About the Commission

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) was established as an arm’s length agency of government in 1961 to prevent discrimination and to promote and advance human rights in Ontario. The OHRC is one pillar of Ontario’s human rights system, alongside the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).

Ontario Human Rights Commission Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022

This Strategic Plan provides the framework for 2017 – 2022. It lays out our proactive areas of focus for the coming five years. It is geared toward achieving results and creating an environment that encourages and supports a commitment to human rights accountability in our community. This Strategic Plan allows for developing, each year, a focused list of valid, necessary and measurable actions that advance the OHRC towards results. Internally, it provides the basis for more detailed operational plans to make sure that all organizational activities connect to results.
 
We envision an inclusive society where everyone takes responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights; where everyone is valued and treated with equal dignity and respect; and where everyone’s human rights are a lived reality.

We believe that the way to realize this vision is to activate and engage the full range of our functions and powers under the Ontario Human Rights Code and our institutional expertise to dismantle the complex, intersecting dynamics and conditions that foster and perpetuate systemic discrimination.

Our mission is to promote and enforce human rights, to engage in relationships that embody the principles of dignity and respect, and to create a culture of human rights compliance and accountability. We act as a driver for social change based on principles of substantive equality. We accomplish our mission by exposing, challenging and ending entrenched and widespread structures and systems of discrimination through education, policy development, public inquiries and litigation.

Administrative: 

Our values

We commit to embodying the following in all of our work and ways of working:

  • Respectful, engaged, trusting and collaborative relationships: We will engage in respectful, trusting and collaborative relationships, and put the lived-experience of people at the centre of our work.
     
  • Transformative approaches: We will be courageous, persistent, creative and innovative in pursuing systemic change and real impact.
     
  • Integrity: We will be principled and independent in advancing and securing substantive equality.
     
  • Accountability: We will be transparent and accountable to the people of Ontario both in terms of the pursuit of our mandate and the use of our resources.

Meet our Commissioners

Commissioners have in-depth knowledge and expertise in human rights issues and issues relating to vulnerable populations, public policy, social values, and concepts of fairness, justice and public service. 

Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane  - Appointed October 2015

Renu Mandhane was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in October 2015. She is the former Executive Director of the award-winning International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She has an LL.M in international human rights law from New York University. Renu began her practice focused on criminal law, and in that capacity she represented many survivors of sexual violence and prisoners. Renu sits on the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations. Most recently, Renu was recognized by Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of Canada’s most influential lawyers for her advocacy related to solitary confinement.

Commissioner Karen Drake – Appointed June 2016

Karen Drake is an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University (formerly at Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University), a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, and a Commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Her teaching and research interests include Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe law and Métis law. She previously clerked with the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. She previously served on the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Bar Association, as a commissioner with the Métis Nation of Ontario's Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government, and on the Thunder Bay Métis Council.

Commissioner Mary Gusella – Appointed February 2016

Mary Gusella has served as the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States, a member of the Public Service Commission, President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Chair and President of Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation. In addition, she was a board member and President of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and a member of the Canadian Human Rights Museum Advisory Committee. Ms. Gusella holds a membership with the Law Society of Upper Canada and the International Commission of Jurists – Canadian Section. She has a Certificate from the Canadian Securities Institute and holds undergraduate degrees from the Universities of Toronto and Ottawa. Ms. Gusella also serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).

Commissioner Kwame McKenzie - Appointed June 2016

Kwame McKenzie is the CEO of Wellesley Institute. He is a Professor of Psychiatry at University of Toronto and medical director of health equity at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is a member of the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council to Ontario's Minister of Health and sits on advisories to the Ministry of Education, Ministry and Housing and the Provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy. He serves on the boards of the United Way Toronto and York Region, and Ontario Hospitals Association.

Commissioner Errol Mendes – Appointed September 2009

Professor Mendes is a lawyer, author and professor, and has been an advisor to corporations, governments, civil society groups and the United Nations. His teaching, research and consulting interests include public and private sector gov­ernance, conflict resolution, constitutional law, international law and human rights law and policy. He has authored or edited 11 leading texts in these areas. He has been a Project Leader for conflict resolution, governance and justice projects in China,Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, El Salvador and Sri Lanka.

Since 1979, Professor Mendes has taught at Law Faculties across the coun­try, including the University of Alberta, Edmonton, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario and the University of Ottawa from 1992 to present. He recently completed a Visiting Fellowship at Harvard Law School.

Commissioner Bruce Porter - Appointed June 2016

Bruce Porter is a leading advocate for the rights of people living in poverty and the homeless. He is currently serving as the executive director of Canada's Social Rights Advocacy Centre and is a senior advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. Commissioner Porter recently co-directed a 10-year collaborative research project on social rights in Canada and has co-edited two books on social rights, in addition to writing many articles on the subject. Commissioner Porter lives and works outside of Huntsville, Ontario.

Commissioner Maurice Switzer - Appointed June 2016

Maurice Switzer Bnesi is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation. He is the principal of Nimkii Communications, a public education practice which focuses on the treaty relationship between First Nations and the Canadian government. He has served as the director of communications for both the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of Ontario Indians. Commissioner Switzer was also the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada and currently resides in North Bay.

Commissioner Léonie Tchatat - Appointed February 2017

Léonie Tchatat, a Canadian of Cameroonian origin, is recognized for her leadership building long lasting bridges between the larger society and diverse, newcomer Francophone communities. She has contributed her expertise in inclusion issues to develop initiatives such as Compétences Culturelles, a skills training program declared a best practice by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Government of Ontario. She is the driving force behind Ontario Business Platform 3.0, a holistic entrepreneurship platform that has helped dozens of young Francophone entrepreneurs launch their business projects in Ontario. She has launched two province-wide awareness raising campaigns under the title “Immigrant veut dire” (“Francophone immigrant means: a stronger Ontarian francophonie!”).

Ms. Tchatat launched and currently co-chairs the first-ever Francophone Workforce Development Council, and serves on IRCC’s Comité directeur – Communautés francophones en situation minoritaire. In 2012 she joined the Ontario government’s Expert Roundtable on Immigration, and in 2014 she served on the Technical Advisory Group supporting Ontario’s work on the Poverty Reduction Strategy. She is currently a member of the City of Toronto’s French Committee and serves on the Ontario Planning Board for a French-language university. She is a well-known spokesperson and the proud mother of two boys.

Administrative: 

Community Advisory Group

The OHRC has created a Community Advisory Group to provide ongoing ideas and advice as we work to meet our strategic priorities: embodying human rights through reconciliation, enforcing human rights in the criminal justice system, advancing human rights by addressing poverty, and promoting a human rights culture through education. This group was set up to begin – and in many cases to continue – an ongoing, meaningful conversation between the OHRC and the many communities we serve. The conversation is about collaboration, partnerships and mutual support.

Our Strategic Plan commits us to putting people and their rights at the centre – and this group will help us do just that.

We had an application and selection process, which began with inviting individuals to submit a statement of interest. We asked members to commit to one-year terms, which are renewable.

Community Advisory Group members reflect a wide cross-section of Ontario communities, including:

  • Persons with lived experience, across Code grounds
  • Persons who have worked in organizations providing services to the community or representing community members in their area of related expertise
  • Persons with diverse geographic representation
  • Persons with academic or policy expertise
  • First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit peoples
  • Representation from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)
  • Representation from the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC).

The OHRC works with many diverse stakeholders across Ontario. We will continue to seek advice, partnerships and support on an ongoing basis with individuals who may not be members of the Advisory Group. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that all Ontarians have a voice on human rights issues.


Zanana Akande

Zanana Akande was the first Black woman to be appointed to Ontario’s Cabinet, when she served as Minister of Community and Social Services in Premier Bob Rae’s government.

After leaving politics, Ms. Akande served as president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, the Canadian Alliance of Black Educators and the Toronto Child Abuse Centre. She worked with several other community-based endeavours including the United Way of Greater Toronto, the Family Services Association, the Elizabeth Fry Society and Doctors Hospital. She was the recipient of the African Canadian Achievement Award for Education and the Award of Distinction from the Congress of Black Women.

Ms. Akande is quoted as saying “A city as large and culturally diverse as Toronto owes whatever success in racial harmony it enjoys to the constant vigilance of its citizens, its officials, and its organizations.” In her years of public service she has continued to demonstrate the vigilance necessary to promote and encourage Toronto’s attempts towards racial harmony.

Nigel Barriffe
President, Urban Alliance on Race Relations

A community organizer and an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board in Rexdale, Nigel is a Board member of the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, Board Chair of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, and a member of the Good Jobs For All Coalition. Nigel’s activist work focuses on quality public education, good green jobs, and a more just society for all inside and outside the classroom.

Juana Berinstein
Director of Policy and Communication, Association of Ontario Midwives

Juana Berinstein is the Director of Policy and Communications for the Association of Ontario Midwives (since 2007). Under her leadership, the Association has successfully campaigned for the expansion of midwifery, the development of birth centres and funding for Aboriginal midwifery. She has been involved in policy initiatives, systemic advocacy and community consultation at the municipal, provincial and federal level in the areas of health, workers’ rights and social justice.

Juana has a Master’s degree in Communication and Culture. She was a Board Member (2010-13) at Health Nexus, a leading non-profit organization working on health promotion and equity, and a mentor with Rainbow Health Ontario’s public policy institute, which looked at addressing health barriers for the 2SLGBTQ community (2014). She immigrated to Canada at the age of 7 from Argentina and lives in Toronto with her partner and their two wonderful daughters.

Paul Champ
Champ and Associates

Paul Champ is a human rights and employment lawyer based in Ottawa. Paul and his clients have established legal precedents in disability rights, privacy, racial discrimination, First Nations’ health care and child welfare, prisoners’ rights, and corporate accountability for abuses in foreign countries. Paul has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on several occasions and in 2013 he was honoured by the International Commission of Jurists with the Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award for outstanding contributions to domestic and international human rights.

Uppala Chandrasekera
Director, Public Policy, Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario

Uppala Chandrasekera has over 15 years of work experience in the health sector, ranging from front-line work assisting individuals and families with mental health and addictions issues, to supporting mental health programming province-wide, and implementing the national strategy to address mental health across Canada.

Currently, Uppala is the Director of Public Policy at the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario, and she also serves on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Her writings examine impact of the lived experience of discrimination on the health and well-being of marginalized individuals and communities, and her advocacy efforts are focused on reducing health disparities, promoting human rights and addressing discrimination in the health care and social services systems.

Twitter: @UppalaC

Jeewan Chanicka
Superintendent, Equity, Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression, Toronto District School Board

Jeewan Chanicka is the Superintendent of Equity, Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression at Toronto District School Board. His work is focused on embedding an anti-oppressive/racist approach through structures that impact student achievement and well-being. As an instructional leader in schools, he has worked to develop culturally responsive social justice inquiry for classrooms and schools. He has also spent much of his career working with students identified as being "at risk" and re-engaging them in schooling. He has consulted with the United Nations University of Peace, and was a Torchbearer for the 2015 PanAm games.

Jeewan is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee award for his work in Education and Community Service. He is a community organizer and co-founder of the Coalition Against White Supremacy and Islamophobia. Recently, he recieved the Mary Samuels Educational Leadership Award from the Harmony Movement. Jeewan sits at the Anti-Racism Directorate's Provincial Roundtable on Islamophobia.

Lisa Cirillo
Executive Director, Downtown Legal Services,University of Toronto Faculty of Law Community Legal Clinic

Lisa Cirillo is the Executive Director of Downtown Legal Services, the University of Toronto Faculty of Law legal clinic. Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. She studied law at Queen’s University and received her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Since her call the Bar in 1998, Lisa has practiced law in a wide variety of social justice organizations including DLS, ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In addition to her legal work, Lisa has extensive experience in public legal education, community outreach, teaching and training. She is a frequent presenter and requested speaker on a wide variety of public interest topics including family law, violence against women, poverty law, access to justice and human rights issues.

Lisa joined the Board of ACCLE (the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education) in 2011 and served as President from 2013 – 2017. She also serves as a member of the National Steering Committee for NAWL (National Association of Women and the Law) and Legal Aid Ontario’s Clinic Law Advisory Committee.

Claudette Commanda
Executive Director, First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres

Mojdeh Cox
National Director of Anti-Racism and Human Rights, Canadian Labour Congress

Mojdeh Cox is an award-winning and provincially recognized anti-racism and anti-oppression public educator and speaker. She has worked with municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and small- to medium-sized businesses to develop strategies to be more inclusive and address system racism. In her professional life, Mojdeh works in government relations within the labour movement, advocating for better social, political and economic conditions for working people.

Mojdeh’s profound personal experiences with racism, sexism and xenophobia propelled her into what is not only her passion, but also survival as an activist for human rights. Mojdeh lives in Ottawa with her spouse and four children.

Michael Creek
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Working For Change

Michael Creek is the Director of Strategic Initiatives with Working for Change (www.Workingforchage.ca); former coordinator of the Toronto Speakers Bureau, Voices from the Street, where he has learned research, public policy and public speaking. Michael is a psychiatric consumer/survivor and a person with a lived experience of homelessness and poverty.

Michael is also a Board Director at the Inner-city Family Health at Saint Michael’s Hospital, and is an Honorary Friend of Nursing with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Michael continues to work with marginalized communities and people, and encourages them to speak out so that their voices can make a difference in shaping policy and planning with governments. Only when we as a society allow people who have been silenced by oppression and circumstance to be heard can we understand how to build a better place for us all.

Natalie Dagenais
Director, Policy, Research and International Division, Canadian Human Rights Commission

Natalie Dagenais is the Director of the Policy, Research and International Division at the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). Natalie has spent most of her career working in the human rights field. She started her career with a federally regulated employer, then joined the Public Service where, except for an assignment with the Treasury Board Secretariat in the early 2000s, she has worked mainly for the CHRC, where she has held various other positions, including that of Director of the Investigations Division.

Natalie has a Civil Law Degree (LL.L) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), both from the University of Ottawa. She has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1995.

Jeremy Dias
Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity

Jeremy Dias was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up there until moving to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where he attended high school. As a youth, he was motivated by social and political inequality to take action, volunteering with many organizations and charities. In high school, he started and led several clubs including Stop Racism and Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving. He also founded and coordinated Sault Ste. Marie’s first regional LGBTQ youth group.

