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3. Grounds of discrimination: definitions and scope of protection

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This section describes specific parts of each of the grounds of the Code, and highlights points that are distinctive or particular to each of the grounds. The Commission has developed policies that outline in more detail how the Code applies to grounds such as family status, age (older persons), sexual orientation, race, disability, gender identify, sex (harassment, and also pregnancy and breastfeeding) and language (may be connected to ethnic origin, place of origin, race and ancestry). For a list of Commission policies, refer to Appendix A.

a) When grounds intersect

A person’s experience of discrimination is often linked to the compounding effects of multiple grounds. Based on their unique combination of identities, people may be exposed to particular forms of discrimination and may experience significant personal pain and social harm that come from such acts of discrimination. For example, a Jewish lesbian with a child and same-sex spouse can be seen as a “mother of a child” or a “Jewish woman” and would be protected under the grounds of marital status, family status, creed and sexual orientation. As lesbians, this woman and her spouse may be exposed to forms of discrimination that other Jewish women with children are not.

Similarly, a young Black man can be seen as a “Black person,” or as a “young person,” or as a “man” and is protected under the grounds of race, age and gender. He may be exposed to discrimination based on any of the grounds of race and/or colour, age, and gender on their own. However, he may also be exposed to discrimination on intersecting grounds on the basis of being identified as a “young Black man” based on the various assumptions and/or stereotypes that are uniquely associated with this socially significant intersection.

Example: A young Black man in a customer service position is denied a promotion. When he asks for an explanation, he is told that his approach is too “urban” and would not be a good fit with the existing client base. Most of the clients and other staff are White men over age 45.

A person identified by multiple grounds may experience disadvantage that is compounded by the presence of each of the grounds. For example, research confirms that older persons and persons with disabilities face higher unemployment rates. As well, members of racialized groups are more likely to be underemployed. Therefore, an older African Canadian person who is developing a disability will likely face compounded disadvantage when looking for work.

These are examples of how an intersectional approach based on the overlap of multiple grounds of discrimination is applied.

Example: A 55-year-old woman alleges that she is refused a job as a waitress because she doesn’t fit the image that the restaurant is trying to promote. The evidence reveals that the restaurant employs many younger women as waitresses as well as older men as waiters and maitre d's. The fact that older persons (men) are employed and younger women are employed does not necessarily defeat her claim of discrimination. There may be unique stereotypes attributed to older women in terms of image or attractiveness.

Example: A man named Muhammad is screened from an employment competition on the basis of his name. It is appropriate in this case for him to cite as grounds for discrimination: race, ethnic origin, ancestry, place of origin, and creed. This is because his name in question is racialized precisely because it is stereotypically connected to a specific origin and creed.

b) Protecting persons “associated” with others protected by the Code

In some cases, the Code can protect people who are not personally identified by one of the grounds. People who are subject to discrimination because of their association with a person protected under the Code can file a complaint based on section 12. The protection in this section applies even if the person could not otherwise claim protection based on one of the grounds, or does not share the same Code grounds as the person they are associated with.

Example: A woman fills out a job application form and goes back with a friend to drop it off. The hiring manager does not accept the form, because he says he does not like her friend who is a cross-dresser. Although the woman was not subjected to discrimination because of her own gender identity, she did face discrimination because of her relationship with a person who is a cross-dresser.

Racial discrimination because of association often arises in terms of inter-racial relationships. In the workplace, it may take the form of harassment or causing a poisoned environment for a woman dating a racialized man. Employees who are discriminated against because they provide care to persons with disabilities commonly file complaints citing “association with a person with a disability” as a ground. The ground of family status may also be cited if it applies.

Taking reprisal action against someone who has objected to discriminatory comments aimed at another group may be found to be discrimination because of association.

Example: A woman who was a member of a club confronted other members about racist comments they made. Having spoken out against racism, the woman clearly associated herself with First Nations and racialized people. The negative actions taken by the club because she stood up to racist comments amounted to a breach of the Code.

See also Section III-2d) – “Discrimination because of association” under “What is discrimination?”

c) Perceived grounds

A person is protected under the Code if they are treated differently in a workplace because of negative characteristics that other people associate with one of the grounds. The question is whether the person is perceived to be a member of a protected group, even if this view is not accurate. This analysis looks at the perceptions, myths and stereotypes underneath a person’s experience and considers the subjective impact of the treatment, rather than the intent behind the treatment.

Example: A heterosexual employee is subjected to taunts based on sexual orientation that imply that he is gay. People who make the comments do not know for sure if he is gay or not. The employer knows that this employee is not gay and dismisses these kinds of comments as harmless jokes. In this case, the employee is protected by the Code and the employer may be found to have contravened the Code.

Example: A man who is applying for an internal position had a heart condition that surgery fixed. He is not selected for the position, even though he has no functional limitations, because he is perceived as being at risk of developing a disability. This man is protected under the ground of disability.

d) Age

The Code prohibits discrimination because of age in all social areas including employment. “Age” is defined in section 10(1) as “an age that is 18 years or more.”

Discrimination based on age can happen at any time in a person's life. Younger employees may experience discrimination because of negative attitudes and stereotypes about youth and experience. On the other hand, employees may be viewed as “older” and treated poorly in a particular context compared to others who are younger. When the allegation relates to negative attitudes and stereotypes about aging, it may be necessary to think about a person’s age in the context of a particular situation, workplace or group of employees.

Example: The average age of nurses at a private clinic is 40 when new owners buy it. The new owners want to reduce salary costs and attract new clients by hiring younger staff. They offer packages to all staff over age 45 and actively recruit employees under 30. One year later, the average age of nurses at the clinic is 30. The 50-year-old employee whose employment was terminated and the 32-year-old job applicant who was turned away because she did not fit the workplace culture could both file human rights claims based on age.

In many cases, age discrimination is caused by or linked to ageism. Ageism is a socially constructed way of thinking about persons based on negative stereotypes as well as a tendency to structure society as though everyone is the same age – all old or all young. For example, older persons may experience age discrimination in employment where they may be perceived to have less “career potential” than younger applicants or employees. Younger workers may be belittled and treated with less dignity because they are viewed as expendable resources.

i) Discrimination against older employees:

Most claims of age discrimination in employment relate to older employees. As a general principle, older workers should be treated as individuals. They should be assessed on their own merits instead of on presumed group characteristics and offered the same opportunities as everyone else in hiring, training and promotion. They should normally work under the same performance management practices as every other worker. Where, however, an older person has in fact slowed down due to age-related health or disability concerns, an employer may have to provide some form of accommodation to him or her, such as reduced work targets. Age, including assumptions based on stereotypes about age, should not be a factor in decisions about layoff or termination. The decision should be based on the person’s actual merits, capacities and circumstances.

