The Human Rights Code of Ontario is the law that protects you against discrimination. It deals with many areas of your life, including housing, employment, using services, goods & facilities, entering into contracts and membership in trade unions and professional organizations.
Discrimination is when someone treats you unfairly because of who you are. Landlords, employers, and others cannot discriminate (with some exceptions) because of:
- place of origin
- ethnic origin
- sex, including being pregnant
- sexual orientation
- marital status
- family status
- receipt of public assistance (housing only)
- criminal record (employment only)
Our Clinic does not provide service in the area of human rights, unless you are already a client and discrimination is part of your case. For example, your landlord may be trying to evict you and it is because they are discriminating against you. In such a case, we could defend you on the basis that your human rights are being violated.
If you have a human rights matter and call our office, we will usually refer you to the Human Rights Legal Supports Centre. The contact information is listed below.
Human Rights Workshop: Discrimination is against the law!
You can now download a self help manual that can be used to run a workshop about the Ontario human rights system. It is designed for agencies and community groups to inform clients and the general public about what discrimination is and what you can do about it.
What to do if you feel you have been discriminated against
If you think you have experienced discrimination, you can make a complaint. You must file an "application" with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The application asks you to explain what happened to you and why you feel it is a violation of the Code. The Tribunal will try to help you settle the matter through "mediation". Mediation is a meeting with you and the person you have complained about. A person called a mediator tries to help you work through the complaint. If it cannot be settled at mediation, you will have a hearing at the Tribunal and a decision will be made. If you are not satisfied with the decision, it may be possible to take the matter to court. You will want to get legal advice to do so.