After coming out in high school, Jeremy faced extreme cases of discrimination by students and school officials. At 17, he began a legal case against his school and school board, and at 21 won Canada’s second largest human rights settlement. Jeremy used the money to found the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity, the International Day of Pink and the Jeremy Dias Scholarship.

Jeremy has been featured on Canada AM, Much Music, CTV News, Global News and CBC News; and has been a keynote speaker at countless conferences and events.

He has completed a degree in Psychology and Political Science at the University of Ottawa, continues to volunteer for several organizations including Minister of the Status of Women’s Gender Based Violence Prevention Advisory Committee and the Ottawa Police Liaison Committee. He is also a columnist for 2B Magazine in Montreal. Jeremy Dias currently serves as Director of the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity (and the International Day of Pink).

Debbie Douglas
Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Debbie Douglas is an active feminist and anti-racism activist. She is the Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, where she leads a sector of more than 230 agencies concerned with immigrant and refugee integration and social and economic inclusion.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Debbie was active in the leadership of Ontario’s first shelter geared to abused immigrant women; was also an advocate for employment equity and worked to establish anti-discriminatory systems and practices in public institutions with a focus on the intersection of identities. Debbie serves on many boards including the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement, Women’s College Hospital, and co-chairs the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Leadership Table. She is the former co-chair of the National Working Group on Immigration and Settlement at the Canadian Council for Refugees.

Among her many awards are the 2004 YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction Award, and the 2014 Race Relations award from the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. This year, she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Inspire Awards.

Yasin Dwyer

Imam Yasin Dwyer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to parents of Jamaican heritage. Before joining Muslim Chaplaincy at Ryerson University, Yasin was a part of the multi-faith chaplaincy team at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He has lectured extensively on topics such as spirituality and the arts, Black Canadian culture and the history of Muslims in the west. Along with working alongside many non-profit organizations in Canada, Yasin was the first full-time Canadian Muslim chaplain to work with the Correctional Service of Canada, a position he held for 12 years. He is also a board member of the Montreal based Institut Route de la Soie/Silk Road Institute, which is dedicated to expressing Canadian Muslim narratives through the visual, auditory and performing arts.

Patti Fairfield
Executive Director, Ne-Chee Friendship Centre

Patti Fairfield is the Executive Director of the Ne-Chee Friendship Centre in Kenora, Ontario. Patti first started working at the friendship centre as an Employment Counsellor in October 2002. She started serving as Acting Executive Director in January 2013 and became the permanent Executive Director in October 2013, overseeing 20 programs that cover everything from employment and training, education, health, justice and social services.

Through her employment she sits on many committees.  She has been a Rotarian since 2014 and sits as a volunteer Board member for both Sunset Area Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service and the Adult Learning Line.

Avvy Go
Clinic Director, Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic

Avvy Go is the Clinic Director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (formerly known as the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic.) She received her B.A. in economics and management studies from the University of Waterloo, LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School. Since her call to the Bar in 1991, she has worked exclusively in the legal clinic system, serving the legal needs of low-income individuals and families, the majority of whom are non-English speaking immigrants and refugees. Immigration, human rights, and employment law are some of the main areas of law that she practices in.  

Avvy is a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), and has been serving in that role, on and off, since 2001. She also serves on the LSUC’s Access to Justice Committee, the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee and the Human Rights Monitoring Group.

Avvy was a part time adjudicator of the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (from 2006 to 2016), and a member of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board (from 2011 to 2016). In March, 2016, Avvy was appointed to the Licence Appeal Tribunal as a part-time adjudicator.

Between 2009 and 2011, Avvy served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Justice Education Network. Avvy served on the Advisory Council of the Canadian Human Rights Museum between 2011 and 2013. Since 2011, she has been serving as a member of the Community Council of the Law Commission of Ontario.

Avvy has given many lectures and educational seminars in various areas of law. She has also published articles in various publications including law journals, law books, community and mainstream newspapers, dealing with a variety of subject matters, most notably legal and policy issues affecting immigrants and racialized communities. Avvy spends much time doing community organizing and advocacy work.

Avvy has received the following awards: Senate of Canada 150 medal (2017), SOAR Medal (2017), Order of Ontario (2014), Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers’ Lawyer of Distinction Award (2012), City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations (2008) and President's Award of the Women's Law Association of Ontario (2002).

Kenneth Hale
Director of Advocacy and Legal Services, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO)

Kenneth Hale is a lawyer and the Legal Director of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO). His work there focuses on law reform, training and test cases on behalf of low-income residential tenants. He was the Lawyer-Director of South Etobicoke Community Legal Services for over 20 years before moving to ACTO in 2008. His commitment to human rights arises from helping clients and communities to overcome the impact of poverty and housing insecurity, and seeing the barriers to success faced by members of equality-seeking groups.

Ian Hamilton
Executive Director, Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education

As Executive Director of Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education, Ian helps set the strategic directions and oversee the work of a team of 40 staff. This team designs and delivers innovative human rights education programs across Canada and overseas, which empower learners, particularly children and youth, to become leaders for social change in their communities. Before joining Equitas in 1997, Ian worked with Rights and Democracy and then spent almost two years in Thailand assisting their campaign to establish a National Human Rights Commission. Ian grew up in Toronto and graduated from University of Toronto in 1990 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History.

Kelly Hannah-Moffat
Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, University of Toronto

As the University of Toronto’s Vice President, Human Resources & Equity, Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat is responsible for employment and labour relations with 22 unions and three staff associations, salary and benefits negotiations with the Faculty Association, as well as addressing risks associated with collective agreement negotiations, mediations, grievances and work stoppages. She creates and implements policies that reflect the University's commitment to equity and diversity for students, faculty and staff. She is the Crisis Manager for the University, the Co-Chair for the High Risk Committee and is part of the Institutional On-Call Executive system.

Professor Hannah-Moffat is responsible for the Personal Safety, High Risk, Sexual Violence Prevention and Support team and assisted in the development of the new Sexual Violence Policy. She is a Full Professor in Criminology, and her research has made important contributions to criminology, sociology, and legal issues. Her interdisciplinary research on criminal records disclosures, risk, punishment, and marginalized and diverse populations has contributed to the advancement of knowledge in sociology, criminology, law and social justice, and penal history. Her work has had concrete implications for social and criminal justice policy change, institutional/legal reform and institutional risk meeting practices.

Dakota Heon
Meeting Co-chair, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres – Indigenous Youth Council

Aanii, Wachey, Sago, and Hello. My name is Dakota Heon and I was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, but now reside in North Bay, Ontario. I am an Indigenous student currently enrolled at Nipissing University and am completing a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare and Development with a Social Services Work Diploma.

Outside of being a student, I also do quite a bit of volunteer work. Some of this work includes sitting on the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres’ Indigenous Youth Council. My current position is the meeting co-chair and my previous position was the Northeast Regional Youth Representative.

Raihanna Hirji-Khalfan
Accessibility Specialist, McMaster University - Equity and Inclusion Office

Raihanna Hirji-Khalfan is a racialized, visibly Muslim, Brown, British/Canadian, immigrant/settler, woman and mom. She has over 10 years’ experience designing, leading and implementing educational initiatives on a range of human rights issues such as disability, ableism and accessibility, human rights, anti-oppression and Islamophobia. She is passionate about human rights because every human is human and everyone should be afforded the dignity, respect and opportunity to live without fear of discrimination.

Carl James
Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, York University

Dr. Carl James is the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora in the Faculty of Education, and cross-appointed to the Graduate Programs in Sociology, Social Work, and Social and Political Thought at York University. In his role as Chair, he gives particular attention to issues of Black and other racialized people using a framework of equity, inclusivity, and social justice; and in the process seeks to foster university-school-community-government partnerships.

A former youth and community worker, James is widely recognized for his work with racialized communities; and nationally and internationally, for his scholarship and research pertaining to equity and access to opportunities in terms of race, class, gender, racialization, immigration and citizenship. On an international level, James has worked with teacher educators, teachers and teacher-candidates at Uppsala University, Sweden (1997 to 2013). In addition to his many community awards, James also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Uppsala University for his contribution to social equity and anti-racism education; and is an elected Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada.

Ken Jeffers
Senior Manager, Equitable and Inclusive System Culture, Toronto District School Board

Ken Jeffers is the newly appointed Senior Manager for Equitable and Inclusive System Culture at the Toronto District School Board. Ken’s background is as a teacher and child and youth worker and he has been an employee of the TDSB since amalgamation. He began his career within the TDSB as an Equity Program Advisor, designing and delivering programs for staff and youth, playing an advocate role for students experiencing discrimination – helping to draft and implement the TDSB’s Equity and Human Right’s polices as early as 1999. From 2009-2017, Ken worked as Coordinator of the Board’s Gender-Based Violence Prevention Office, implementing a system-wide prevention strategy for almost 600 schools and programs, over 230,000 students and over 30,000 employees across the district.

Dr. Salha Jeizan, EdD.
Chair, MIAG – Centre for Diverse Women and Families

Dr. Salha Jeizan is an educator, community leader and activist who works and volunteers with grassroots organizations, advocating for women and youth. She is committed to raising awareness of issues facing diverse comminutes. Salha is a professor with Sheridan College and Adjunct Faculty at Capella University. She has served on many boards and is the chair of MIAG – Centre for Diverse Women and Families, immediate past president of The Federation of Muslim Women, a committee member on Parent Involvement Committee of the Peel District School Board (PDSB), Muslim Advisory Committee of Peel Regional Police, and founder of Umoja Women’s Association.

April Julian
Director of Education, Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust

April Julian joined the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Education Trust (CCLET) in 2009. She became Deputy Director of Education in 2014, and Director in 2016. An Ontario Certified Teacher, April is responsible for developing and delivering CCLET’s various education initiatives in Ontario and beyond. With the help of her colleagues at CCLA/CCLET, April delivers civil liberties programming to nearly 10,000 learners each year – including elementary and high school students, pre-service and in-service teachers, newcomers to Canada, and youth in custody. In her work, April strives to encourage a deeper understanding and respect for the rights and freedoms of everyone in Canada.

Farrah Khan
Manager, Consent Comes First – Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education at Ryerson University

Farrah Khan has spent two decades working diligently to raise awareness about the connection between equity and gender-based violence. She was named co-chair of Ontario’s first permanent provincial roundtable on Violence Against Women and the Federal Strategy Against Gender-based Violence Advisory Council. She conducts training across North America on gender justice, sexual violence, forced marriage and consent. Farrah is co-founder of innovative community projects including Use the Right Words: Media Reporting on Sexual Violence, Heartbeats: The IZZAT Project, and is a regular contributor to major news media outlets. She is the Manager of Consent Comes First, Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education at Ryerson University, where she works with community members affected by sexual violence, creates educational programming and aids in shaping campus policy and procedures. Farrah has received many awards, including the Toronto Community Foundation Vital People Award and a Women Who Inspire award from Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

Saleha Khan
Organizational Development Specialist – Diversity & Inclusion, City of London

Saleha J. Khan is a human rights and social justice activist and educator with more than 15 years of experience in training with law enforcement and the public service sector, working with diverse communities in Ontario, Canada and abroad. Saleha’s areas of expertise include social justice, human rights and responsibilities, hate crimes, and the settlement sector’s challenges and opportunities with the new Canadians. She has worked in the human capital, equity and inclusion field for more than 15 years, She is involved in volunteer efforts in empowering women and members of immigrant and racialized communities, regarding family and partner abuse. Saleha is the co-founder of the Family Honour Project, housed out of London, Ontario, She is also a charter member of the London Chapter for Sorpotimist International. Saleha received the Canadian Council of Muslim Women’s Women who Inspire Award for 2015.

She is currently employed as the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist with the City of London, Ontario. Saleha can be reached via LinkedIn.

Anita Khanna
National Coordinator, Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty

Anita Khanna works at Family Service Toronto as National Coordinator, Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty in Canada and Director of Social Action and Community Building. Anita is an advocate for social justice and equity whose work is driven by anti-racist, anti-oppressive analysis. She was Executive Director of the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) and City-Wide organizer at Social Planning Toronto. Anita’s work and activist experience spans legal, gender-based violence, migrant justice and youth advocacy issues. Please tag @campaign2000 on twitter and on Facebook.

Raja Khouri
President, Canadian Arab Institute

Raja Khouri is president of the Canadian Arab Institute, a policy think tank he co-founded in 2011. Raja is co-founder of the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group, and an international consultant in organizational development and capacity building. Raja formerly served on several government and civil society bodies, such as Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group (for the Attorney General and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services), the Minister of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable, the Pride Toronto Community Advisory Panel, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, and as advocacy co-chair of Human Rights Watch Canada. He served as president of the Canadian Arab Federation in the period following the events of 9/11.

Raja’s earlier career included a senior management position at CIBC and management consulting tenures in Europe and the Middle East. He has designed and chaired conferences, given and moderated lectures, many media interviews, and published commentaries in journals and major Canadian dailies. He’s the author of Arabs in Canada: Post 9/11. Raja served as a Commissioner with the OHRC from 2006 to 2016.

Lori Kleinsmith
Health Promoter, Bridges Community Health Centre

Lori Kleinsmith has worked as a Health Promoter at Bridges Community Health Centre since 2009. Lori is a passionate social justice and health equity advocate and has been an active member of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network for several years. She is the current chair of the Niagara Dental Health Coalition and co-chair of the City of Port Colborne’s Social Determinants of Health Committee of Council. Follow Lori on Twitter at @LoriKleinsmith.

Robert Lattanzio
Executive Director, ARCH Disability Law

Roberto Lattanzio is the Executive Director of ARCH Disability Law Centre. He joined ARCH as an articling student in 2003 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2004. Robert received his LL.B and B.C.L. law degrees from McGill University in 2003 with distinction, and received his B.A. from Concordia University in 1999 with honours. He has acted as counsel in test case litigation at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has made law reform submissions to various levels of government, committees and administrative bodies. Robert has presented and written on topics such as equality and human rights law, administrative law, education law, legislative reform, and social science evidence. Robert has a long-standing interest in disability issues and worked extensively with disability communities prior to attending law school.