The following are a few of the many types of situations that might constitute age discrimination against older persons in employment:

  • an older worker is not given a position he is qualified for because of a perception that he will not have enough “energy” and is said to be “over-qualified”
  • older workers are most affected by an organization’s policy requiring job applicants to be “recent graduates” of a program. The organization is unable to provide a reasonable justification for this requirement
  • older workers are excluded from training opportunities because of a perception that it is not worth investing in their future careers and that they are too difficult to train
  • an older worker requests but does not receive appropriate age-related accommodation and then faces discipline leading to termination for failure to perform
  • comments and conduct in the workplace that are harassing or lead to a poisoned environment. For example, a manager tells new employees that they will be eligible for promotions as soon as the “geezers” in the branch retire
  • older workers are targeted for early retirement or layoff because it is presumed that they won’t mind because they are closer to retirement.

ii) Employees under age 18:

The Code previously provided for a maximum age limit of 65 in employment along with the existing minimum age requirement of 18 years for all social areas. Such age limits in human rights legislation across Canada have been challenged as offending section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter), which guarantees the right to equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination based on age and other grounds. The Code was amended in December 2006 to extend protections for older persons by removing the maximum age limit in employment. However, the Code continues to define age by referring to a minimum age of 18.

This definition does not mean that employees have to turn 18 before they are protected under the Code. Employees under age 18 are protected under any of the other grounds in the Code, such as sex, race, disability and so on.

Example: A 16-year-old employee files a complaint alleging that she has been harassed because of her age, sexual orientation and race during her summer internship. If the evidence supports this claim, the employee would, at a minimum, be entitled to remedies based on sexual orientation and race.

The courts have not yet decided whether employees under age 18 are entitled to remedies based on age discrimination alone, when no other grounds are present. However, there are strong indications that when this issue is litigated, the minimum age cut-off may be found to contravene the Charter and therefore be of no force or effect. For example, in Ontario, there has been one court decision and one interim decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario where minimum age restrictions for access to services were not applied because they were inconsistent with the Charter.[10] Courts and tribunals would probably do the same for the lower age limit in employment.

Example: A 17-year-old full-time permanent employee is subjected to frequent comments about his age and insinuations that he should be in school rather than taking a job from someone who “really” needs it. These comments hurt his dignity and make it hard for him to fit into the workplace as a valued employee. In his case, the only Code ground that could apply is age. Before he could get a remedy, a tribunal or court would need to find that the definition of “age” in the Code is contrary to section 15 of the Charter and of no force or effect.

As a best practice, employers should make sure to treat employees under age 18 with respect in the workplace, and deal with any age-related concerns as diligently as they would for employees over 18.

e) Disability

Almost one quarter of all human rights claims filed in employment cite disability as a ground. Because disability-related concerns arise so often, a best practice is for employers to plan for compliance with the Code through measures such as inclusive design, accessibility reviews and developing accommodation policies, as are discussed in Section IV-1a) and IV-1d) – “More about reviewing, preventing and removing barriers related to disability.” These provide a framework for the employer to prevent and address disability-related issues and claims in a timely way.

The definition of disability in the Code is very broad. It includes any degree of physical, developmental, mental or learning disability.

While the Code sets out various types of conditions, the list does not refer to every type of disability that is covered. A person who is perceived to have a disability is also protected by the Code, even if that person does not have a disability. Section 10(3) of the Code specifically protects persons who have had a disability in the past, as well as people who are believed to have, or have had a disability.

The Code ground of disability also specifically protects persons with injuries or disabilities who claim or receive benefits under Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA). There is no need to prove that the condition itself is a disability, but only that such benefits have been claimed or received or that there is an intention to claim such benefits. The Code is violated if an employer tries to discourage an employee from filing a claim or fires an employee because it believes the employee will file a claim for benefits. This protection exists even if no claim for benefits has actually been made.[11]

Example: An employee has a reaction to dust and chemicals at work and needs to take two days off work. The employee needs the company’s address for the WSIB forms filled in by her doctor, but her supervisor refuses to give it to her. She is told there is no place for her to work at the company because they don’t want her filing Workplace Safety and Insurance Board ( WSIB) claims “every other day.” The complainant is awarded damages for the violation of her rights under the Code.

Example: An employee tells his supervisor that he got hurt on the job and will be filing a claim under the WSIA. The supervisor says, “Just get out of here.” The employee takes this to mean that he has been fired. This employee is protected under the Code ground of disability, and such a termination would be viewed as discriminatory.

It is important to recognize that discrimination because of disability may be based as much on perceptions, myths and stereotypes, as on actual functional limitations.[12] When considering whether a person has been discriminated against because of disability, it is more important to consider how the person was treated than to prove that the person has physical limitations or an ailment. A disability may be the result of a physical limitation, an ailment, a perceived limitation or a combination of all these factors.

Example: A plant specialist successfully applies for a job in her field. However, a pre-employment medical exam shows that her spine looks a bit different from the norm. The medical exam also indicates that she could perform the normal duties of the position in question and that she has no functional limitations. The employer perceives that she has a "disability" and does not hire her. This is discriminatory.

The nature or degree of certain disabilities might render them "non-evident" to others. Because these disabilities are not "seen," many of them are not well understood in society. This can lead to stereotypes, stigma and prejudice. Examples might include:

  • non-visible conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, back pain or a learning disability
  • mental illnesses such as depression
  • disabilities that are episodic or temporary in nature such as epilepsy, environmental sensitivities or bipolar disorder
  • disabilities that do not actually result in any functional limitations, but cause others to believe that the person is less able (for example, an office worker who is colour blind)
  • past conditions or disabilities the person has recovered from but that result in ongoing unfair treatment (for example, an employee who has had a stroke, heart attack or cancer).

