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Submission regarding Bill 89, Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017

April 3, 2017 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the introduction of Bill 89, Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017. The Bill responds to human rights concerns raised by the OHRC about various aspects of Ontario’s child welfare system,[1] including the overrepresentation of Indigenous and racialized children and youth in Ontario’s child welfare system.

Policy statement on religious accommodation in schools

March 2017 - Education providers are responsible for many things, including delivering a curriculum, managing the various other aspects of educational services, ensuring student safety, fostering pluralistic environments that respect human rights, and managing tension and conflict as they arise in the school setting. Schools ought to be a place for healthy discussions about acceptance and where a diversity of views can co-exist. Educators should communicate messages about difference in a fair and respectful manner and be sensitive to the views of everyone protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Students, staff and parents should realize that they cannot reasonably expect their own views and beliefs to be respected if they are not willing to respect the views and beliefs of others.

Letter to Mayor of Kenora re: Indigenous reconciliation

March 30, 2017 -  Dear Mayor Canfield, thank you for taking the time to meet with us on February 15 in Kenora.  As you know, we met with various members of the local Indigenous community at the Ne-Chee Friendship Centre, visited the Kenora Jail and met with Treaty 3 Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh.  During these visits we heard about challenges faced by Indigenous people related to education, child welfare, policing, corrections, and housing.  

“Unfounded” – a human rights issue

February 16, 2017

Robyn Doolittle’s ground-breaking investigation “Unfounded” exposes how police services across Canada are “ill-equipped or unwilling to investigate sexual assault cases” with nearly 20% being dismissed as “unfounded.” At one point in the story, Doolittle asks police to explain the disproportionate “unfounded” rates. She is told by the police that the explanation might lie in coding errors or misclassification of cases, but we know that there are more factors at play. With “unfounded” rates of 19% across Canada and as high as nearly 60% in some jurisdictions, part of the answer must also lie in systemic bias against women – which is a human rights issue.

Deputation to the Ottawa Police Services Board on the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project

November 28, 2016

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about the OPS’s Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project. My deputation will be available online this afternoon, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s full report with our analysis of the findings will be available on our website tomorrow. This project was based on a 2012 settlement between the Ottawa Police Services Board and the Commission, after Chad Aiken, a young Black man, filed a human rights complaint alleging racial profiling.

OHRC Submission to the Independent Review of Police Oversight Bodies

November 2016 - For nearly two decades, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has raised concerns about systemic discrimination that are part of the culture of policing in our province. There have been far too many instances of racial profiling, discriminatory use of force on people with mental health disabilities and/or addictions, and racism and sexism in investigations of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Ontario to ignore. These incidents and related concerns have sparked multiple coroner’s inquests, recommendations, reviews and reports, stretching back for decades. Yet they all have failed to eliminate systemic discrimination in policing.

Letter to the Thunder Bay Police Service and Thunder Bay Police Services Board regarding systemic discrimination and racism

October 27, 2016

Thank you once again for your hospitality and candour. During the meeting, we discussed concerns that leaders and members of the Indigenous community brought to my attention earlier in the day; namely, alleged racism and systemic discrimination within the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS). We discussed more generally the relationship between the TBPS and Indigenous communities in light of recent events.

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