Elizabeth McIsaac
President, Maytree Foundation

Elizabeth McIsaac is the president of Maytree, an organization committed to exploring solutions to poverty in Canada using a human rights approach. She has a deep history with Maytree; she previously served as the Director of Policy and was the executive director of one of Maytree’s signature ideas: the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Elizabeth is also a dedicated champion of the non-profit sector, having most recently established and led a research hub at the Mowat Centre focused on public policy and the sector.

Fallon Melander
Policy Counsel, Legal Aid Ontario

Fallon Melander is Anishinaabe, a mother, a wife, a travel enthusiast and a member of Wikwemikoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She completed her B.A. at the University of Western Ontario and her LL.B. at the University of Ottawa. She is Policy Counsel for Legal Aid Ontario leading the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, and is a member of the Indigenous Bar Association.

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv
Director, Equality Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv joined CCLA in 2002 as a legal researcher. Since 2005 she has directed CCLA’s Expression and Equality programs. Noa has been published, made submissions, appearances and presentations, and advocated on such issues as refugee protection, LGBTQ rights, racial profiling, freedom of expression and religion, and the intersectionality of rights, in particular religious freedom and equality. Noa has coordinated many CCLA interventions in a variety of Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and human rights tribunals; appeared before Parliamentary and provincial legislative committees, governmental and public bodies; and provided written submissions. She has also appeared on panels, at conferences, in press interviews, and provided guest workshops and lessons through CCLET’s public education project. In addition, Noa manages CCLA’s law student volunteer programs.

Noa has an LL.B. and LL.M. from the Hebrew University in Israel, and a B.A. (with distinction) from York University. She completed her legal articles at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and was called to the Israeli Bar in 1998. She worked for a few years as an associate at a private law firm in Jerusalem, practicing litigation, labour, commercial and corporate law. Noa has also served as Field Coordinator for a large research project on eating disorders in women, and as Acting Administrative Director of Hebrew University Law Faculty’s Center for Human Rights.

Nicola Mulima
Executive Director, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation

Nicola Mulima, Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), is an Ontario Lawyer who was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1995 and has worked in both the public and private sector for over 20 years. Nicola has served as Executive Director and Staff Lawyer for Legal Aid Ontario community legal clinics and at the Legal Aid Ontario head office. In each of Nicola’s Legal Aid positions she served as the Housing Lead, while also practicing in several other areas of clinic law, including human rights and social assistance. Nicola also served as Legal Counsel with the Region of Peel in the areas of housing and commercial law and as General Counsel with World Vision Canada.

Nicola has been committed to social justice and human rights issues throughout her career, and has served on several boards of directors for agencies addressing issues of poverty and equality.

Kike Ojo
Project Manager – One Vision One Voice: Changing the Child Welfare System for African Canadian Families

Kike Ojo is the Project Manager for One Vision One Voice: Changing the Child Welfare System for African Canadian Families, a community-led project facilitated by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. Kike has worked in the field of child welfare in Ontario for over 10 years, advancing an equity agenda to address services to all marginalized people. Prior to her child welfare career, Kike worked within multiple social service sectors and within communities in the US and Canada, and has presented many keynotes, guest lectures and workshops.

Kike’s work and volunteer efforts earned her the Lincoln M. Alexander Community Award for extraordinary leadership in eliminating racial discrimination in Ontario, and several other awards and recognitions. Over the past two years, Kike has been featured in the Toronto Star, on The Agenda with Steve Paikin (TVO), CBC News, and CBC Radio across Ontario.

Kike’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in International Justice and Human Rights from McMaster University, a Master of Arts in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education, University of Toronto. Additionally Kike is a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution mediator.

Paula Osmok
Executive Director, John Howard Society of Ontario

Paula Osmok is the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Ontario, a position she has held since 2002. During this time, she established the Centre of Research and Policy, and through its team of professional researchers, policy analysts and evaluators, has engaged in leading-edge research and policy work, making significant contributions to social and criminal justice literature and program development in Ontario. She was elected for four successive terms as a public school trustee in her local community, serving as Chair of the Board and of many committees.

She has presented at many conferences and training sessions on a range of criminal and social justice topics including the importance of human rights in carceral settings. A special focus is required for carceral settings because prisons are environments where human rights can be most easily disregarded.

Paula holds an MSc, in Criminal Justice Studies from the University of Leicester in the UK.

Pam Palmater
Chair in Indigenous Governance, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

Pam Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation. She’s been a practicing lawyer for 18 years and holds the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. Pam is an activist and was one of the spokespeople and educators for the Idle No More movement. She is a well-known public speaker often called before Parliamentary and United Nations committees as an expert on Indigenous rights.

Twitter: @Pam_Palmater
Facebook: Pam Palmater
Website: www.pampalmater.com
Blog: www.indigenousnationhood.blogspot.com
LinkedIn: Dr. Pam Palmater
Instagram: Pam_Palmater

Jessica Reekie, B.A. LL.B.
Executive Director, Ontario Justice Education Network

Jess Reekie is the Executive Director of the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), a charitable not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that develops innovative educational tools that introduce young people to the justice system, help them understand the law, and build their legal capability (www.ojen.ca).

A graduate of Harvard University and Dalhousie Law School, Jess practiced immigration and refugee law before she began working in the field of public legal education. She joined OJEN in 2008, first as a Program Manager developing public legal education programs and resources for newcomer youth, later becoming Director of Programs where she oversaw all of OJEN’s justice education work with vulnerable and marginalized youth. In 2014, she became OJEN’s Executive Director. Jess also serves as a Board Member for the Public Legal Education Association of Canada (PLEAC).

Cecil Roach
Coordinating Superintendent, Equity and Community Services, York Region District School Board

In his 33-year career as an educator, Cecil Roach has had the opportunity to have a very profound impact on the lives of young people. He has done this as a classroom teacher, school administrator, and now Coordinating Superintendent.

Born on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat (now sadly devastated by a continuously erupting volcano) and arriving in Canada in his early teens, Cecil completed most of his schooling in Montreal where he graduated from Marymount High School, Vanier College CEGEP, and Concordia and McGill Universities. He maintains that his time as one of the “barrel children” (children whose parents left them behind with a grandparent while they prepared for their reunion in Canada) has given him special insight into the dynamics of immigration and its effect on student achievement and well-being. This experience has also strengthened Mr. Roach’s belief that schools are places where students, regardless of their social identities, can expand dreams on their journey towards full participation in Canadian society.

Cecil taught English for 16 years in Quebec at Chambly County High School and Centennial Regional High School and in Ontario at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute before becoming an administrator in 1995. He is currently serving as Coordinating Superintendent, Equity and Community Services for the York Region District School Board.

Paul Robitaille
Chair, Métis Nation of Ontario Youth Council

Paul Robitaille is a Métis graduate student and community organizer, with a strong passion for youth empowerment and cultural revitalization. Paul’s academic and professional work seeks to promote greater understanding and collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through creating opportunities for respectful cross-cultural dialogue and knowledge exchange. Paul is excited to join the Community Advisory Group and to collectively work towards building a more inclusive, equitable and barrier-free Ontario for all Ontarians.

Nancy Rowe
Elder, Traditional Teacher

Giidaakunadaad (The Spirit Who Lives in High Places) n’dizhinikaaz (is my name): Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Anishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, Ontario. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Anishinaabek lifeways, views and customary practices, and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo.

She is an avid volunteer who coordinates Akinomaagaye Gaamik, a grassroots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.”

Catherine Soplet

Catherine Soplet joins the OHRC Community Advisory Group with a musician’s insight and results since 2007 on complex issues of education and poverty. Her 2017 collaborations in a new role as Executive Director (Acting) for NabrHUBS INC. intend to gauge impact of parent mentoring on student tutoring. Since joining the Peel Poverty Action Group and Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2010, Catherine’s mantra, “Schools anchor neighbourhoods, attract talent and build prosperity,” has been taken to every level of government

Chantal Tie
Lawyer, Human Rights Legal Support Centre

Chantal Tie is an advocate, litigator and educator, dedicated to social justice and the defense of human rights. She wrote her LLM thesis on discrimination in Canadian immigration, and the same interest in the rights of immigrants, women and marginalized groups drives her advocacy and litigation work. She was awarded the Law Society Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2015, in recognition of her social justice work.

She has represented individuals and organizations in rights-based litigation at all court levels, including among others, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Elizabeth Fry Society, Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and Amnesty International.

Called to the Bar in 1982, her interest in social justice extends beyond Canada, having worked for the Canadian Bar Association on justice projects in Bangladesh and China. She currently volunteers on collaborative projects with The Equality Effect, including a successful constitutional challenge in Kenya on behalf of 160 girl victims of rape and a challenge to the requirement for corroboration in rape in Malawi.

Chantal was Chair of the Court Challenges Program of Canada, Co-chair of LEAF’s litigation committee and CCR’s Inland Protection Working Group and is now on the Executive of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, co-chairing the litigation committee. For 21 years, she was Executive Director of South Ottawa Community Legal Services and is now counsel at the Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre. She teaches Immigration and Refugee Law at the University of Ottawa.

Adam Vasey
Director – Policy, Learning and Evaluation, Tamarack Institute

As a lifelong resident of Windsor, I have strong ties to my community and am passionate about creating an equitable, inclusive community. Following studies in political science, law and social work, for the last nine years I have worked as an anti-poverty advocate. I believe that human rights should be the foundation of any poverty reduction strategy. I am currently the Tamarack Institute's Director of Policy, Learning and Evaluation, and prior to that I worked for the Downtown Mission of Windsor and Pathway to Potential.. Twitter: @adam_vasey

Jessica Wolfe
Duty Counsel, Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto

Jessica Wolfe is Anishinaabe from Brunswick House First Nation, and mother of two children, Meghan and Ruby. A recovering social worker, she graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2006 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007. Jessica worked for 10 years as Criminal Duty Counsel at Old City Hall Courthouse in Toronto, and specifically in the Gladue Courts representing Indigenous persons in conflict with the settler criminal justice system. She recently accepted the Senior Staff Lawyer position at Aboriginal Legal Services, a legal clinic that provides legal services to low-income Indigenous persons in the areas of human rights and poverty law, and engages in law reform activities, community organizing, public legal organizing, test-case litigation, coroner’s inquests, public inquiries, and interventions at all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada.

OHRC Organization Chart - Linear format

November 2014

Chief Commissioner

  • Executive Advisor (reports to Executive Director)
  • Commission and Secretariat Coordinator (Designated Bilingual) (reports to Executive Advisor)

Executive Director

  • Executive Assistant Vacant
  • Administrative Assistant

Chief Administrative Officer – Centralized Services Branch

  • Junior Financial Analyst 
  • Information Technology Team Lead
  • Coordinator of Administrative Services
  • Technology Support Analyst
  • Administrative Clerk (2 positions)
  • Web Administration Developer
  • Network specialist
  • Network Architect, Web Lead 

Manager - Communications & Issues Management

  • Senior Communications Officer
  • Media Relations Officer (Designated Bilingual)
  • Information Officer (2 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Special Events Coordinator
  • Analyst Issues Coordinator
  • Correspondence Coordinator

Director Policy, Education, Monitoring & Outreach

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Senior Policy Analysts (5 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Human Rights Education and Change Specialist ( 2 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Public Education and Outreach Officer (3)
  • Electronic Education Specialist

Manager – Legal Services and Inquiries (Designated Bilingual)

  • Counsel (6 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Legal Secretary
  • Inquiry Analyst (3 positions, 1 Designated Bilingual)
  • Articling Student
Administrative: 

Public education

Developing a culture of human rights

Promoting human rights is key to developing a culture where everyone can play a part as we move to achieving the vision of society described in the Preamble to the Human Rights Code. This vision is consistent with that described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of Canada's Constitution. It is a vision where everyone feels that they are an important part of the community and that they are able to participate fully to its development and well-being while respecting and taking responsibility for the rights of others.

Promotion & Partnership

The Commission engages in a wide range of educational activities and partnership initiatives, such as public awareness campaigns, presentations, workshops and conferences. It also engages in national and international cooperation, participates in intergovernmental task forces and receives delegations from around the world.

In keeping with its responsibility to promote understanding and awareness of and compliance with the Code, the Commission has an important mandate to conduct public education throughout the province. Public education is delivered primarily through the Commission's Web site, publications, public awareness campaigns, speaking engagements and presence at community events.

In addition, the Commission has also adopted an e-learning strategy as part of its overall public education program. We will be posting Code-related computer-based tools on this site in the near future.

In evaluating requests for speakers, the Commission focuses its resources on events and initiatives that are consistent with its strategic priorities and have the potential to: promote systemic prevention of Code violations and advancement of human rights; significantly enhance the Commission's relationship with strategic or underserved sectors; "train trainers" to have a sustainable "multiplier" effect in the organization; and reduce discrimination across a sector and/or to decrease the incidence of formal human rights complaints.

The Commission does not have the capacity to accept all requests. In such instances, the Commission tries to work with the organization or individual to help meet their needs in other ways through Commission resources or referral to other organizations.

This Web site provides the public with access to a wide array of information and educational resources including: an overview of the Human Rights Code and the Commission's mission; description of the complaint process; policies, plain language guides, public inquiry reports and Commission submissions; public education resources as well as news releases. The Commission's Web site is an increasingly important tool in the promotion of human rights in Ontario and ensures it is compatible with international accessibility standards for persons with disabilities and that documents are posted in both English and French in accordance with Ontario's French Language Services Act.

Speakers

Based on its current strategic priorities, the Commission provides educational sessions to employers, unions, professional associations, community organizations and other groups who are partners with us in striving to develop a culture of human rights.

To invite someone from the Commission to speak to your group, see the section on Requesting Public Education from the Commission.

International liaison

The Commission meets with delegations, intergovernmental organizations and staff from human rights commissions around the world to exchange ideas with them about administrative procedures and to share our common experiences in teaching people about human rights and enforcing human rights laws in civil society.

To inquire about the possibility of meeting with the Commission for this purpose, please contact us at:

Policy, Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9
Attention: Director

 

Litigation and inquiry strategy

The Ontario Human Rights Commission works to promote, protect and advance human rights in Ontario.  The Human Rights Code provides a range of different tools that the OHRC may use, including, among others, policy development, research, public education and training, human rights inquiries and legal action.