Protection for persons with disabilities under section 10 of the Code clearly includes mental disabilities such as mental illness. The Canadian Psychiatric Association estimates that one in five Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime. They describe mental illness as "significant clinical patterns of behaviour or emotions associated with some level of distress, suffering (pain, death), or impairment in one or more areas of functioning (school, work, social and family interactions). At the root of this impairment are symptoms of biological, psychological or behavioural dysfunction, or a combination of these."[13]

Persons with mental disabilities face unique challenges – discriminatory barriers affect their ability to compete equally in a job market and result in them being excluded from the workplace. These effects may be magnified for persons identified by more than one Code ground. For example, due to discrimination, an Aboriginal woman with a mental disability may face additional employment obstacles compared to a White man with a mental disability.

Once employed, people with mental disabilities may not be able to fully take part in the workplace due to a lack of accommodation or stereotypes and prejudice. Stigma can make a person’s workplace stressful and may trigger or worsen an employee’s mental illness. It may also mean that someone who is having problems and needs help may not seek it, for fear of being labelled.

Example: Employees in a workplace jokingly tell each other that they are “mental,” “crazy” or “not quite all there.” The supervisor does not intervene because, in her view, they are only jokes and the names don’t really apply to anyone they work with. Neither the employees nor the supervisor realize that one of the people in their group has been diagnosed with a mental illness. Although he had been thinking about asking for accommodation to seek treatment, he doesn’t want to risk being exposed to such comments, or worse. Over time, it becomes harder for him to cope with the demands of the job and his mental state worsens without treatment. Ultimately, he goes on long-term disability and does not return to the workplace. The employee has experienced discrimination and the workplace has lost a valuable employee.

For more information about disability accommodation, see Section IV-9 – “More about disability-related accommodation” and the Commission’s Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate. For information about mental illnesses in the workplace, see Section IV-9m).

f) Family status

“Family status” is defined in section 10(1) of the Code as being in a parent and child relationship. Men and women are equally protected under this ground. The ground of family status protects non-biological parent-and-child relationships, such as families formed through adoption, step-parent relationships, foster families, non-biological gay and lesbian parents and all persons who are in a “parent-and-child-type” relationship.

Example: An employee’s nephew moves in with him because his sister, a lone mother, is undergoing a lengthy medical treatment and is unable to meet her son’s needs. The employee’s request for accommodation at work is denied and he files a complaint of discrimination on the basis of family status.

The ground of family status also includes care relationships between adult children and people who stand in parental relationship to them. The protection extends to persons providing eldercare for aging parents, or others in a “parent-type” relationship with the caregiver. For example, a person providing eldercare to a grandparent who played a significant role in his or her upbringing may be protected under the ground of family status.

The Code’s protection of family status may overlap with grounds such as marital status, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity) and sexual orientation. It covers a range of family forms, including lone-parent and blended families, and families where parents are in same-sex or common-law relationships. The Supreme Court has also stated that family status discrimination occurs when a person is negatively treated because of a relationship with a particular family member. This means that if an employee is fired from or denied a job because the employer dislikes the employee’s parent or child, the employee has been discriminated against on the basis of family status.[14]

Whenever an issue relating to family status is raised, it is important to take into account the intersecting impact of the person’s sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race and age, as well as whether the person or his or her family member has a disability. For more information about this concept, please refer to Section III-3a) – “When grounds intersect.”

The Code prohibits treating an employee differently, either directly or unintentionally, because of family status. Employers have a duty to accommodate employees, short of undue hardship, because of their child-care and/or eldercare responsibilities. Employers share social responsibility for providing a workplace that is reasonably flexible to meet the needs of employees with family responsibilities. The Commission recommends that employers recognize and accommodate a broader range of family relationships than those described by the grounds of marital and family status.

Example: When drafting its policy on accommodating caregiving needs, an employer includes siblings, extended family, and other persons who depend on the employee for care and assistance.

The following kinds of stereotypes and biases may give rise to discrimination based on family status:

  • People who provide caregiving, or are perceived to be caregivers, may be assumed to be less competent, committed, intelligent and ambitious than others
  • Female employees with caregiving responsibilities may be shunted onto the “mommy track” and passed over for promotions, learning opportunities and recognition because of biases, conscious or unconscious, about the attributes of mothers.
  • Men who take on significant caregiving responsibilities may be seen as less “manly” because they do not conform to gender stereotypical roles.
  • It may be assumed that lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered persons do not have “real” families, and that they have no caregiving responsibilities, when in fact stereotypical notions of the family are effectively making these families and their caregiving needs “invisible.”
  • Families formed by adoption may be viewed as if they are less “real” or valid than biological families.

There is a specific exception to the right to employment without discrimination because of family status. Subsection 24(1)(d) of the Code provides that an employer can withhold or grant employment or advancement in employment to the employer’s or an employee’s spouse, child or parent. This rule allows an employer to support or oppose a narrow range of nepotism in its hiring practices.

For more information about the Code and family status, refer to the Commission’s Policy and Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Family Status.

g) Marital status

Marital status is defined in section 10(1) of the Code as the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage (that is, in a “common-law relationship”). The courts have clearly stated that equal protections apply to common-law, same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.

This is to make sure that marital status is an irrelevant factor to consider in relation to any of the social areas in the Code. Take care to make sure that policies and actions are not based on, and do not perpetuate, the stereotype that a marriage between a man and woman is of greater value than other types of marital status.

Example: An organization provides living quarters for its married employees but not for others. Such a policy discriminates on the basis of marital status.

Discrimination based on marital status may also be more subtle than distinctions between the different categories of status, such as married or single.

Example: An employer differentiates between women who adopt their husbands’ surnames and women who do not. This has been found to be discriminatory.

Marital status includes both the status of the relationship, as discussed above, and the particular identity of the person’s partner or spouse.[15] The Supreme Court of Canada has spoken about focusing on the harm suffered by the individual regardless of whether that individual fits neatly into an identifiable category of persons similarly affected.

Example: Mr. A. works for Mr. B. Mr. A.'s wife and daughter confront Mr. B., the employer, and accuse Mr. B. of having sexually assaulted the daughter when she was young. As a result, Mr. B. terminates the employment of Mr. A. This was discrimination based on family and marital status.

