Rights Code offers protection from discrimination in five social areas:
March 2012 - A story this week in the Toronto Star told of a candidate for a job with a police service who was asked, at an interview, to provide the password for his Facebook page. The story provoked a discussion on the blog of law professor David Doorey; is asking for such information contrary to Ontario’s Human Rights Code?
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.
(1) Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without
discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.
Adequate housing is essential to one’s sense of dignity, safety, inclusion and ability to contribute to the fabric of our neighbourhoods and societies. As the Commission heard in this consultation, without appropriate housing it is often not possible to get and keep employment, to recover from mental illness or other disabilities, to integrate into the community, to escape physical or emotional violence or to keep custody of children.
Status and Purpose of the Code
The Code is quasi-constitutional legislation which has primacy over all other legislation in Ontario, unless the other legislation specifically states that it applies despite the Code. This means that if another piece of legislation contains a provision which conflicts with or contravenes the Code, the Code will prevail.