The OHRC has unique legal powers under the Human Rights Code.  We may conduct inquiries, make an application (a complaint) directly to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to allege discrimination and seek a Tribunal order, or intervene in applications before the Tribunal. The OHRC may also take part in cases before other administrative tribunals and courts.  (For our powers under the Code, see here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h19#BK33).

This Litigation and Inquiry Strategy sets out when and how the OHRC decides to conduct an inquiry or take an application to the Human Rights Tribunal or when to intervene in a legal proceeding. 

What is an Inquiry?

The Code says the OHRC can conduct an inquiry to:

  • look into incidents of or conditions of tension or conflict in a community, institution or sector of the economy and to make recommendations, and encourage and co-ordinate plans, programs and activities, to reduce or prevent such incidents or sources of tension or conflict.
  • look into programs, policy and practices made under statute for consistency with the Code and make recommendations.

Inquiries can be large or small, simple or complex.  They could include:

  • private letters to an organization asking about an issue and requesting a response or more information
  • public meetings
  • online-questionnaires or feedback forms
  • fact-finding, investigation, and requesting and obtaining information

What are Commission-initiated Applications?

The OHRC may make its own applications directly to the Tribunal to allege discrimination and ask for a Tribunal order, or intervene in other applications before the Tribunal.  Section 35 of the Code says the OHRC may intervene as a full party to an application at the Tribunal if the applicant gives their permission.  The OHRC can then participate in all stages of the proceeding, including calling evidence, cross-examining witnesses, presenting written and oral submissions and any negotiations or mediation. 

How do we choose which cases to be involved with?

Every year the Commission sets high level goals and priority issues to meet our statutory mandate.  However, human rights cases and issues for inquiry often emerge that are clearly important but may not fall within our current priority areas.

We look at new issues on a case-by-case basis to decide if any response is needed or whether an inquiry, intervention or Commission-initiated application at the Human Rights Tribunal is called for. We consider:

  • Would this support our statutory mandate, high-level strategic goals and priority areas of work?
  • would it complement current, future or potential activities of the Commission?
  • Will it have a broad, systemic impact?
  • does it raise significant  issues of public policy or public interest from a human rights perspective?
  • will it benefit vulnerable or marginalized people protected by the Code?
  • what is the likely outcome?

o   Will it shape, clarify or advance human rights law in Ontario?

o   Is it an issue of such importance that Commission involvement is required because of:

  • the seriousness or importance of the matter?
  • the complexity of issue?
  • Could it be done within current OHRC resources?

How do we spot emerging issues?

Our Issues Management team monitors developments in human rights and related social issues, proposed provincial legislation, noteworthy Tribunal and court decisions, and other factors that could affect human rights in Ontario. We identify potential matters for litigation or inquiry through:

  • issues raised in news media and other electronic publications
  • cases scheduled to be heard by courts or tribunals as well as court and tribunal decisions
  • notices from the Tribunal of applications that may raise significant human rights issues through, for example, interim decisions identifying opportunities for potential Commission intervention
  • requests for Commission initiated-applications, inquiries or interventions from the public. To make a request contact legal@ohrc.on.ca
  • issues identified by staff and Commissioners 
  • information from the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies about potential inquiries and legal proceedings
  • opportunities from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (which provides free legal advice to individuals who think they may have a discrimination claim)
  • stakeholders or other partners also identify opportunities 

Some examples of OHRC Inquiries and Litigation

  • The Commission intervened as a full party in JT. v. Hockey Canada, an HRTO application about locker room access for trans amateur hockey players.  The Commission and applicant negotiated a settlement requiring Hockey Canada to allow all players in Ontario to access locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity, review and revise its procedures to protect privacy about players’ trans status, and provide training to all Ontario coaches as trainers about gender identity and related discrimination and harassment.
  • Moore v. British Columbia (Education), 2012 SCC 61 (CanLII) at the Supreme Court of Canada, involved a student with severe dyslexia whose specialized learning program was cut by the school district because of budgetary constraints.  The OHRC argued that the selection of a comparator group was not required and the service at issue was general education, not special education.  Both arguments were adopted by the Supreme Court, which ultimately held that the school district’s action amounted to discrimination.   
  • Peel Law Association v. Pieters, 2013 ONCA 396 (CanLII) at the Court of Appeal for Ontario,  involved two Black lawyers who were singled out and approached in an aggressive manner by a librarian in the Peel Law Association lounge.  The OHRC’s argument about the three-part test for a prima facie case of discrimination was confirmed by the Court of Appeal, which rejected the stricter test of discrimination applied by the Divisional Court.  The decision also made clear that racial profiling is a form of everyday racism.
  • We intervened in Claybourn v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 HRTO 1298 (CanLII) to further access to justice.  The Tribunal considered the interpretation and application of section 45.1 of the Code in the context of previously filed public complaints under the Police Services Act (“PSA”) to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director about the conduct of police officers.  The Tribunal accepted the OHRC argument that the reasonable expectations of the parties had to be considered. It exercised its discretion not to dismiss the Tribunal applications under section 45.1 and confirmed that discipline under the PSA and relief to victims of discrimination under the Code can both be pursued. 
  • Jahn v. Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, at the Tribunal, dealt with mental health and the corrections system. We addressed the systemic issues that Ms. Jahn raised in relation to appropriate mental health services and the placement of people with mental illness in segregation. The settlement between the OHRC, Ministry and Ms. Jahn will help to ensure the proper identification and care of women with mental illness in provincial correctional institutions.

o   In August of 2013, the Commission intervened in TB, MSB, and JBS v. Halton District School Board and Halton Student Transportation Services at the Tribunal.  Following settlement negotiations with the applicants and the OHRC, the school board and transportation service agreed to move the children’s bus stop closer to the family home, seek the Commission’s involvement in preparing and delivering training on human rights accommodation and inclusivity, amend their transportation policies to accommodate parents with Code-related needs, and recommend similar policy amendments to the Halton Catholic District School Board.

  • We held an inquiry into a rental housing licensing bylaw in the City of Waterloo in 2012, which imposed, among other things, per-person floor area requirements, gross floor area requirements, and minimum separation distances on certain rental units with three or more occupants.  As a result of the inquiry and subsequent negotiations, the City made a number of changes including requiring that the impact on tenants be considered before it revokes or suspends a licence, committing to monitoring the impact of the bylaw on Code-protected groups with the assistance of an expert, and making changes that make it easier for people to share bedrooms.    
  • In January 2014, the OHRC participated in an inquest into the deaths of three individuals with mental health disabilities, and issued a report in February of 2014 to help raise public awareness about how police use of force uniquely affects people with mental health disabilities. 
  • OHRC litigation has led to  partnerships to create and sustain human rights organizational change with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. 
Resource Type: 

Our commitment to service

 

We, the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, in full compliance with the spirit, intent and provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, are committed to providing the highest quality customer service.

This statement of our commitment reflects our best efforts to provide excellent customer service, within the limits of our resources, by:

  • being sensitive, aware and knowledgeable about the realities of prejudice and discrimination
  • recognizing and accommodating the diverse needs of our many client groups
  • providing accessible services, information and materials
  • acting on issues brought to the Commission as quickly as possible while maintaining the high quality of our work
  • responding to questions, concerns and criticism in a prompt, fair and respectful way.

Providing goods and services to people with disabilities

1. Our mission:

The mission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”) is to provide leadership for the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights in Ontario. The OHRC’s vision is an Ontario in which everyone is valued, treated with dignity and respect, and where human rights are nurtured by everyone.
 
The OHRC supports the full inclusion of persons with disabilities as set out in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the OHRC’s Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005. The OHRC is committed to complying with the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and providing high quality service where all persons have equal access to its services.
 

2. Our commitment to service:

In fulfilling our mission, the OHRC works at all times to provide our goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Commissioners and staff are committed to giving people with disabilities equal opportunity to access our goods and services and to allowing them to equally benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers. 
 
Our ongoing Commitment to Service is: 
We, the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, in full compliance with the spirit, intent and provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, are committed to providing the highest quality customer service.
 
This statement of our commitment reflects our best efforts to provide excellent customer service, within the limits of our resources, by:
  1. being sensitive, aware and knowledgeable about the realities of prejudice and discrimination; 
  2. recognizing and accommodating the diverse needs of our many client groups; 
  3. providing accessible services, information and materials; 
  4. acting on issues brought to the OHRC as quickly as possible while maintaining the high quality of our work; and
  5. responding to questions, concerns and criticism in a prompt, fair and respectful way.
  6.  

3. Providing goods and services to people with disabilities:

The OHRC is committed to excellence in serving all customers, including those with disabilities, and will carry out our functions and responsibilities in an accessible manner. Each request for accommodation is assessed on a case-by-case basis. In addition we follow these steps:
 

3.1 Communication:

We communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take their specific needs into account. We train staff how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
 
We train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly. If communication over the telephone is not suitable or available, the OHRC will offer to communicate with customers in other ways including email, TTY and relay services.
 
The OHRC will arrange and pay for sign language interpretation, captioning or other disability-related communication services for its meetings and public events, in advance or upon request depending on the audience. (Any requests should be made as early as possible due to the high demand for these types of services across the province.)
 

3.2 Assistive devices:

The OHRC ensures that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers while accessing our goods or services. 
 
The OHRC only uses facilities for meetings and public events that are accessible for people with disabilities who use mobility aids and devices or have other facility-related needs.
 
Customers are encouraged to contact the OHRC (or staff or manager involved) as early as possible if any special arrangements are required.
 

3.3 Accessible documents:

All of the OHRC’s public documents, including correspondence and publications, are available in electronic format. OHRC publications are released simultaneously in electronic format and made available on our website www.ohrc.on.ca which meets W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. 
 
All documents created by the OHRC are available, upon request, in other alternate formats, such as Braille, to accommodate disability-related needs. The OHRC will tell the individual when the document will be available in the requested format.
 

3.4 Scent sensitive office:

Due to health concerns related to exposure to scented products, such as perfumes and colognes, staff and visitors are asked to be considerate in their use of such products when visiting the OHRC office; they should be aware they may be asked to not use such products should this be required to accommodate individuals with environmental sensitivities.
 

4. Use of service animals and support persons:

We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person. We will ensure that staff are properly trained on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or a support person.
 

5. Notice of temporary disruption:

The OHRC will inform customers if there is a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by persons with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, how long it may last, and what other facilities or services are available.
 
This information will be placed on our automated phone system and at the entrance to our offices on the 8th and 9th Floors at 180 Dundas Street West, Toronto. If visitors are expected we will do our best to let them know about any disruption including waiting outside the offices for those visitors to help them as needed.
 

6. Training for staff:

The OHRC provides training for all Commissioners and staff so that they understand this policy, the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, how to interact and communicate with people with disabilities and how to respond to requests for accessibility and accommodation.
 
The OHRC will maintain and update an online training package for all current and future staff.
 

7. Feedback process:

The OHRC strives to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are appreciated. 
 
Feedback may be made in writing, by telephone, TTY or email to the:
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9
 
Tel: 416-314-4562
Fax: 416-325-2004
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY Local: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
 
The Executive Director or a delegate will review the customer feedback, investigate the situation, attempt to resolve it and provide a response within 14 business days of receiving the information.
 
Note: Complaints will be addressed according to other OHRC complaint procedures.
 

8. Modifications to this or other policies:

We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities. 
 

OHRC - Multi year disability accessibility plan

Section 1: Introduction

OHRC statement of commitment:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) supports the full inclusion of persons with disabilities as set out in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the OHRC’s Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005. The OHRC is committed to complying with the accessibility standards set out in the AODA’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation.

Regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) include accessibility standards in:

  • Customer service
  • Information and communications
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • The Built Environment

The Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IASR) under the AODA was enacted in June 2011. Section 4(1) of the IASR requires the Government of Ontario and designated public sector organizations, including the OHRC, to create, maintain and make publicly available a multi-year accessibility plan. The accessibility plan must be created, reviewed and updated in consultation with persons with disabilities.[1] The multi-year accessibility plan must also be reviewed at least once every five years, and all organizations are required to prepare an annual status report on the progress that the organization has made to implement their accessibility plan and comply with the IASR. The status reports must be made available to the public.[2]

The Ontario Public Service’s (OPS) Multi-Year Accessibility Plan describes the organization’s commitment to accessibility, and the steps the government is taking to prevent and remove barriers for persons with disabilities in employment, services, and in making policy. For more information about the OPS’ commitment to accessibility for persons with disabilities, refer to the Ontario Public Service Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. The OPS’ plan outlines the government’s strategies to prevent, identify and remove barriers for persons with disabilities. Each ministry prepares an annual accessibility plan, as required under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA). The Ministry of the Attorney General’s Accessibility Plan sets out what the ministry plans to do to prevent and remove barriers for persons with disabilities, and what steps it is taking to comply with the requirements set out in the AODA and its regulations.

The OHRC has its own commitments to accessibility. We are guided by our Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate. We also provide eLearning information on accessibility, such as our eLearning module on the duty to accommodate.

This document outlines the steps the OHRC has taken and plans to take during the next five years (2014-2019) to:

  1. prevent and remove barriers for persons with disabilities
  2. meet the standards set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its regulations.

Section 2: Current accessibility policies, practices, facility and service features

General

The OHRC works to advance the understanding of the duty to accommodate and accessibility using our mandate under the Ontario Human Rights Code. For example, the OHRC recently released Minds that Matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions, and is developing a policy on mental heath and addictions for release in 2014. An eLearning module on human rights and the duty to accommodate is available on the OHRC’s website, and the organization routinely provides training to the public on these topics.

Systems and practices are already in place to help the OHRC comply with the requirements under the AODA, the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07, the Integrated Accessibility Standards, Ontario Regulation 191/11 and the Human Rights Code

Customer Service

  • Communications supports including ASL interpretation and captioning are provided at OHRC-hosted public events; other forms of accommodation are available upon request
  • All OHRC-hosted public events take place at accessible locations. The Special Events Coordinator visits each proposed event space to make sure that it is fully accessible
  • Standard language on all invitations invites people to contact the OHRC about additional Ontario Human Rights Code-related accommodation requests before event dates
  • As required under Section 7 of the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation, a web-based feedback process is available to help the OHRC better understand how well customer expectations are being met. People can also provide feedback via telephone, TTY, mail or fax.