There is a specific exception to the right to employment without discrimination because of marital status in subsection 24(1)(d) of the Code. An employer can withhold or grant employment or advancement in employment to the employer’s or an employee’s spouse. This rule allows an employer to support or oppose a narrow range of nepotism in its hiring practices.

h) Race and race-related grounds

i) Race:

Race is a prohibited ground that is not specifically defined. Biological notions of race have been discredited, and there is no legitimate scientific basis for racial classification. Despite this, notions of race continue to exist in society and create differences among groups. This marginalizes some people in society. This social construction of race is termed “racialization” and it remains a potent force in society. Individuals may have prejudices related to people or characteristics that are racialized.

In addition to physical characteristics such as colour, the following characteristics are commonly racialized:

  • language
  • accent or manner of speech
  • name
  • clothing and grooming
  • diet
  • beliefs and practices
  • leisure preferences
  • places of origin
  • citizenship.

The Code prohibits discrimination on several grounds related to race. These include mainly the grounds of colour, ethnic origin, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship and creed (religion). Depending on the circumstances, discrimination based on race may cite race alone or may include one or more related grounds. Each of these grounds is also discussed separately below. The ground of race can encompass the meaning of all of the related grounds, and any other characteristic that is racialized and used to discriminate. In practice, all grounds that may have been factors in a person’s experience should be cited if a human rights claim is made.

It is often hard to tell what the basis is for racial discrimination. A First Nations woman may be discriminated against based on the colour of her skin, stereotypes associated with her ethnic origin or her ancestry, or distaste for the practices of her creed, or based on some combination of these factors. All are possibilities and it is often hard to distinguish these in specific instances. In many cases, the discrimination arises only because of the particular combination of grounds. For example, stereotypical and racist views may be held about people’s sexuality based on their ethno-racial identity.

Example: A boss sexually harasses only staff who are racialized women. Men and White women are not the targets of this behaviour.

Racist ideology asserts either explicitly or implicitly that one racialized group is inherently superior to others. Racist ideology can be openly displayed in racial slurs, jokes or hate crimes, or it can be more deeply rooted in attitudes, values and stereotypical beliefs. In some cases, these beliefs are unconsciously maintained by individuals and have become deeply embedded in systems and institutions that have evolved over time.

Racial stereotypes are typically negative; for example, that racialized employees are lazy, not intelligent, unreliable, dirty, uncivilized, promiscuous, submissive, more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, of questionable moral character, more likely to engage in criminal activity or do not fit into the workplace. However, in some cases, positive stereotypes may be at play (for example, generalizations that members of a particular group are dutiful employees).

There are a number of myths and misconceptions about racism and racial discrimination that make it harder for organizations to respond properly to racial inequality. When putting in place measures to prevent or address racial discrimination in the workplace, employers should take care not to rely on the myths that:

  • people in Canada are “colour blind” and do not even notice race
  • taking proactive action against racism is reverse racism against White people
  • racialized people overreact about racism or manipulate by “playing the race card”
  • immigration is bad for Canada as immigrants take jobs away, commit more crime or are a drain on our society.

For more information about the Code and racial discrimination, refer to the Commission’s Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination.

ii) Language:

Language itself is not a ground. However, it is a characteristic that may be racialized or connected to one of the race-related Code grounds such as ancestry, ethnic origin, place of origin, or in some situations race. There is usually also a link between the accent we speak with and these grounds.

Example: A manager supervises a group of racially mixed workers, who all speak English as a second language. During one break, he orders four employees speaking Arabic to “act Canadian" on work premises and threatens to terminate their employment if they continue speaking Arabic. This poisons their work environment. Unless the manager can demonstrate that speaking English at all times at the workplace is reasonable and required in good faith in the circumstances, his behaviour would be discriminatory.

Example: An African Canadian woman has a disagreement with a co-worker over the phone. Her manager tells her that her accent can be interpreted to be “hard and rude” on the ears. The woman is very offended by this statement and the fact that her accent is being blamed for causing the disagreement. When she asks the manager to say sorry, she is viewed as being “volatile,” “difficult” and “aggressive” and singled out for performance management. This is an example of language-related discrimination and reprisal.

Employers cannot discriminate against employees based on language or accent, unless these requirements can be established to be genuine and made in good faith. If proficiency in a particular language is a requirement for a position, the employer would need to be able to show that the requirement is linked to the essential duties of the position, is imposed in good faith and takes into account the duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship.

Example: An employer is seeking an employee who speaks fluent Spanish to serve the employer’s Hispanic clients, who are predominantly from Central America. It would be appropriate to seek an applicant who speaks Spanish fluently, but would not be permissible to include a requirement that the successful person must come from a Central American country (unless a specific exemption in the Code applies).

For more information about the Code and language, refer to the Commission’s Policy on Discrimination and Language and the Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination.

iii) Colour:

“Colour” is listed as a ground in the Code but is an undefined term. A person’s skin colour can be seen as a physical feature that is commonly racialized. For the purposes of analysis, colour is a ground that may be encompassed by the concept of race and the principles described above.

iv) Ancestry and ethnic origin:

The Code provides protection from discrimination in employment because of “ancestry” and “ethnic origin.” These terms are not defined in the Code. Complainants usually identify themselves as having a particular ancestry or ethnic origin in a complaint.

The terms “ethnic origin” and “ancestry” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, ancestry is closely related to “whom” you are descended from. An ancestor is someone a person is descended from, and is usually more distant than a grandparent. One’s ancestry may originate from more than one cultural group. Statistics Canada states that “ethnic origin” refers to the cultural origins of a person’s ancestors.[16]

Ethnic origin encompasses a wider range of characteristics than ancestry and also includes ancestry. Webster’s Dictionary[17] defines “ethnic” as “of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic or cultural origin or background.” Ancestry and ethnic origin should not be confused with citizenship, nationality or language spoken. In the Code, the ground of ethnic origin overlaps with a more commonly used term, “ethnicity,” which refers to a shared cultural heritage or nationality. Ethnic groups might be distinguished on the basis of cultural traits such as language or shared customs around family, food, dance and music.

People who share an ethnic origin, ethnicity or ancestry may or may not share the same racial identity.[18]

Example: A Black person from Barbados has a different ethnic identity from a Black person from Canada, although they may share the same racial identity.

Example: A Black person from England and a White person from England would likely have different racial experiences, although they have the same ethnic origin.

v) Place of origin:

People should not be discriminated against or harassed because they are from outside Canada. The Code may even cover people from a particular place within Canada. A person’s place of origin is often related to other grounds in the Code, such as ethnic origin or race.

