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.
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.
Organizations are generally not allowed to hire in a discriminatory way. However, there are some exceptions. The most common ones are:
Advertisements for jobs should not refer, directly or indirectly, to prohibited grounds of discrimination. For example, an ad that says “We prefer hiring younger people” is not allowed.
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.
Every person has the right to equal treatment in employment without discrimination based on Code grounds. In Ontario, about three-quarters of all human rights claims come from the workplace.
Employment is used in a very general way in the Code. Employees, independent contractors and volunteers are covered.
Accommodation rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Monday, October 28, 2013 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership and Hire Immigrants Ottawa invite you to learn about the OHRC’s new Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier.
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.
While unequal power relationships exist in many sectors of society, they tend to appear the most in the workplace, where hierarchies are common. Both women and men may experience sexual harassment in employment, but women tend to be more vulnerable to harassment by men, because relative to men, more women hold lower-paying, lower-authority and lower-status jobs. At the same time, even women in positions of authority are not free from sexual harassment or inappropriate gender-related behaviour.