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Guide offers plain talk about human rights

One of our ongoing challenges is to teach people about their human rights, and to help provide Ontarians the knowledge they need to stand up for their rights. Our new Guide to your rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code aims to meet this need. This plain-language booklet gives a basic overview and explains Parts I and II of the Ontario Human Rights Code and uses examples to show how the Code applies in different situations. Many of these examples are based on facts from real human rights claims.

New teaching tool for the 21st century

Over the past 20 years, there have been many changes in the requirements and the expectations of Ontario’s education to both apply and teach human rights. A new edition of Teaching human rights in Ontario reflects these changes, and offers educators a new teaching tool for the 21st century.   “As our society becomes more diverse, the human rights challenges we face become more complex, and the need to bring a solid grounding in human rights becomes more critical. This guide can serve as a starting point for what I hope will be lifelong learning about human rights, and the value of respecting the dignity, worth and inclusion of all Ontarians,” said Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner.

Teaching human rights in Ontario can help teachers educate students on the concepts of equality, justice and fairness. It is also an education resource for law, history and civics courses, and cooperative education programs. The package includes information and activities to help students learn the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviours under the Code. Most situations used in this resource are based on real-life cases at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and/or the courts.

Teaching human rights in Ontario links to the OHRC’s Living Rights Project. This web-based virtual living library features interviews with human rights leaders and individual Ontarians who share their own personal experiences related to human rights. The guide offers links to human rights experiences from the past, and stories about current human rights issues. These stories are a resource to help advance human rights in the future and ensure that written rights under the Code become lived rights for everyone,

Since its release in December 2013, more than five thousand people have checked out the online version, and we have distributed thousands of printed versions to school boards, teachers’ colleges, teachers’ federations, directors of education and individual teachers across Ontario.

Primer gives advice on policies

In December 2013, we launched an updated version of a guide to help organizations create their own human rights policies. A policy primer: Guide to developing human rights policies and procedures gives organizations some practical help to develop effective and fair ways to prevent human rights infringements, and to respond to human rights issues such as harassment, discrimination and accommodation needs. The guide includes discussion of things to consider and provides sample language as a starting point for employers, landlords and service providers to write their own policies.

Updated guide offers special programs tips

The OHRC encourages “special programs” as effective ways to achieve substantive equality by helping reduce discrimination, or addressing historical prejudice. Organizations do not need permission from the OHRC to develop a special program. This means that special programs can be put in place without delay.

To help with this, we released an updated resource book, Your guide to special programs and the Human Rights Code, in December 2013. This guide describes the use of special programs, clarifies when they are allowed, and provides practical information on how they can be designed.

New releases

Check out the latest brochures on our website:

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