A job advertisement or hiring process may violate the Code if it limits the opportunity to people with “Canadian experience.” Such a requirement can have an adverse impact on recent immigrants to Canada who may lack Canadian experience, even though they may be rich in non-Canadian experience and qualified to do the job.

i) Citizenship

Individuals should not be treated differently or harassed in employment because of their citizenship, whether Canadian or otherwise. It is illegal for employers to make distinctions between Canadian citizens, citizens from other countries, persons with dual citizenship, landed immigrants or permanent residents, refugees and non-permanent residents. Employers should only be concerned with whether a person has legal status to work in Canada, rather than whether the person is a Canadian citizen, except in the narrow exceptions provided by section 16 of the Code, discussed below.

People can either be Canadian citizens “by birth” or “by naturalization.” “By birth” means that a person was either born in Canada or born outside Canada if, at the time of his or her birth, one or both parents were Canadian citizens and had retained Canadian citizenship. “Naturalization” means that a person was born in another country and immigrated to Canada, has become a Canadian citizen, and has been issued a Canadian citizenship certificate. Human rights law does not distinguish between the two categories.

“Permanent residents” or people with “landed immigrant” status have been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities, but have not yet got Canadian citizenship. Some are recent arrivals, while others have resided in Canada for many years. “Non-permanent residents” are people from another country who live in Canada and have work, student or Minister's permits, or who are claiming refugee status in Canada. Human rights law makes no distinction between permanent residents, non-permanent residents and Canadian citizens except in specific circumstances, noted below.

Example: An employer’s job advertisement lists “Canadian experience” as a requirement. This excludes a number of immigrants and refugees from consideration. Such a requirement may constitute discrimination because it has a negative impact on people who may lack "local" experience due to citizenship or other Code grounds such as race, place of origin or ethnic origin, although they are otherwise qualified to do the job.

Section 16 of the Code provides for exceptions to the general rule of non-discrimination in employment because of citizenship. An employer is allowed to discriminate based on citizenship in the following three specific situations:

  • when Canadian citizenship is a requirement, qualification or consideration imposed or authorized by law
  • when a requirement for Canadian citizenship or permanent residence in Canada has been adopted to foster and develop participation in cultural, educational, trade union or athletic activities by Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • when the employer imposes a preference that the chief or senior executive is, or intends to become, a Canadian citizen.

Canadian organizations operating in Ontario are bound by the Code and should not restrict access to employment based on citizenship. Human rights complaints have been filed in situations where citizenship has been used to deny or restrict access to employment in the defence contracting sector, where there is an opportunity to obtain a waiver or security clearance for all workers on a project.

Example: A Canadian manufacturing company imposes security restrictions on employees who hold citizenships other than Canadian, even if they are also Canadian citizens. An engineer who holds Iranian and Canadian citizenship is no longer allowed to do all of his duties and is instead assigned to office work. The employer argues that this is done to comply with U.S. regulations and requirements that have become part of the law of Canada. The Commission has taken the position that the employer's failure to apply for a security clearance, exemption or waiver under that law for its employees is discrimination under the Code.

j) Creed

Employees are entitled to the protections of the Code under the ground of creed, both as individuals and as members of a group. Religion or “creed” is not a defined term in the Code. The Commission interprets creed to mean “religious creed" or "religion." It includes faith, beliefs, observances or worship. A belief in a God or gods, or a single supreme being or deity is not a requisite. For example, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has held that practitioners of Falun Gong are protected under the ground of creed.[19] Religion may be broadly interpreted to include non-deistic bodies of faith, such as the spiritual faiths/practices of Aboriginal cultures, as well as newer religions (assessed on a case by case basis).

The key test for the existence of a creed-based right is if the beliefs and practices are sincerely held and/or observed. The Code protects personal religious beliefs, practices or observances, even if they are not considered by others, even a majority of people of the same religion, to be essential elements of the creed. For example, mainstream Jewish organizations may indicate that it is not a basic tenet of Judaism that one must build a small hut or “succah” on one’s property during the holiday of Sukkot. However, if one individual sincerely believes that this is a religious requirement, this person is protected under the ground of creed.[20]

Creed does not include secular, moral or ethical beliefs or political convictions.[21] It does not extend to religions that incite hatred or violence against other individuals or groups, or to practices and observances that claim to have a religious basis but which contravene international human rights standards or criminal law.

Atheists, who deny the existence of God, and agnostics, who believe that nothing is known or likely to be known about the existence of God, may have the Code’s protection if an employer seeks to impose religious views or create a religious environment in the workplace that is incompatible with agnostic or atheist beliefs.

The right to equal treatment on the ground of creed under the Code has two important principles:

  1. The law can require employers to take steps to facilitate the practice of religious observances.
  2. No person can force another to accept or comply with religious beliefs or practices.

Everyone in the workplace has the right to have his or her religious beliefs and practices respected and accommodated. Employees must start this process by asking for accommodation. Employers must meet an employee’s religious needs unless it would cause undue hardship. Undue hardship takes into consideration cost, outside sources of funding and health and safety.

For more discussion on accommodation and creed, refer to section IV-8f ii: “Creed – accommodating employees’ religious needs”.

There are exceptions to the general right of non-discrimination in employment because of creed:

  • Roman Catholic Schools in Ontario have special rights guaranteed by the Constitution and by the Ontario Education Act. Section 19 of the Code states that this is not affected by the Code. On the other hand, the Code does not address the rights or privileges of any other religion-based schools and other religions do not, therefore, enjoy the same exemption from human rights laws.
  • A religious institution or organization is allowed to employ only people from a certain faith group if it serves mostly the interests of people of that faith group. This is only permitted if being of a particular faith is reasonable and bona fide. This exception, available under subsection 24(1)(a) of the Code, applies to all religions.

Situations may arise where protecting rights related to creed may clash with protecting other rights such as, for example, the right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the right to freedom of religion is not unlimited. It is subject to such limitations as are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.[22] Where such conflicts arise, the rights must be balanced: neither freedom of religion nor guarantees based on sexual orientation are absolute. In striking such a balance, the Supreme Court of Canada has noted that although the freedom of belief may be broad, the freedom to act upon those beliefs is considerably narrower. It is one thing for a person to hold negative beliefs about sexual orientation based on his or her creed; it is another thing for that person to act in a discriminatory way towards others because of those beliefs.

k) Record of offences

A person cannot be discriminated against in employment because of a “record of offences.” Record of offences is narrowly defined in subsection 10(1) of the Code to mean a conviction for:

  1. an offence in respect of which a pardon has been granted under the Criminal Records Act (Canada) and has not been revoked, or
  2. an offence in respect of any provincial enactment.

