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Employment and contracting provisions in Impact and Benefit Agreements are special programs under Ontario’s Human Rights Code

February 2014 - Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) are becoming an industry standard for resource development projects that are located on or impact Aboriginal Peoples’ traditional lands and rights. The agreements often contain employment and contracting provisions that give priority for training, hiring and contracting to Aboriginal Peoples.When Aboriginal governments choose to enter into IBAs, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) supports developing and implementing preferential employment and contracting provisions in IBAs, to address historical disadvantage and promote substantive equality for Aboriginal Peoples in Ontario.

Your guide to special programs and the Human Rights Code

December 2013 - Under the Code, all organizations are prohibited from treating people unfairly because of Code grounds, must remove barriers that cause discrimination, and must stop it when it occurs. Organizations can also choose to develop “special programs” to help disadvantaged groups improve their situation. The Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms both recognize the importance of addressing historical disadvantage by protecting special programs to help marginalized groups. The Supreme Court of Canada has also recognized the need to protect “programs” established by legislation that are designed to address the conditions of a disadvantaged group.

Employee benefit and pension plans

From: Guide to your rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code

Employment may not be denied or made conditional upon enrolment in a benefit or similar plan, which makes a distinction based on a Code ground. The general rule of non-discrimination in employment applies to pension plans, benefit plans and terms of group insurance except where reasonable and genuine distinctions or exclusions are based on age, marital status, family status or sex.

Sexual harassment [16]

From: Guide to your rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code

Sexual harassment in housing and workplaces

“Harassment” in this section means comments or actions based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that are unwelcome to you or should be known to be unwelcome. They may include humiliating or annoying conduct. Harassment requires a “course of conduct,” which means that a pattern of behaviour or more than one incident is usually required for a claim to be made to the Tribunal. However, a single significant incident may be offensive enough to be considered sexual harassment.

8. Preventing and responding to sexual harassment

From: Policy on preventing sexual and gender-based harassment

The ultimate responsibility for maintaining an environment free from sexual harassment rests with employers, housing providers, educators and other responsible parties covered by the Code. From a human rights perspective, it is not acceptable to choose to stay unaware of sexual harassment, whether or not a human rights claim has been made.[170]

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