Information and Communications

  • The OHRC has developed and launched a website that is designed to comply with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA  (www.ohrc.on.ca)
  • Staff are provided with specialized training on emerging technologies, designing accessible e-learning modules, and other topics to improve the accessibility of the OHRC’s online resources
  • Staff routinely take steps to make sure that the organization’s website and communications products are as accessible as possible, including:
    • The tools and products that are used to develop the website and other online materials have built in accessibility features
    • Web developers and any other external vendors are selected, in part, based on their experience designing accessible websites.
    • Any online materials, such as e-learning modules, are tested regularly during their development and are tested on an ongoing basis by staff and by external contacts who have disabilities
  • The OHRC provides local and toll free TTY numbers for communication with people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing
  • The OHRC uses a range of communication methods such as email and social media platforms to communicate with stakeholders and communities
  • All public documents including correspondence and publications are available in accessible digital formats, including accessible PDFs for all new publications. Captioning and transcripts are provided for all video content
  • All staff are expected to use plain language to write publications, documents, training materials and correspondence. Assistance with plain language editing is available for all OHRC policies and publications.

Employment

  • The OHRC is a scent-sensitive workplace. A Scent sensitivity policy exists to accommodate staff who report various sensitivities to chemicals or scents.
  • The OHRC follows the OPS’ Employee Accommodation and Return to Work Guidelines and Operating Policy for developing and documenting individual accommodation plans, return-to work plans and workplace emergency response information for employees with disabilities. 
  • The Orientation Manual for new OHRC employees includes information about employees’ rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA and OPS Policies that foster an inclusive workplace. These include the Scent Sensitive Policy, the internal Human Rights Policy, and the OHRC’s Policy on providing goods and services to people with disabilities

Accessibility Training

The OHRC has an internal guide on plain language writing and staff have been trained on plain language writing.

Section 3: Strategies and actions planned to 2019

The OHRC is planning take the following steps help meet the goal of being an organization that is fully accessible to persons with disabilities. These activities will help the OHRC comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA, the IASR and the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service in the following areas:

  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communications
  • Procurement
  • Accessibility Training
  • Employment.

General

The OHRC is committed to advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities using our mandate under the Code, through activities such as public education, policy development, public inquiries and litigation. The OHRC makes the following commitments on promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities.

  • The OHRC will take steps to ensure that its workspaces and common areas are accessible for persons with disabilities. The OHRC will perform an inclusive design review of its offices to make sure that they are accessible for visitors and employees with disabilities. The Ministry of the Attorney General’s facilities branch will be involved in this review, where necessary.
    Timeline: 2015-2019

Customer Service

The OHRC is committed to providing customer service in a way that best respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities. The OHRC will continue to adhere to its policies and procedures on Providing goods and services to people with disabilities and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation.

  • The OHRC will amend staff email signatures to include information about the OHRC’s policy on providing goods and services to people with disabilities.
    Timeline: 2014
  • The OHRC will include feedback opportunities at the end of education and training sessions to understand how well Code-related accommodation needs of participants are being met and will consider opportunities for improvement.
    Timeline: ongoing

Information and Communications

  • The OHRC is committed to making sure its information and communications systems and products are accessible for persons with disabilities.
  • The OHRC will amend the telephone script to improve accessibility by, for example, reducing the number of options in the script, making it easier to connect to staff directly, and by removing superfluous pre-recorded information.
    Timeline: underway
  • The OHRC will develop an internal document template with clear guidelines on accessibility standards and formatting for OHRC publications and correspondence. The document will be based on the accessibility components in the OPS’ Correspondence Style Guide (2012)[3]. Staff will receive training on accessibility standards for correspondence, and will be expected to adhere to the organization’s guidelines on accessible correspondence. 
    Timeline: 2014
  • The OHRC will conduct reviews to identify and address any barriers in the ways that the organization makes information available to the public. The OHRC will continue to review website accessibility with external organizations and persons with disabilities to maintain the highest possible level of accessibility for users with disabilities and to keep up with emerging trends and technologies.
    Timeline: 2014 and ongoing

Procurement

The OHRC is committed to integrating accessibility considerations into procurement processes and will continue to comply with the OPS’ Guidelines: Meeting Accessibility Obligations in Procurement and the Management Board of Cabinet Procurement Directive, April 2011 as well as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its regulations regarding accessibility in procurement. 

  • The OHRC will identify accessibility requirements in project terms of reference, requests for proposals and contracts with third-party service providers. 
    Timeline: ongoing
  • Where necessary, staff with disabilities may be consulted about any accessibility considerations at the outset of the procurement so that they are included in the contract.
    Timeline: ongoing

Employment

Sections 22-32 of the IASR require that employers take steps to ensure that employees are offered appropriate accommodation throughout their careers in a way that best respects their dignity and supports their full inclusion and advancement. The OHRC is committed to accessible employment practices and policies to attract and retain employees with disabilities. The OHRC is also committed to providing accommodation to employees with disabilities in a way that allows them to take part fully and meaningfully in the OHRC’s work, in a way that best respects their dignity. The OHRC also believes that inclusive design and integration are preferable to individual accommodations, where possible.

  • The OHRC will continue to adhere to the Ontario Public Service’s policies and procedures on employment accommodation for both current and prospective employees with disabilities, as well as the standards outlined in the IASR.
    Timeline: ongoing
  • The OHRC is committed to ensuring that the recruitment process for new staff is accessible. For example, the OHRC will review and monitor whether hiring managers always tell prospective employees that accommodations are available throughout the interview process. The OHRC will also explore ways to advise candidates about the type of testing that they will be expected to do during the interview process so that job applicants can request an appropriate accommodation for their disability for each job competition.[4]
    Timeline: Starting in 2014 and ongoing.
  • The OHRC will create an accessible quiet room for staff and visitors. This will  improve accessibility for persons with disabilities who may require, for example, the room to take medication or rest, and it will also improve accessibility for staff and visitors based on creed. It will also improve accessibility for women who are breastfeeding.
    Timeline: 2014
  • In accordance with Sections 12 and 26 of the IASR, the OHRC will review the software and systems it uses to manage and store information to identify and address any barriers for employees with disabilities. These reviews will be done in consultation with employees with disabilities, and may result in changes to OHRC business rules or recommendations to explore new software.
    Timeline: 2015-2019

Accessibility Training

The OHRC will continue to provide training on disability and the duty to accommodate to all staff. As part of its mandate, the OHRC will also continue to offer training on disability and the duty to accommodate to the public.

  • The OHRC will provide ongoing training to all staff and commissioners on human rights for persons with disabilities. The OHRC will develop a training plan to ensure that all staff and Commissioners receive ongoing training on accessibility and the duty to accommodate for disability and other grounds of the Human Rights Code. For example, the OHRC will also train all staff on the OHRC’s new Policy on mental health and addictions. 

Timeline: ongoing

Feedback Process:

The OHRC encourages feedback about the its accessibility, including customer service, website, employment practices, procurement, etc. Feedback can be submitted using an online request form, which is available at: www.ohrc.on.ca/en/contact/ohrc-feedback.  Feedback may also be made in writing, by telephone, TTY or email[5] to:

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900
Toronto, ON M7A 2R9 

Tel: 416-314-4562
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
Fax: 416-325-2004
TTY Local: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Email: info@ohrc.on.ca

The Executive Director or a delegate will review the customer feedback, investigate the situation, try to resolve it and provide a response within 14 business days of receiving the information.

Conclusion

The OHRC will report annually about our progress on these commitments to identify and remove barriers for persons with disabilities, and the steps we have taken to comply with the requirements of the IASR. The OHRC will also report publicly on any barriers for persons with disabilities that are raised through the feedback process, and will identify the steps it is taking to address them, where possible.


[1] Section 4 (2) of the IASR requires that: “The Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly and designated public sector organizations shall establish, review and update their accessibility plans in consultation with persons with disabilities and if they have established an accessibility advisory committee, they shall consult with the committee.” O. Reg. 191/11, s. 4 (2).

[2]IASR Section 4 (3): “The Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly and designated public sector organizations shall,

(a) prepare an annual status report on the progress of measures taken to implement the strategy referenced in clause (1) (a), including steps taken to comply with this Regulation; and

(b) post the status report on their website, if any, and provide the report in an accessible format upon request.” O. Reg. 191/11, s. 4 (3); O. Reg. 413/12, s. 3 (1).

[4] Section 23 of the IASR requires that hiring managers inform job applicants that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the testing and interviewing materials or process. If a job applicant requests accommodation, the hiring manager must consult with the applicant and provide or arrange for a suitable accommodation. However, job applicants may not know what format the testing will take (for example, that reading a large amount of materials will be required) during the interview process, and therefore may not know if they need accommodation, or what type of accommodation is appropriate.

[5] Section 11 of the IASR requires that organizations with processes for receiving and responding to feedback make sure those processes are accessible for persons with disabilities by providing accessible formats and communication supports on request.  

 

Code Grounds: 
Organizational responsibility: 

Memorandum of understanding between the Attorney General of Ontario and the Ontario Human Rights Commission

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
between The Attorney General of Ontario and
The Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission,
on behalf of the Commission

Preamble

The Minister and the Chief Commissioner share a commitment to the principles captured in the preamble to Ontario’s Human Rights Code, which recognizes the importance of and the need to reflect relevant international human rights principles, and agree that a strong and independent Ontario Human Rights Commission, capable of fulfilling its mandate efficiently and effectively, contributes substantially to the realization of those principles.  (Appendix I sets out, for convenience, the relevant portions of the preamble to the Code.)  To that end, the Minister and Chief Commissioner share the goal of establishing a relationship that ensures the responsible administration of the Commission and the fulfillment of its legislative mandate in a manner consistent with the effective and efficient use of public resources and with the Commission’s independent role in facilitating compliance with the Code.

The Minister and the Chief Commissioner are also committed to ensuring the flow of appropriate information between the Ministry and the Commission to assist each in fulfilling its proper role in respect of the Code.

1.0. Definitions 

In this Memorandum of Understanding:

"AAD" means the Agencies and Appointments Directive;

“Chief Commissioner” means the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council pursuant to section 27 of the Code and includes any Acting Chief Commissioner appointed temporarily under section 28 of the Code;

Code” means the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, as amended from time to time;

 “Commission” means the statutory body known as the Ontario Human Rights Commission and comprising the appointed members of the Commission and the public servants appointed under the Public Service of Ontario Act to carry out the Commission’s administrative and operational powers and obligations;

“Commissioners” means the members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to the Commission pursuant to section 27 of the Code;

“Deputy Minister” means the deputy minister of the Ministry;

“Executive Director” means the Executive Director of the Commission;

FIPPA” means the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, as amended from time to time;

“MBC” means Management Board of Cabinet;

“MOU” means Memorandum of Understanding;

“Minister” means the Attorney General of Ontario, or such other minister to whom the Lieutenant Governor in Council may subsequently assign ministerial responsibility for the Code;

“Ministry” means the ministry led from time to time by the Minister;

PSOA” means the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 35, Schedule A, as it may be amended from time to time;

“TB” means the Treasury Board of Ontario; and

“Tribunal” means the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this MOU is to:

  1. clarify the financial, administrative, human resources and reporting relationships between the Minister and the Commission through its Chief Commissioner;
  2. clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Minister, the Chief Commissioner, the Deputy Minister, the Executive Director and the Commission; and
  3. set out the expectations for the administrative, financial, auditing, human resources and reporting arrangements between the Commission and the Ministry.

3.  Commission's legal authority and mandate 

  1. The Commission’s legal authority derives from the Code.
  2. The Corporations Act and the Corporations Information Act do not apply to the Commission.
  3. The Commission does not have independent legal personality and cannot sue, be sued or hold property in its own right.
  4. The Commission’s mandate is to protect, promote and advance human rights in Ontario.  Its functions are those set out in section 29 of the Code, as it may be amended from time to time.  Appendix I sets out, for convenience, the functions prescribed for the Commission in the Code at the time this MOU comes into effect.

4.  The Commission's classification

  1. The Commission is classified under the AAD as a regulatory agency without a governing board.
  2. Sections 1 and 2 of Ontario Regulation 374/07 designate the Commission as a public body and a Commission public body for purposes of the PSOA.
  3. The Commission is an agent of the Crown in right of Ontario within the meaning of the Crown Agency Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.48, as amended.

5.  Guiding principles

The parties acknowledge and agree to the following principles.

  1. The human rights system in Ontario comprises the Commission, the Tribunal and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
  2. The principles set out in the preamble to the Code (and reproduced for convenience in Appendix I) are at the foundation of Ontario’s human rights system.
  3. The Commission exercises powers and performs duties in accordance with its legal mandate.  The Commission plays a meaningful role in the development, as well as the delivery, of the policies and programs of the government.
  4. The Commission’s decisions relating to regulatory, litigation, public education and policy matters must be made and be seen to made impartially and independently of the government.  Government interference with the choice or conduct of any Commission inquiries, with the formulation or publication of any Commission policies, with Commission determinations under section 14 of the Code or with the Commission’s decisions about involvement in or initiation of any Tribunal or other legal proceedings would compromise the Commission’s capacity to function independently and impartially, and would be inappropriate.
  5. In carrying out its statutory mandate, the Commission may take positions that are publicly critical of, or that challenge, legislation and current government policies, positions and/or practices.
  6. The Attorney General is the guardian of the public interest in respect of the rule of law and the administration of justice.  He or she has statutory obligations to ensure that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with law and to superintend all matters connected with the administration of justice in Ontario.
  7. The Attorney General and the Chief Commissioner shall engage in meaningful, good faith consultation about matters that either may reasonably consider to be of importance to both.
  8. Accountability is a fundamental principle to be observed in the management and administration of the Commission.
  9. The Commission is to conduct itself in accordance with the management principles of the government of Ontario.  These include: ethical behaviour; prudent, efficient and lawful use of public resources; fairness; high quality service to the public; and openness and transparency to the extent allowed under law.
  10. The Commission shall conduct its business and administrative affairs in accordance with all relevant government policies and with generally accepted management and accounting principles.
  11. The Ministry and the Commission shall avoid duplication of services wherever possible.