Therefore, employment decisions cannot be based on whether a person has been convicted and pardoned for an offence under a federal law, such as the Criminal Code, or convicted under a provincial law, such as the Highway Traffic Act. This provision applies to convictions only, and not to situations where charges only have been laid.

Before refusing employment to a person or taking a conviction into account, the employer should take steps to determine if a pardon has been granted or if it is a provincial offence. If so, the prohibition in the Code applies.

Subsection 24(1)(b) of the Code states that an employer can refuse to hire someone based on a record of offences if they can show that this is a reasonable and bona fide qualification. As is discussed further in Section IV-2 – “Setting job requirements,” to be a reasonable and bona fide qualification, the requirement must be rationally connected to, and necessary for, job performance. To get this exception, the employer must show that the circumstances of the individual cannot be accommodated without creating undue hardship, considering costs, funding and health and/or safety risks.

Before taking a record of offences into account in hiring decisions, the employer should conduct an individual assessment of the information before it and the requirements of the position. An employer may wish to consider the following types of questions:

  • What were the circumstances of the conviction and the particulars of the offence involved?
    • How old was the individual when the events in question occurred?
    • Were there any extenuating circumstances?
  • How long ago did the incidents leading to the conviction occur?
    • What has the individual done since then?
    • Has the person shown any tendencies to repeat the kind of behaviour he or she was convicted for?
    • Has the person shown a firm intention to rehabilitate him or herself?
  • What is the risk to the employer, other staff, service-users or the employee if the behaviour that led to the conviction is repeated?
    • What is the likelihood that it will be repeated given the points above?
    • Is the employer sure that the risk is being assessed based on legitimate factors rather than stereotypes and assumptions?
    • What professionals or experts can be consulted to help perform this kind of risk assessment?

Each job situation and employee or potential employee must be assessed individually. An employer would likely be able to prove that not having a record of a pardoned offence or provincial offence is a bona fide requirement in the following cases:

Example: A bus driver has serious or repeated driving convictions.

Example: A daycare worker who works alone with children is convicted of child sexual abuse while employed at a daycare centre.

On the other hand, it would be more difficult for the employer to make the same argument in other cases.

Example: A person was convicted of marijuana possession in 1960 when he was 18, and received a pardon later. He applies for, but is not considered for, a position with a large manufacturing company in 2007. The company has a drug and alcohol policy that it applies to all staff. The applicant is willing to provide medical information that he is free of drugs or alcohol, if it is a legitimate requirement for the position, but the company is unwilling to consider his application because of his record of offences. The company may be vulnerable to a claim of discrimination.

l) Sex

The ground of “sex” is not specifically defined in the Code, although it is generally considered to be related to a person’s biological sex, male or female. Men and women receive equal protection under this ground. The ground of “sex” also includes a broader notion of “gender,” which can be described as the social characteristics attributed to each sex. The Code protects men and women from harassment and discrimination at work, including assumptions about their professional abilities that result from stereotypes about how men and women ”should” behave, dress or interact.

The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of sex also applies to gender identity and pregnancy, both of which are the subjects of specific Commission policies and are discussed in more detail below.

As well, other prohibited grounds of discrimination such as race, creed, marital status or disability may be intertwined with issues of gender. For persons who are members of more than one protected group, some forms of behaviour could have a greater negative impact.

Example: Women with disabilities may feel very vulnerable to harassment and sexual assault. Inappropriate comments or conduct related to gender that may not necessarily be considered by some as problematic, may be viewed as particularly offensive or threatening to a woman with a disability.

The following kinds of situations may be found to be discrimination based on sex:

  • an outspoken woman with high performance is denied partnership and told to learn how to be more feminine
  • women are paid lower wages than men in similar positions doing equivalent work
  • discriminatory work conditions have the effect of discouraging women from taking a job and constitute constructive refusal to hire women (for example, a requirement that female employees work topless)
  • failing to deal with sexual harassment of female employees
  • a requirement that women belong to sex-segregated unions, groups or clubs in the workplace
  • excluding women of child-bearing potential from the workplace
  • exposing women to pornography or other sexual representations (these create a poisoned environment)
  • excluding pregnancy-related disability leave from employer sick leave plans
  • asking a pregnant employee to sign a waiver and firing her if she does not sign it.

Systemic sex discrimination may be detected by looking at three elements:

  • organizational culture – for example, are women respected and treated with dignity in the workplace?
  • policies, practices and decision-making – for example, do existing policies on hours of work or productivity act as barriers to women fully taking part as equals in the workplace?
  • numerical data – for example, are women well represented at all levels in the organization and across all occupational groupings, or are employees in positions of responsibility primarily male?

Example: A prominent law firm laments that female associates tend to leave the firm after three years, rather than pursue the lucrative career path of partnership. The organizational culture is one where female articling students are subjected to sexist comment and conduct on a regular basis, such as being asked to bring coffee to the meetings for more senior males. The pay and recognition policies in place set an expectation that all associates reach a set target of billable hours, regardless of any accommodation requirements (including those arising from pregnancy, breastfeeding or family status). Finally, although more than half of the articling students since 1985 have been women, only 5% of all partners are women. These facts indicate that this firm is vulnerable to a claim of systemic sex discrimination and that this is likely a factor contributing to its inability to retain female associates.

