As the world grapples with the ongoing “monkeypox” outbreak, several very concerning human rights issues have been exposed.
Harassment is defined in subsection 10(1) of the Code as "engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.”
This past year, the OHRC has repeatedly denounced the escalating hate that is targeting religious and racialized communities. It is essential that we all take steps, and take them quickly, to stand in solidarity, as individuals and through our organizations, to call out Islamophobia and racism and reject the hatred and the violence it begets.
The OHRC joins community calls for governments to review hate crime laws to ensure these laws are responsive to the lived realities of hate activity across Canada, and enforcement to ensure that police are doing what is necessary to support communities in distress and keep communities safe.
The OHRC wrote to colleges and universities, asking them to identify what actions their administrations are taking to provide equitable and inclusive learning environments, including efforts to investigate discrimination and harassment in a timely and effective way.
I am writing to all public colleges and universities in Ontario after recent events have exposed that Indigenous, Black and racialized students are experiencing significant concerns of discrimination, xenophobia and targeting on campuses and in academic environments across Ontario. As service providers, all academic institutions have legally mandated human rights obligations to their students under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code).
Today, OHRC Chief Commissioner Ena Chadha released a statement on how Canada is facing two pandemics – COVID-19 and the pandemic of brazen hate, extremism and brutality.
With the rise of toxic rhetoric during the early days of COVID-19, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) publicly condemned the intensifying xenophobia and scaremongering. Yet, 10 months later, Canada continues to face a pandemic of brazen hate, extremism and brutality.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is writing to express its concern about the anti-loitering by-law that is currently being considered by Kenora City Council. The OHRC urges Kenora City Council to reject this by-law, which will likely have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable and homeless people in Kenora, the large majority of whom are Indigenous peoples. Moreover, the by-law will not solve the homelessness crisis or other social issues facing Kenora.
Given the vulnerability of tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, the OHRC wants to remind the Greater Sudbury Landlord Association and the City of Greater Sudbury as a housing service manager and OW administrator, of their human rights obligations relating to rental housing.
Following the lead of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) urges Ontarians to keep human rights principles under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (Code), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and relevant international human rights treaties at the centre of decision-making during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For me, the answer must start with understanding freedom from sexual harassment as a human right. Realizing the freedom from violence is essential to human dignity, equality, and hope.