6.  Interpretation

This MOU is to be construed and applied in a manner consistent with its guiding principles, with the Code and any relevant regulations and international human rights principles that guide development and protection of effective national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights and of ensuring the pluralism of their membership and their independence.  It does not modify, limit or interfere with the responsibilities of any of its parties as established by law.  In case of conflict between this MOU and any statute (including the Code) or regulation, the statute or regulation prevails to the extent of the conflict.  Section 47(2) of the Code gives the Code presumptive primacy over other legislation in case of conflict

7.  Duration, review and amendment

  1. This MOU takes effect on the date it is signed by both parties.  In accordance with AAD requirements, the Chief Commissioner’s signature shall precede the Minister’s.  It expires five years from the date it comes into effect unless replaced by a new MOU before that date, but shall remain in force on a strictly temporary basis until a new MOU replaces it.
  2. Either the Minister or the Chief Commissioner may initiate a review of this MOU at any time by written request to the other.
  3. In any event, the Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall initiate and cooperate in a full review of this MOU on the earlier of the following dates:
  1. within thirty days of the date any significant change to the Commission’s statutory mandate, authority or governance structure, other than those already scheduled to come into force by January 1, 2009, takes effect;
  2. the date the Lieutenant Governor in Council assigns ministerial responsibility for the Code to the minister of a different ministry, unless that Minister and Chief Commissioner agree by letter that this MOU will continue in force without review or amendment; or
  3. four years from the date this MOU takes effect.
  1. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner may, at any time, by mutual agreement after a review of this MOU, revise or amend it without affecting its ordinary termination date, or replace it with a new MOU.

8. Periodic reviews

  1. The Code requires the Minister to appoint a person to conduct a review of “the implementation and effectiveness of the changes resulting from the enactment” of the 2006 amendments to the Code three years after the effective date of those amendments. That person’s review may consider any aspect of the human rights system affected by the amendments, including the Commission’s mandate, powers, governance structure and/or operations.
  2. In addition, the Minister or TB/MBC may direct periodic reviews of the Commission; Treasury Board/Management Board Directives require such a review of each classified agency every five years.  The Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall consult with one another as appropriate during any such review. 
  3. The Chief Commissioner and the Executive Director shall cooperate in any such review.

9.  Accountability relationshiops

9.1 Minister
  1. The Minister is responsible to the Legislative Assembly for the Code.  The Minister is accountable to the Cabinet for reporting on whether the Commission is conducting itself in a manner consistent with its legal authority and with relevant and appropriate government policies.
  2. The Minister is answerable for inquiries about the Commission in the Cabinet and its committees and in the Legislative Assembly.
9.2  Chief Commissioner
  1. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure
  1. that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly receives the Commission’s annual report for one fiscal year not later than June 30 of the next fiscal year; and
  2. that the Minister receives a copy of the annual report at least thirty (30) days before the Speaker receives it

and shall appear, where invited or permitted, and respond to inquiries about the affairs of the Commission before committees of the Legislative Assembly.

  1. The Chief Commissioner is accountable to the Minister for the Commission’s financial and administrative performance, for carrying out the roles assigned to the Chief Commissioner under this MOU, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and the Commission’s approved annual business plan, and for ensuring that the Commission’s performance reflects and respects the law and its statutory mandate.
9.3 The Commission
  1. The Commission is accountable to the people of Ontario in reports on its own affairs and on the state of human rights in Ontario.
  2. The Commission is accountable annually to the Legislative Assembly for the affairs it undertakes and the manner in which it carries them out.
  3. The Commission acknowledges that it is accountable in financial and administrative matters for compliance with this MOU, with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and with its approved business plan, and generally for ensuring that its performance reflects and respects the law and fulfills its statutory mandate, and that this means accountability to the Legislative Assembly through its annual reports and, through its reports on financial and administrative matters, to the Minister.
9.4  Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Ministry in providing administrative support to the Commission in fulfilling its mandate and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned to him or her by the Minister, by TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and by this MOU.

9.5  Executive Director
  1. The Executive Director is accountable to the Commission through the Chief Commissioner on the functions of the Commission and to the Deputy Attorney General on financial and administrative matters.
  2. The Executive Director works under the direction of the Chief Commissioner to implement policies and operational decisions, and reports to the Chief Commissioner on the performance of Commission staff every ninety days, at a minimum.
9.6  Commission Staff

Commission staff report and are accountable to the Executive Director for their performance.

10. Conflict of interest

The Chief Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that appointees and staff of the Commission are informed of the conflict of interest rules, including the rules on political activity, that govern the Commission.

11. Roles and responsibilities

11.1 Minister

The Minister is responsible for:

  1. monitoring, through the Chief Commissioner, the Commission’s activities in relation to its mandate;
  2. responding to inquiries about the Commission in Cabinet and its committees and in the Legislative Assembly;
  3. reporting and responding to the Cabinet on the Commission’s performance and compliance with government policies and policy directions;
  4. receiving and reviewing an advance copy of the Commission’s annual report before the Commission submits it to the Legislative Assembly;
  5. meeting with the Chief Commissioner, as needed, to be kept informed of the Commission’s affairs, including such matters as budget, objectives, plans, results and overall policy and public education activities;
  6. meeting with the Commissioners at least once a year;
  7. determining the need for any review and recommendations to TB/MBC on the status of the Commission, its mandate or on any changes to the arrangements needed to assist it in fulfilling its existing statutory mandate;
  8. recommending to TB/MBC, after consultation with the Chief Commissioner, the powers to be given to the Commission when a change in the Commission’s mandate is being proposed;
  9. meeting with the Chief Commissioner or the Commissioners to discuss, propose or recommend corrective action if, in his or her opinion, serious questions of public importance arise in respect of the Commission’s operations;
  10. ensuring, through the Deputy Minister, that the Commission operates in an efficient and effective manner in accordance with TB/MBC directives and guidelines;
  11. informing the Chief Commissioner of any preferences the government may have in respect of the Commission or its mandate;
  • advising the Commission through the Chief Commissioner, as appropriate, of Ontario government public education or communications initiatives that relate to the Commission’s responsibilities;
  1. consulting as early as practicable, with the Chief Commissioner (and others) when the government is considering regulatory or legislative changes affecting Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and as appropriate on significant and relevant new government directions;
  • monitoring for compliance with the Code in the development of government policy;
  • developing MOUs for the Commission with the Chief Commissioner and signing them into effect;
  1. recommending to TB/MBC any provincial funding to be given to the Commission;
  2. directing periodic review of the Commission in accordance with Part 8 of this MOU and making subsequent recommendations to TB/MBC;
  3. recommending this MOU to TB/MBC for approval once there is agreement on text but before it is signed by the parties; and
  4. reviewing and considering the advice of the Chief Commissioner on candidates for appointment or reappointment to the Commission.
11.2 Chief Commissioner

The Chief Commissioner is responsible for:

  1. keeping informed of human rights issues and trends, domestic and, as appropriate, international, and of the activities, performance and expenditures of the Commission in order to advise and make recommendations to the Minister;
  2. submitting the Commission’s annual report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in accordance with section 31.6(2) of the Code and, in accordance with section 31.6(3) of the Code, to the Minister at least thirty (30) days before submitting it to the Speaker;
  3. keeping the Minister informed about the affairs of the Commission and about issues or events that may concern him or her in the exercise of his or her responsibilities;
  4. providing the Minister with such information about the Commission’s administrative management as the Minister may require for reports to Cabinet, the Legislative Assembly and its committees and for the development and review of government policy, programs and administration;
  5. meeting with the Minister to discuss possible corrective action if the Commission forms the opinion that serious questions of public importance have arisen about the government’s compliance with the Code;
  6. attending and/or making presentations, when invited or permitted, before committees of the Legislative Assembly on matters affecting the Commission’s operations;
  7. ensuring that the Commission carries out its affairs in accordance with the Code;
  8. providing leadership to the Commission;
  9. presiding at meetings of the Commissioners;
  10. developing performance measures and targets for the Commission;
  11. monitoring the performance of the Commission to ensure the implementation of the Commission’s goals and long-term vision;
  • directing corrective action, as needed, in respect of the Commission’s operations and execution of its functions;
  1. reviewing and approving the Commission’s business plan and budget proposals and its annual report and financial reports and submitting them to the Minister by the times and dates specified in TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and in this MOU;
  • ensuring that public funds are used with integrity and honesty;
  • providing both the Minister and the Minister of Finance with copies of every audit report and with the Commission’s response to each such report and to any recommendations contained within it in a timely manner;
  1. advising the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations;
  2. ensuring that Commissioners are informed of their responsibilities under the PSOA in respect of ethical conduct (PSOA, Part III) and political activity (PSOA, Part IV);
  3. recording any declared or apparent conflicts of interest and advising the Minister and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner of these conflicts promptly;
  4. hiring the Executive Director, in consultation with the Deputy Minister ;
  5. ensuring through the Executive Director that:
  1. appropriate management systems (financial, information technology, human resources) are in place for the Commission’s effective administration;
  2. the Commission fulfills its mandate and operates within its approved budget allocation;
  3. performance measures and targets are developed for the Commission;
  4. there is an appropriate framework for orienting and training Commissioners and staff;
  5. Commissioners and staff are aware of and comply with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance Directives;
  6. the Commission has a process for responding, in a timely manner, to media inquiries and resolving promptly complaints or other concerns raised by the public that relate to the Commission’s operations;
  7. conflict of interest rules, approved by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, are in place for Commission staff; and
  8. Commission policies are publicly available;
  1. carrying out effective public communications as the Commission’s chief spokesperson;
  2. cooperating with any periodic review undertaken in accordance with §8 of this MOU;
  3. keeping the minister informed of pending appointment vacancies and offering recommendations for appointments and reappointments;
  4. reviewing and approving Commissioners’ claims for per diems and expenses;
  5. ensuring that the Executive Director’s performance contract is in place and that it sets out the Executive Director’s responsibilities and reporting obligations and the standards he or she is to meet in carrying them out;
  6. in consultation with the Deputy Minister,
  1. developing performance criteria for evaluation of the Executive Director; and
  2. evaluating the Executive Director’s performance against those criteria;
  1. communicating Commission policy and strategic directions to the Executive Director;
  1. monitoring the Commission’s performance to ensure ethical behaviour, accountability and excellence in management, sound use of public resources, value for money, openness and transparency;
  2. working with the Minister to minimize duplication of services; and
  3. advising the Minister promptly of, and attempting to consult with him or her in advance about, any Commission plans or initiatives that may affect materially government policy, unless such advice or consultation would compromise the Commission’s mandate, independence or ability to function.
11.3 The Commissioners

The Commissioners are responsible for:

  1. ensuring that the Commission fulfills the functions assigned to it by section 29 of the Code;
  2. fulfilling their responsibilities under the PSOA in respect of ethical conduct (PSOA, Part III) and political activity (PSOA, Part IV); and
  3. consulting, as appropriate, with interested and affected parties on the Commission’s goals, objectives, strategic directions, rules and procedures.

Individual Commissioners are also responsible for carrying out such responsibilities of the Chief Commissioner as he or she may delegate to them under section 27(12) of the Code, subject to such conditions as the Chief Commissioner may prescribe.

11.4 Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister is responsible for:

  1. the operation of the Ministry, including human resources policies, and the implementation of corporate policies, including policies concerning freedom of information and equal opportunity;
  2. providing, in consultation with the Executive Director, a framework for ascertaining whether the Commission is fulfilling its mandate, and assisting the Minister in conducting that appraisal;
  3. advising the Minister on the requirements of the AEAD and other directives that apply to the Commission;
  4. advising the Minister on the Commission’s operation and on any proposals that could affect its status;
  5. establishing a framework for reviewing and assessing the Commission’s business plans and other reports;
  6. advising the Minister on documents the Commission submits to the Minister for review or approval, or both;
  7. undertaking and cooperating with any review of the Commission as directed by the Minister or TB/MBC in accordance with Part 8 of this MOU;
  8. monitoring the Commission as requested by the Minister while respecting the Commission’s independence and authority; identifying, where warranted, occasions for corrective action and recommending to the Minister ways of resolving issues;
  9. negotiating a draft MOU with the Chief Commissioner as directed by the Minister;
  10. consulting with the Chief Commissioner, as needed, on matters of mutual importance, including: the Code; TB/MBC directives; Ministry policies; and services the Ministry provides;
  11. meeting with the Chief Commissioner as needed or as the Minister directs;
  • arranging for the administrative, financial and other support for the Commission that this MOU prescribes;
  1. meeting regularly with the Executive Director to discuss matters of mutual importance to the Commission and the Ministry;
  • receiving information from, and sharing information with, the Executive Director on emerging issues and events that concern or could reasonably be expected to concern the Commission, the Minister or the Deputy Minister in the exercise of their responsibilities; and
  • consulting with the Chief Commissioner on the performance evaluation of the Executive Director and, pursuant to paragraph 11.2.s, about recruitment and selection of an Executive Director.
11.5 Executive Director

In addition to being the ethics executive for the Commission for purposes of the PSOA, the Executive Director is responsible for:

  1. establishing, in consultation with the Chief Commissioner, performance measures and targets for the Commission and a performance review system for Commission staff;
  2. arranging for audits, as needed;
  3. managing the Commission’s day-to-day operations in accordance with the Code, TB/MBC, Public Service Commission and Ministry of Finance directives, accepted business and financial practices, and this MOU;
  4. applying policies so that public funds are used with integrity and honesty;
  5. establishing and applying a financial management framework for the Commission;
  6. establishing systems to ensure that the Commission operates effectively within its approved business plan;
  7. ensuring that the Commission has an appropriate risk management framework and mitigating strategy, to help provide sufficient assurance that program or service delivery objectives are met;
  8. supporting the Chief Commissioner and the other Commissioners in meeting their responsibilities including  delivery  of orientation and training;
  9. carrying out in-year monitoring of the Commission’s operational performance and reporting on it to the Chief Commissioner;
  10. advising the Chief Commissioner and Commissioners on the Commission’s compliance with the Code, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and Ministry policies and procedures;
  11. seeking support and advice from the Ministry, as appropriate, on day-to-day management issues;
  • consulting with the Deputy Minister, as needed, on matters of mutual importance, including services provided by the Ministry, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and Ministry policies;
  1. cooperating with any periodic review undertaken in accordance with §8 of this MOU;
  • establishing a system for the retention of formal Commission documents and for making such documents publicly available, as appropriate;
  • receiving information from the Deputy Minister on emerging issues and events that concern, or could reasonably be expected to concern, the Chief Commissioner and the Executive Director in the exercise of their responsibilities;
  1. keeping the Chief Commissioner and the Deputy Minister advised about operational matters;
  2. preparing annual reports and business plans for the Commission as directed by the Chief Commissioner;
  3. ensuring that the Commission fulfills its mandate and operates within its approved budget allocation in doing so;
  4. preparing financial reports for the Commission;
  5. meeting performance objectives approved by the Chief Commissioner and the Deputy Minister;
  6. ensuring that Commission staff abide by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws, orders, regulations and bylaws, including, but not limited to, the Code, the Financial Administration Act, FIPPA, the French Language Services Act, the Pay Equity Act, the PSOA and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act;
  7. ensuring that the Commission has a process for responding, in a timely manner, to media inquiries and resolving promptly complaints or other concerns raised by the public that relate to the Commission’s operations; and
  8. ensuring that the Commission policies contemplated by section 30 of the Code are publicly available.