There are three specific exceptions to the general right to employment without discrimination because of sex:

  • Subsection 24(1)(a) of the Code allows certain institutions or organizations to employ people of one sex if the organization serves mostly the interests of persons of that particular sex. This exception is only permitted if being a man or a woman is reasonable and bona fide because of the nature of the job. For example, under the Code, a women’s shelter serving female victims of violence is allowed to hire only women.
  • Under subsection 24(1)(b) of the Code, it is legal to hire someone based on sex only if an employer can show that the requirement is reasonable, bona fide and based on the nature of the job. However, to get this exception, the employer must also show that if a person of the opposite sex applies, the circumstances of the individual cannot be accommodated without creating excessive costs, or health and safety dangers (undue hardship).
  • Subsection 24(1)(c) of the Code allows people to hire a medical or personal attendant of a particular sex for themselves or an ill family member. This does not, however, allow agencies or health care services to send nurses or personal attendants to clients based on discriminatory preferences, unless it is done following the direct instructions of the ill person or a family member of the ill person.

i) Pregnancy:

The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of sex includes the right to equal treatment without discrimination because a woman is, was or may become pregnant, or because she has had a baby. The Supreme Court of Canada has said that pregnancy is a characteristic that is linked to a woman’s sex, and that discrimination because of pregnancy is discrimination based on sex. It has also said that pregnancy is fundamentally important to society, and the financial and social burdens of having children should not rest entirely on women.[23] Employers share in this social and economic responsibility.

Discrimination because of pregnancy is often based on common negative stereotypes and attitudes that:

  • pregnant women will not be able to work productively and effectively during their pregnancies
  • accommodating the needs of pregnant women will be onerous
  • it will be excessively burdensome to deal with the pregnant employee’s maternity leave
  • pregnant women will generally not return to work after their maternity leaves
  • if they do return from maternity leave, they will no longer be desirable employees.

These ideas are long-standing and persistent, even though they are not borne out by the facts. They may influence employers to refuse to hire pregnant women or women who may become pregnant, fire them, or discourage them from remaining at or returning to the workplace.

The protections for "pregnancy" include pre-conception fertility treatments through to the period following childbirth, including breastfeeding. The term "pregnancy" takes into account all of the special needs and circumstances of a pregnant woman, and recognizes that the experiences of women will differ. Pregnancy-related needs can arise from:

  • infertility treatments
  • miscarriage
  • abortion
  • complications during pregnancy such as bed rest
  • pre-term birth
  • pregnancy or childbirth complications that continue after the child is born
  • conditions that result directly or indirectly from an abortion/miscarriage
  • recovery from childbirth
  • breastfeeding.

Subject to bona fide requirements, denying or restricting a woman’s employment opportunities because she is, was or may become pregnant, or because she has had a baby, is a violation of the Code.

Example: A woman is offered an office position after attending an interview. The woman then tells the employer that she is pregnant and will need to take a maternity leave in six months. The employer says that he will call her back but does not. This is a discriminatory refusal to hire because of pregnancy.

Other work-related practices or behaviours set out in the examples below, may also be discrimination:

  • relying on negative stereotypes and attitudes about pregnant women and their ability to work
  • an employer limits or withholds promotion opportunities or training regardless of work performance or years of service. This may include failing to inform women who are away on pregnancy leave about major developments and workplace opportunities
  • a pregnant woman is not assigned to a major project or team project
  • a supervisor is overly critical of the work of a woman who is pregnant
  • a manager docks a pregnant woman's time for using the washroom more frequently
  • a pregnant woman is made the subject of inappropriate comments or jokes
  • a woman is terminated with or without notice, because of her pregnancy
  • a woman who is pregnant is subjected to unwanted transfers
  • a woman who is pregnant is denied sick leave benefits
  • an employer refuses to work with a female employee to find appropriate arrangements to permit her to continue breastfeeding her child after she returns to work
  • dismissing an employee when it is time for her to return from pregnancy-related leave
  • constructively dismissing a pregnant employee through harassment, demotions, unwanted transfers, excessive criticism of her work, or other negative treatment.

Pregnant women have significant legislated rights other than those under the Code, most importantly under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the federal Employment Insurance Act (EIA). These rights may overlap with Code protections, or may provide additional protections. These laws have different purposes from the Code, and are aimed at providing minimum standards only. Where there is a conflict between rights under the Code and rights under other legislation, under section 47 of the Code, the Code has primacy unless the other legislation says that it does not. See also Section II-2: “The Code prevails over other laws.”

m) Gender identity

Although “gender identity” is not currently listed as a distinct ground in the Code, complaints of discrimination may be filed under the ground of “sex.”

Gender identity is linked to a person’s intrinsic sense of self, particularly the sense of being male or female. Gender identity may not conform to a person’s birth-assigned sex. A person’s gender identity is different from and does not determine their sexual orientation.

The personal characteristics associated with gender identity include self-image, physical and biological appearance, expression, behaviour and conduct, as they relate to gender. A person’s felt identity or core identity may differ in part or in whole from the sex they were assigned at birth. Persons whose birth-assigned sex does not conform to their gender identity include transsexuals, transgenderists, intersexed persons and cross-dressers.

The term “transgendered” refers to a range of behaviours linked to a person’s sense of self, based on psychological, behavioural and cognitive factors. It is used by people who reject (or are not comfortable with) their birth-assigned sex. It is not related to a person’s sexual orientation.

Complaints related to gender identity are made almost exclusively by transgenderists and transsexuals. Transgenderists are persons who self-identify and live as the opposite gender from their birth-assigned sex, but have decided not to undergo sex-reassignment surgery. Transsexuals are people who have a strong and persistent feeling that they are living in the wrong sex. This term is normally used to describe persons who have undergone sex reassignment surgery. Transgenderists and transsexuals are among the most disadvantaged groups in our society today. People who are transgenderists and transsexuals are vulnerable to harassment and discrimination in the workplace, often arising from hatred, fear and hostility.

Denying or restricting employment opportunities because of gender identity is a violation of the Code.

Example: An employee is denied a promotion that he is qualified for because the hiring panel is not sure that he has the “leadership qualities” they are looking for. The fact that he is transgendered is commonly discussed around the office.

Example: An employee takes time off work to have sex-reassignment surgery. The employer grants the employee the time off, but when the employee returns to work after the surgery, her employment is terminated.

Example: An employee discloses to his manager that he cross-dresses. The manager then tells the employee that he will no longer qualify for promotions or further career training, because customers and co-workers will be uncomfortable with him.

Example: A transgendered employee, who presents as a female, is not permitted to wear clothing typically worn by women at the workplace.

n) Sexual orientation

The Code prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. Provisions relating to same-sex partnership have been repealed because there are new definitions of “marital status” and “spouse.” These definitions no longer require that parties to a marriage be of opposite sexes.

