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New e-learning package puts human rights training online

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December 10, 2010

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For immediate publication

Toronto – Marking International Human Rights Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today launches Rental Housing e-learning at an event hosted by the York Centre for Human Rights. This second in a series of e-learning courses provides online learning and training for everyone who needs information on human rights issues that come up in rental housing.

Users will learn that in Ontario, the Human Rights Code applies to both tenants and landlords, and that everyone has the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination or harassment.

This means that people cannot be refused an apartment, harassed by a housing provider or other tenants, or otherwise treated unfairly because of one or more of the protected grounds under the Code such as race, age, family status or sexual orientation. It also means that landlords are responsible for making sure that their rental properties are free from discrimination and harassment.

This new e-learning module gives a number of examples of the ways in which people face barriers in getting housing, such as:

  • Ads that read “adults only”, which effectively screen out tenants with children;
  • Practices that stream new immigrants and single mothers into older buildings or ignore repairs to units because it is assumed some tenants are less responsible than others; or
  • agreeing to rent over the phone, and then reneging when the landlord sees that the renter is someone from a certain racial background, or has a disability.

And for landlords, it gives practical advice on how to prevent and address human rights issues, such as knowing:

  • what information they can and cannot ask for when choosing tenants;
  • how they can remove barriers for older tenants or those with disabilities; or
  • how to avoid developing rental ads that exclude certain groups of people.

“Human rights in housing is a key priority for the OHRC. Now people from across the province can access human rights learning anywhere, any time at the click of a button and make written rights a reality,” commented Barbara Hall, OHRC Chief Commissioner.

“It is fitting to introduce the eLearning course at York University,” said Noël Badiou, Director of the University’s Centre for Human Rights. “York students who live near campus may be experiencing some of the concerns this online tool is meant to address and our international students may not know their rights are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.”

The module is being launched at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, December 10th at York University.

The link for the live webcast is: