HUMAN RIGHTS LAW

OVERVIEW

The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial law that recognizes the dignity and worth of every person. The Code gives every person the right to equal treatment and equal opportunities in five areas (known as social areas):

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Contracts
  • Goods, Services and Facilities
  • Membership in trade and vocational associations (such as unions).

The Code protects the people of Ontario from being discriminated against or harassed on any of the following grounds:

  • Race
  • Ancestry
  • Citizenship
  • Disability
  • Family Status
  • Age
  • Sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy, and gender identity)
  • Record of offences (Note: This ground applies only to claims about employment.)
  • Colour
  • Place of Origin
  • Ethnic Origin
  • Creed
  • Marital Status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Receipt of public assistance (Note: This ground applies only to claims about housing.)

EXAMPLES OF BREACHES OF THE ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE

  • EMPLOYMENT

You cannot be discriminated against in getting and keeping a job, promotion, or a raise. You cannot be discriminated against in your working conditions or in workplace discipline. You have the right to be free from harassment in the workplace.

For example, you cannot be sexually harassed at work.

  • HOUSING

The Code protects you in your “occupancy of accommodation” – the place where you live or want to live. This means, for example, you cannot be discriminated against in renting your home. You cannot be evicted on discriminatory grounds. You have the right to be free of harassment because of a Code ground by building management or other tenants.

For example, a landlord cannot deny you an apartment because you are an Aboriginal person.

  • GOODS, SERVICES AND FACILITIES

You have the right to be free from discrimination when buying a product or getting a service, or using a building or facility that is open to the public. This includes equal treatment and freedom from harassment in privately-owned services or facilities, such as stores, restaurants and theatres. It includes public services and facilities, such as police services, schools, education, health care, public transit, and government programs.

For example, a police officer cannot discriminate against you because you are Muslim

  • CONTRACTS

The Code protects you from discrimination in both written, oral (spoken) or signed (in the case of sign language) contracts. It covers all types of contracts, such as buying a house or a business.

For example, a condo corporation cannot refuse to sell you a condo because you have children.

  • MEMBERSHIP

Every person has the right to equal treatment in membership of a union, a trade or occupational association, or a self-governing profession.

For example, a union cannot refuse you membership because you are a woman.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

Human Rights is a unique area of law that requires a thorough understanding of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the practice and procedures of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. In some instances, a human rights claim may need to proceed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Given the complicated nature of the matters and the extensive procedural requirements, it is in your best interest to retain a legally trained professional to assist you with your human rights claims.

If you or someone you know believes they have been discriminated against or has already filed a complaint, contact Sack (Q.C.) and Bogle Law today for assistance. The lawyers at Sack (Q.C.) and Bogle Law have extensive experience in defending individuals with human rights claims.