These changes flowed from the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Halpern v. Attorney General of Canada[24] in which the Court defined marriage as “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others.” The Government of Canada did not appeal this decision, and Ontario became the first jurisdiction in Canada where same-sex couples could legally marry. In 2005, a number of provincial statutes, including the Code, were amended to change the definitions of spouse and marriage, and remove other heterosexist bias. On July 20, 2005, the federal Civil Marriage Act was signed into law, legalizing same-sex marriage across Canada by defining civil marriage as “the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.”

The Code does not specifically define the term “sexual orientation.” However, the Commission recognizes that sexual orientation is more than simply a “status” that a person possesses – it is an immutable personal characteristic that forms part of an individual’s core identity. This ground encompasses the range of human sexuality from gay and lesbian to bisexual and heterosexual orientations, including intimate emotional and romantic attachments and relationships.

Using inappropriate terminology may compound a person’s experience of prejudice, harassment or discrimination. For example, many lesbian and gay people think the term “homosexual” is offensive, and bisexual people may also see it as exclusionary. It is generally best to use terms that individuals self-identify by, such as “bisexual,” “gay,” “lesbian” and “two-spirited.”

Most human rights complaints citing the ground of “sexual orientation” are filed by gay and lesbian people. However, the protection of the Code extends to everyone who is denied equal treatment because of sexual orientation. The Code also prohibits discrimination because of gender identity, such as that faced by transsexual, transgendered and intersex persons. These protections are extended on the basis of sex, rather than sexual orientation, and are discussed in Section III-3m: “Gender identity.”

“Homophobia” and “heterosexism” are forms of prejudice relating to sexual orientation that imply that heterosexuality is superior or preferable, and is the only right, normal or moral expression of sexuality. “Homophobia” is often defined as the irrational aversion to, or fear or hatred of gay, lesbian or bisexual people and communities, or to behaviours stereotyped as “homosexual.” Homophobia is commonly used to mean a hostile psychological state in the context of open discrimination, harassment or violence against gay, lesbian or bisexual people. “Heterosexism” refers to the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and often gives rise to less open discrimination, which may be unintentional and unrecognized by the person or organization responsible.

Despite prohibitions on discrimination and harassment, unfair treatment based on homophobia and heterosexism is widespread and even socially accepted. The Code requires that the Commission and all organizations under its mandate take steps to prevent and appropriately respond to this unfair treatment, and develop a culture of rights that includes lesbian, bisexual and gay people.

The Code covers all types of unequal treatment, including differential treatment, the loss of employment, and comments, displays and jokes that may make a person uncomfortable because of sexual orientation.

Example: An employee discloses to his manager that he is gay. The manager then tells the employee that he will no longer qualify for promotions, postings or further career training.

A person does not actually have to prove that he or she is has a particular orientation or is lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual, as long as it can be shown that there was unequal treatment because of sexual orientation.

Example: A female sales representative who shares a house with another woman is not included in a sales meeting employee spouses are invited to. The employee's manager has made the decision based on his concerns that the employee’s house-mate may in fact be her partner. The female sales representative can file a complaint with the Commission because she was subject to unequal treatment based on perceptions of her sexual orientation and marital status.

As with the other grounds, discrimination based on sexual orientation may be direct, indirect, subtle and/or systemic. Although not specifically mentioned, harassment because of sexual orientation is also prohibited as a form of discrimination. Homophobic name-calling, comments ridiculing people because of their sexual orientation, or singling out someone for humiliating or demeaning "teasing" or jokes related to sexual orientation, would in most cases be viewed as conduct or comments that "ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome." Homophobic taunts are discriminatory, no matter what perceptions of the harassers or the sexual orientation of the person exposed to such comments.[25]

Example: Demeaning remarks, jokes or innuendo about an employee's sexual orientation are told to other employees. These may deny the right of the persons who are the subject of the comments to be viewed as equals.

Example: Demeaning comments, signs, caricatures or cartoons are displayed in a workplace. These may create a "poisoned environment" in violation of the Code.

Example: The display of homophobic, derogatory or offensive pictures, graffiti or materials is humiliating and also impairs the rights of members of the targeted group to be viewed as equals.

Graffiti that is tolerated by an employer who does nothing to remove it may be creating a "poisoned environment.” Depending on the circumstances, some persons may be humiliated or may experience feelings of hurt, anger and resentment because of their sexual orientation that are not experienced by others in the same setting.

[10] Arzem v. Ontario (Minister of Community & Social Services), 2006 HRTO 17 (CanLII). See also Dudnik v. York Condominium CorpNo. 216 (1990), 12 C.H.R.R. D/325 (Ont. Bd. of Inq.); affirmed (1991) 3 O.R. (3d) 360 (Div.Ct.).
[11] Szabo v. Poley, 2007 HRTO 37 (CanLII) at paras. 17 – 19.
[12] Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v. Montreal (City), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 665.
[13] See Canadian Psychiatric Association, “Mental Illness and Work” (brochure), online:
[14] In B. v. Ontario Human Rights Commission, [2002] 3 S.C.R. 403.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Statistics Canada’s 2006 Census Dictionary, online: Statistics Canada lists these examples of ethnic origin: Canadian, English, French, Chinese, Italian, German, Scottish, East Indian, Irish, Cree, Mi'kmaq, Métis, Inuit, Ukrainian, Dutch, Filipino, Polish, Portuguese, Jewish, Greek, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Chilean, Salvadoran, Somali.
[17] Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster Inc - 1989.
[18] Linda Mooney, David Knox, Caroline Schacht & Adie Nelson, Understanding Social Problems. (Toronto: Nelson-Thomson, 2001).
[19] Huang v. 1233065 Ontario Inc. (Ottawa Senior Chinese Cultural Association), 2006 HRTO 1 (CanLII) This case has been referred back to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for a new hearing. 1233065 Ontario Inc. (Ottawa Senior Chinese Cultural Association) v. Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2007 CanLII 44345 (ON S.C.D.C.).
[20] Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, [2004] 2 S.C.R. 551 (Anselem).
[21] Jazairi v. Ontario (Human Rights Commission) (1999), 175 D.L.R. (4th) 302 (C.A.); leave to appeal refused (2000), 256 N.R. 197 (S.C.C.).
[22] Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers, [2001] S.C.R. 772.
[23] Brooks v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219.
[24] Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General) (2003), 65 O.R (3d) 161 (C.A.).
[25] North Vancouver School District No. 44 v. Jubran (2005), 39 B.C.L.R. (4th) 153 (B.C.C.A.).

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