12.  Reporting requirements

12.1 Business Plan
  1. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Minister is provided with the Commission’s annual business plans within the timelines the Minister establishes in accordance with the Ministry’s annual funding cycle.  
  2. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Commission’s annual business plan fulfills the requirements of the AAD.
  3. Every business plan requires the Minister’s approval.  The Minister shall review the Commission’s annual business plan and shall advise the Chief Commissioner promptly whether he or she concurs with the directions the Commission proposes and of such concerns as he or she may have about it.
  4. The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Commission’s business plan includes a system of performance measures and reporting on the achievement of the objectives set out in the business plan.  That system shall specify performance indicators, targets and time lines, indicate how they will be achieved, and implement annual base line reporting and, where appropriate, quarterly monitoring.
  5. The Minister may be required to submit an approved annual Commission business plan for review.  If this happens, the Minister shall notify the Chief Commissioner of the requirement.
12.2 Annual Reports
  1. The Chief Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that the Commission’s annual reports fulfill the requirements of the Code.
  2. In accordance with section 31.6 of the Code, the Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly receives for tabling in the Legislative Assembly the Commission’s annual report for a given fiscal year not later than June 30 of the next fiscal year.
  3. The Chief Commissioner shall give a copy of the report to the Minister at least 30 days before it is submitted to the Speaker.
12.3  Other Reports and Documents
  1. The Chief Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that financial and administrative reports and documents required by TB/MBC directives are submitted to the Minister for review and approval according to the prescribed time lines.
  2. At the request of the Minister or Deputy Minister, the Chief Commissioner shall supply such specific financial and administrative data and other related information, not including identifying information about any individuals, as may be required from time to time for purposes of the Ministry’s administration.

13. Communications

The parties to this MOU recognize that the timely exchange of information on the operations and administration of the Commission is essential to the Minister in meeting his or her responsibilities to report and respond to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Commission.  They recognize, as well, that it is essential that the Chief Commissioner be kept informed about government initiatives and broad policy directions that may affect the Commission’s mandate and functions.

The Minister and the Chief Commissioner therefore agree as follows.

  1. Nothing in this section of this MOU shall require any discussion or exchange of information between Commission personnel and the Minister, Deputy Minister or Ministry staff about specific current, past or future inquiries or determinations that lie within the Commission’s statutory authority.
  2. The Minister’s office shall redirect to the Commission without comment inquiries it receives about specific human rights matters in progress at the Commission.  Any response the Minister’s office makes to the inquiring party shall indicate that the inquiry has been forwarded to the Commission and that the Minister cannot interfere with a Commission proceeding.
  3. Except where doing so would compromise the Commission’s independence in the exercise of its statutory mandate or its ability to function quickly and effectively, the Chief Commissioner shall keep the Minister advised, in a timely manner, of all planned events and issues that concern or can reasonably be expected to concern the Minister in the exercise of the Minister’s responsibilities.
  4. The Minister shall consult with the Chief Commissioner, as appropriate, on government policy initiatives or legislation being considered by the government that may affect the Commission’s mandate or functions.
  5. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall consult with one another, as appropriate, on public communications strategies and publications relating to human rights in Ontario and shall keep one another informed, as appropriate, of the results of relevant consultations and discussions, focused and general, with the public.
  6. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner shall meet at least quarterly, or more frequently as requested, to discuss issues relating to the fulfillment of the Commission’s mandate.
  7. The Deputy Minister shall meet at least quarterly with the Executive Director and/or the Chief Commissioner to discuss issues relating to the efficient operation of the Commission and the provision by the Ministry of services to the Commission.
  8. The Commission’s annual business plan shall include a communications strategy.  Commission staff shall respond promptly to public and media inquiries, complaints and concerns about the Commission’s operations and activities.
  9. The Commission shall provide the Minister, as early as possible but, unless the Minister or the Deputy Minister consents to some shorter length of time, always at least three (3) days before public release, with advance copies, of any Commission-approved report or policy that the Commission proposes to make public.

14.  Administrative arrangements

 14.1 Government of Ontario Directives

The Chief Commissioner shall ensure that the Commission and its staff operate in accordance with the Code, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, Public Service Commission directives under the PSOA and Ministry financial and administrative policies and procedures.

14.2 Legal Services
  1. The Commission employs its own counsel but may, in rare cases, require private legal services.  Where these services do not involve litigation or an inquiry connected to its mandate under the Code, including services involving contractual negotiations for IT services or a civil action claim for damages against a Commission member or employee, the Commission shall retain counsel in accordance with the Ministry of the Attorney General's Corporate Operating Policy on Acquiring and Using Legal Services and related guidelines.   Where these services involve an inquiry under section 31 of the Code or litigation connected to the Commission's exercise of its mandate under the Code, such as cases in which the Commission has initiated an application or is an intervener in legal proceedings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Commission shall retain counsel in accordance with the principles set out in the above noted Corporate Operating Policy and guidelines.  For greater certainty, this means that the Commission will determine for itself whether to retain, and whom to retain as, private sector counsel but will do so only where circumstances indicate a conflict of interest, cost efficiency or a need for specialized expertise and only in accordance with the rates set out in the Private Sector Retention rates chart. The Commission agrees to retain, for audit purposes, a list of the instances in which it retains private sector legal services, the reasons for the retention, the nature of the work performed and cost.  This list shall be produced to the Ministry upon request, in a way that would not interfere with the solicitor-client relationship or ongoing litigation.  It can also be reviewed by both parties at any time upon agreement and it shall be reviewed by both parties at the time that this MOU is subject to revision or renewal.
  2. Lawyers employed by the Commission are recognized as members of the Association of Law Officers of the Crown.
  3. Where the Commission is awarded legal costs in a Court or Tribunal proceeding it shall forward those costs to the Consolidated Revenue Fund in accordance with the Proceedings Against the Crown Act.  Where the Commission is ordered to pay legal costs by a Court, or by a Tribunal and the Tribunal Order is filed with the Superior Court of Justice, the Commission shall notify the Director of the Crown Law Office, Civil, who will make arrangements for the amount to be paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in accordance with section 22 of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act.
  4. Where the Commission, the Chief Commissioner, a Commissioner or an employee of the Commission is named as a party in an action for damages, the Agency shall notify the Director of the Crown Law Office, Civil and a decision shall be made as soon as practicable as to whether or not that office shall deal with the matter.
14.3 Delegation of Human Resources Management Authority under the PSOA
  1. Sections 44 and 55(1)(c) of the PSOA authorize the Public Service Commission to delegate human resources authority in respect of Commission public bodies to the Deputy Minister and/or to an individual prescribed by regulation.  Regulation 376/07 designates the Executive Director as the individual to whom such authority may be delegated in respect of Commission employees.  In Appendix A1 of the document entitled Subdelegation of Powers, Duties and Functions Templates, attached for convenience as Appendix II of this MOU, the Public Service Commission has delegated some human resources authority in respect of Commission employees to the Executive Director and some to the Deputy Minister.
  2. The Executive Director and the Deputy Minister are responsible for exercising this authority in compliance with any relevant legislation, directives or policies, in accordance with the Commission’s mandate, and within the parameters of the delegated authority.
14.4 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
  1. Section 1 and the Schedule of Regulation 460, R.R.O. 1990, as amended, designate the Attorney General as the institution head of the Commission for purposes of FIPPA.  The Minister has delegated his authority as institution head to the Chief Commissioner.
  2. The Commission, as represented by the Chief Commissioner, warrants and agrees that any personal information, as defined under the FIPPA, that it collects shall be used and disclosed only in pursuit of the Commission’s objects and for no other purposes.  The Commission further warrants that it will have reasonable measures in place to ensure the security and confidentiality of all the personal information it holds.
14.5 Records Management
  1. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that:
  1. a system is in place for the creation, collection, maintenance and disposal of records; and
  2. the Commission complies with the TB/MBC Management of Recorded Information Directive and the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 34, Schedule A.
  1. The Commission has been designated under FIPPA and is required to meet the standards set out there for the creation, collection, maintenance and disposal of records.  The Executive Director shall ensure that the Commission has a system for meeting these standards in doing these tasks.
  2. The Commission shall keep and maintain, in a manner consistent with generally accepted accounting principles and clerical practices, all financial records, invoices and other financially relevant documents related to its activities or to funding provided by the Ministry.  The Commission shall manage such records and keep them available for the Ministry’s review for seven years from the date of the creation of the records.
  3. The Commission shall maintain and manage all non-financial documents and records relating to its activities or to funding received from the Ministry, including any records it receives or creates relating to report subjects, in a confidential manner pursuant to defined processes of retention and disposal consistent with the TB/MBC Directive on Management of Recorded Information, the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, and other applicable legislation.
  4. The Commission shall collect and use personal information, as defined in FIPPA, in accordance with Part III of FIPPA.
  5. The Commission shall permit the Ministry, upon reasonable notice, to inspect and copy any financial records, invoices and other financially-related documents, and any non-financial documents in the Commission’s possession and control that do not disclose identifying information about individuals, that relate to Commission funding or otherwise to the Commission’s administrative activities.
  6. If, after execution of this MOU, the Commission’s mandate in relation to information management expands, the Commission shall, at the Ministry’s request, submit to a Privacy Impact Assessment.
  7. The Commission shall ensure that every contract it enters on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario for data collection and processing is specific about sources, entities and transfer from collection to destruction.
14.6 Client/Customer Service

The Commission has in place a formal process, consistent with the government’s service quality standards, for responding to complaints about the quality of the services it provides.  Its annual business plan shall include performance measures and targets in respect of customer service and complaint response.  This process is separate from any statutory provisions about review or reconsideration of any exercise of the Commission’s statutory powers.

15. Financial arrangements

15.1 Funding
  1. The Commission is funded from the Consolidated Revenue Fund pursuant to an appropriation authorized by the Legislative Assembly.
  2. The Chief Commissioner shall prepare and deliver to the Minister, in sufficient time for the Minister to analyze and approve them, annual estimates of the Commission’s expected expenditures for inclusion in the Ministry’s Results Based Plan. The Minister may, after appropriate consultation with the Chief Commissioner, alter these estimates as required.
  3. The Commission’s financial procedures shall accord with the Code, TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and guidelines, and other applicable government direction.
  4. The Commission shall obtain the Minister’s approval and, pursuant to section 28 of the Financial Administration Act, the written approval of the Minister of Finance before entering into any financial arrangement or commitment, guarantee, indemnity or similar transaction that may increase, directly or indirectly, the indebtedness or contingent liability of the government or the Crown in right of Ontario.
  5. When the Minister of Finance orders it pursuant to section 16.4 of the Financial Administration Act, the Commission shall pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund any money that the Minister of Finance determines to be surplus to its needs.
15.2  Financial Reports

The Chief Commissioner shall provide, on instruction from the Minister of Finance, the Commission’s financial information for consolidation into the Public Accounts.  In addition, he or she shall provide annual financial statements to the Minister and shall include them as part of the Commission’s annual report. 

15.3  Goods and Service Tax (GST)

The Commission is not required to pay GST.

16.  Audits and review arrangements 

  1. The Ontario Internal Audit Division may carry out internal audits as authorized by the Ministry’s Audit Committee or the Corporate Audit Committee.  Under the Auditor General Act, the Auditor General of Ontario may audit any aspect of the Commission’s operations at any time.
  2. The Chief Commissioner may request, at the Commission’s expense, an external audit of the Commission’s financial transactions or management controls.
  3. The Minister and the Chief Commissioner agree to share with one another the results of any audit of the Commission, regardless of which of them receives it first.  The Commission shall give the Minister a copy of its response to the audit report and to any related recommendations and shall advise the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations.

17.  Staffing 

  1. The Commission is staffed by persons employed under Part III of the PSOA.
  2. Permanent, full-time Commission employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan.
  3. The Commission, in its dealings with staff employed under the PSOA, is subject to the Code, TB/MBC human resources directives, and Public Service Commission directives authorized by the PSOA.

18.  Liability protection and insurance

The government’s Protection Program covers the Commission.

Original SIGNED:

Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner

The Honourable Yasir Naqvi,
Attorney General of Ontario

 

Appendix I
Relevant provisions of the Code

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world and is in accord with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations;

And Whereas it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination that is contrary to law, and having as its aim the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province;

And Whereas these principles have been confirmed in Ontario by a number of enactments of the Legislature and it is desirable to revise and extend the protection of human rights in Ontario;

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

 . . .

Part III: The Ontario Human Rights Commission

The Commission           

27.  (1)  The Ontario Human Rights Commission is continued under the name Ontario Human Rights Commission in English and Commission ontarienne des droits de la personne in French.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Composition

 (2)  The Commission shall be composed of such persons as are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Appointment

 (3)  Every person appointed to the Commission shall have knowledge, experience or training with respect to human rights law and issues.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Criteria

 (4)  In the appointment of persons to the Commission under subsection (2), the importance of reflecting, in the composition of the Commission as a whole, the diversity of Ontario’s population shall be recognized.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Chief Commissioner

 (5)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall designate a member of the Commission as Chief Commissioner.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Powers and duties of Chief Commissioner

 (6)  The Chief Commissioner shall direct the Commission and exercise the powers and perform the duties assigned to the Chief Commissioner by or under this Act.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Term of office

 (7)  The Chief Commissioner and other members of the Commission shall hold office for such term as may be specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Remuneration

  (8)  The Chief Commissioner and other members of the Commission shall be paid such remuneration and allowance for expenses as are fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Employees

 (9)  The Commission may appoint such employees as it considers necessary for the proper conduct of its affairs and the employees shall be appointed under the Public Service Act.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Note: On the later of the day the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 35, Schedule C, section 132 comes into force and the day the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 30, section 4 comes into force, subsection (9) is amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 2006, chapter 35, Schedule C, subsection 132 (5) by striking out “the Public Service Act” at the end and substituting “Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006”.  See: 2006, c. 35, Sched. C, ss. 132 (5), 137 (1).

Evidence obtained in performance of duties

 (10)  A member of the Commission shall not be required to give testimony in a civil suit or any proceeding as to information obtained in the performance of duties under this Act.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Same, employees

(11)  An employee of the Commission shall not be required to give testimony in a civil suit or any proceeding other than a proceeding under this Act as to information obtained in the performance of duties under this Act.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Delegation

 (12)  The Chief Commissioner may in writing delegate any of his or her powers, duties or functions under this Act to any member of the Anti-Racism Secretariat, the Disability Rights Secretariat or an advisory group or to any other member of the Commission, subject to such conditions as the Chief Commissioner may set out in the delegation.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Divisions

 (13)  The Commission may authorize any function of the Commission to be performed by a division of the Commission composed of at least three members of the Commission.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Acting Chief Commissioner

 28.  (1)  If the Chief Commissioner dies, resigns or is unable or neglects to perform his or her duties, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint an Acting Chief Commissioner to hold office for such period as may be specified in the appointment.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Same

 (2)  An Acting Chief Commissioner shall perform the duties and have the powers of the Chief Commissioner and shall be paid such remuneration and allowance for expenses as are fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Functions of Commission

 29.  The functions of the Commission are to promote and advance respect for human rights in Ontario, to protect human rights in Ontario and, recognizing that it is in the public interest to do so and that it is the Commission’s duty to protect the public interest, to identify and promote the elimination of discriminatory practices and, more specifically,

            (a)       to forward the policy that the dignity and worth of every person be recognized and that equal rights and opportunities be provided without discrimination that is contrary to law;

            (b)       to develop and conduct programs of public information and education to,

            (i)         promote awareness and understanding of, respect for and compliance with this Act, and

            (ii)        prevent and eliminate discriminatory practices that infringe rights under Part I;

            (c)        to undertake, direct and encourage research into discriminatory practices and to make recommendations designed to prevent and eliminate such discriminatory practices;

            (d)       to examine and review any statute or regulation, and any program or policy made by or under a statute, and make recommendations on any provision, program or policy that in its opinion is inconsistent with the intent of this Act;

            (e)       to initiate reviews and inquiries into incidents of tension or conflict, or conditions that lead or may lead to incidents of tension or conflict, in a community, institution, industry or sector of the economy, and to make recommendations, and encourage and co-ordinate plans, programs and activities, to reduce or prevent such incidents or sources of tension or conflict;

            (f)        to promote, assist and encourage public, municipal or private agencies, organizations, groups or persons to engage in programs to alleviate tensions and conflicts based upon identification by a prohibited ground of discrimination;

            (g)       to designate programs as special programs in accordance with section 14;

            (h)       to approve policies under section 30;

            (i)         to make applications to the Tribunal under section 35;

            (j)         to report to the people of Ontario on the state of human rights in Ontario and on its affairs;

            (k)        to perform the functions assigned to the Commission under this or any other Act.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Commission policies

30.  The Commission may approve policies prepared and published by the Commission to provide guidance in the application of Parts I and II.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

. . .

Annual report

 31.6  (1)  Every year, the Commission shall prepare an annual report on the affairs of the Commission that occurred during the 12-month period ending on March 31 of each year.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Report to Speaker

 (2)  The Commission shall submit the report to the Speaker of the Assembly no later than on June 30 in each year who shall cause the report to be laid before the Assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next session.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Copy to Minister

 (3)  The Commission shall give a copy of the report to the Minister at least 30 days before it is submitted to the Speaker under subsection (2).  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Other reports

  31.7  In addition to the annual report, the Commission may make any other reports respecting the state of human rights in Ontario and the affairs of the Commission as it considers appropriate, and may present such reports to the public or any other person it considers appropriate.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

See: 2006, c. 30, ss. 4, 12 (2).

Appendix II

Subdelegation of powers, duties and functions templates

Public Services of Ontario Act, 2006
Public Service Commission
August, 2007
[excerpts]

. . .

 

APPENDIX A1

Public Service Commission
Delegation of powers, duties and functions
to
prescribed individuals and chairs and deputy ministers
in respect of public servants appointed to work in
Commission public bodies
Pursuant to subsections 44(4), (5), (9) and (10) and clause 55(1)(c) of the

Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA)

NOTE

PARAGRAPHS 1 AND 2, AND ONLY ONE OF PART A, B, C OR D, SHALL APPLY TO ANY
ONE COMMISSION PUBLIC BODY (THEREFORE, PARTS A, B, C AND D EACH BEGINS
WITH PARAGRAPH #3)

. . .

 

Delegation to deputy ministers and prescribed individuals in respect of public servants appointed to work in a Commission public body pursuant to PSOA subsections 44(4), (5), (9), (10)

1. This instrument sets out the Delegation of Authority under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, (the Act) made under subsection 44(4) of the Act by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to the persons described in Parts A, B, C and D of this document effective the date that the Act is proclaimed.

2. All references to section numbers in this document refer to section numbers of the Act.

PART A: For use where delegations are to a PSC delegate who is a public servant in the Senior Management Group and to a deputy minister

Delegation to prescribed PSC delegate in the Senior Management Group

3. Pursuant to clause 44(4)(a), the PSC delegates to the individual prescribed under clause 55(1)(c), if that person is in a position classified within the Senior Management Group, the PSC’s powers, duties and functions in respect of public servants appointed to work in the Commission public body for which that person was prescribed, as follows:

PSOA Powers, Duties and Functions

In Relation To

Subsections 32(2), (3)

and (4)

Appointing persons to employment by the Crown, for a fixed term or otherwise, to work in a Commission public body, as prescribed under clause 8 (1)(b) of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, in classifications other than Senior Management Group 3 or 4, Information Technology Executive 3 or 4, Financial Management and Control Group 3 or Crown Counsel 5

 

Reappointing for one or more further terms persons appointed for a fixed term

Section 34

Imposing disciplinary measures for cause (including suspension but not dismissal)

Subsection 36(1)

Conducting an investigation to determine cause for the purposes of section 34

Subsection 36(2)

Pending the conclusion of an investigation, suspending the public servant for a period not exceeding the period prescribed under clause 55(1)(a)

Subsection 36(3)

Withholding the public servant’s salary, wages or any other remuneration, including benefits, during the suspension under  section 36; if he or she considers it appropriate to do so, and at  the end of the investigation, reimbursing amounts that were withheld if he or she considers it appropriate to do so

Subsection 37(1)

Where a public servant is appointed to employment for a term that is not fixed, directing that the public servant be on probation for a period of not more than one year

Subsection 41(1)

Receiving at least two weeks’ notice in writing from a public servant of his or her intention to resign from his or her position

Subsection 41(2)

Receiving from a public servant notice in writing of his or her withdrawal of the notice of intention to resign at any time before its effective date if no person has been appointed or selected for  appointment to the position held by the public servant; and Approving the withdrawal of the resignation

4. Dismissal Delegation to Deputy Minister

a. Pursuant to subsection 44(4), the PSC delegates to the deputy minister of the ministry whose minister is responsible for a Commission public body the power to dismiss a public servant under sections 34, 38 and 39 appointed to employment under subsection 32(2) to work in that Commission public body.

b. Pursuant to subsection 44(10), a deputy minister shall obtain PSC permission to exercise his or her discretion in respect of subsection 38(1) for a regular employee who is employed in the Senior Management Group 2, 3 or 4, Information Technology Executive 2, 3 or 4, Financial Management and Control Group 2 or 3, Crown Counsel 5 or Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner 1 classifications.

c. Pursuant to subsection 44(10), the deputy minister may not subdelegate the delegation in paragraph 4a) of this document with respect to subsection 38(1).

5. Abandonment of Position Delegation to Deputy Minister

Pursuant to subsection 44(4), the PSC delegates to the deputy minister whose minister is responsible for a Commission public body the power under subsection 42(1) to declare in writing that a public servant appointed to employment under subsection 32(2) to work in that Commission public body has abandoned his or her position and that his or her employment by the Crown is terminated.

6. Pursuant to subsection 44(9), the PSC imposes the following restriction on a deputy minister’s entitlement under subsection 44(6) to subdelegate to one or more public servants employed under section 32 who work in his or her ministry any of the powers, duties or functions delegated under subsection 44(4) in respect of public servants appointed to work in a Commission public body:

  • A deputy minister may only subdelegate the powers, duties and functions set out in paragraphs 4 and 5 to one or more public servants in positions in classifications within the Senior Management Group or Crown Counsel 5.

. . . 

Public complaint policy

The OHRC is committed to treating everyone involved in a complaint in a fair and respectful manner.

Use this document to make a complaint about our:

  • quality of service,
  • conduct of our staff or Commissioners
  • operational policies and procedures, or the failure to apply them.

Things to think about before making a complaint

  • Is the complaint about the OHRC’s quality of service, denial of service, or conduct of its staff or Commissioners?
  • Is the complaint about the OHRC’s policies and procedures or the failure of the OHRC to apply its operational policies or procedures?
  • Was the issue raised directly with the involved staff and/or staff’s manager?
  • Did you try to resolve the matter informally with the staff or manager?
  • Any information you give us will be kept confidential except where it involves interactions with the involved staff.
  • This Policy does not stop you from raising any concerns with the Ombudsman of Ontario.

How to make a complaint

Complaints about OHRC Staff

  1. Complaints about OHRC staff should be directly raised with the involved staff member. The involved staff member and if required, their manager, will make every attempt to resolve the issue informally.
  2. If the complaint is not resolved you should:
    • Fill out a complaint form and send it to the Executive Director of the OHRC. Describe what happened, where and when it occurred and the names of any witnesses. Please suggest how you would like the complaint to be settled.
    • If you need help writing the complaint, call the Executive Director’s Office at 416-314-4562.
  3. The Executive Director’s Office will send you an acknowledgement letter within 3 business days of receiving the complaint. The letter will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and may ask for more information.
  4. The Executive Director or her representative will tell the involved staff person about the complaint and share all relevant documents, including the complaint, with the staff person.
  5. The Executive Director or her representative will investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it within 14 business days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
  6. The Executive Director or her representative may request the staff person or the manager to provide a written response to the complaint.
  7. The Executive Director or her representative will send you a written decision, including the reasons, within 14 business days of the acknowledgement letter. If the complaint involves a staff member, a copy of the decision will be given to the staff member.

Complaints about an OHRC service, policy or operational procedure

  1. If the complaint is about an OHRC service, operational policy or procedure or the failure to apply an operational policy or procedure you should:
    • Fill out a complaint form and send it to the Executive Director of the OHRC. Describe the issue. Please suggest how you would like the complaint to be settled.
    • If you need help writing the complaint, call the Executive Director’s Office at 416-314-4562.
  2. The Executive Director’s Office will send you an acknowledgement letter within 3 business days of receiving the complaint. The letter may ask for more information.
  3. The Executive Director or her representative will investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it within 14 business days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
  4. The Executive Director or her representative will send you a written decision, including reasons within 14 business days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
  5. If you are satisfied with the Executive Director’s decision the complaint will be closed. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can ask, in writing, that the Chief Commissioner review the decision.
  6. The Chief Commissioner will review the matter. The Chief Commissioner may:
    • Discuss the complaint with the Executive Director or her representative and try to resolve the complaint;
    • Offer you an opportunity to provide more information or comments or take part in a conference call; and/or
    • Make a decision based upon the information received.
  7. The Chief Commissioner will send you her written decision.

Complaints about Executive Director

Complaints about the Executive Director should be sent to the Deputy Attorney General, Ministry of the Attorney General.

Complaints about Ontario Human Rights Commissioners

Complaints about Commissioners should be sent to the Chief Commissioner.

Compaints about the Chief Commissioner

Complaints about the Chief Commissioner should be sent to the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Decision to not deal with a complaint

The Executive Director or Chief Commissioner will not deal with a complaint if:

  • You do not identify yourself or give us your address and telephone number;
  • You do not reply if we ask for more information; or
  • The matter has already been raised and addressed by the OHRC.

Note: Complaints about Ontario Human Rights Code related discrimination by OHRC staff or Commissioners or its policies and procedures will be dealt with according to the OHRC’s Internal human rights policy

Alternative formats

This Policy is available in various accessible formats. Please contact the OHRC describing the format you need.

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Executive Director’s Office
180 Dundas Street West
8th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9

Tel: 416-314-4562
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Email: info@ohrc.on.ca

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Office of the Chief Commissioner
180 Dundas Street West
8th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2R9

Tel: 416-314-4537
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY: 416-326-0603
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-308-5561
Email: info@ohrc.on.ca

Deputy Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
McMurtry-Scott Building
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2K1

Tel: 416-326-6220
Toll Free: 1-800-518-7901
TTY: 416-326-4012
Fax: 416-326-4007
Website: www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca

Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C9

Tel: 1-800-263-1830
Fax: 416-586-3485
TTY: 1-866-411-4211
Email: info@ombudsman.on.ca

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Public complaint form50.8 KB

Contact us

Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)

The OHRC works to promote, protect and advance human rights through research, public education, targeted legal action and policy development.

We cannot provide information, advice or legal opinions on individual cases or circumstances. See the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for more information (below).

Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2G5

Tel: (416) 326-9511
Toll Free: 1-800-387-9080
TTY (Local): (416) 326-0603
TTY (Toll Free) 1-800-308-5561
info@ohrc.on.ca

Telephone directory: INFO-GO

Media inquiries: (416) 314-4528

Public education services: Request form

Request an OHRC initiated-application, inquiry or intervention: legal@ohrc.on.ca

Follow us: www.facebook.com/the.ohrc | twitter.com/OntHumanRights

Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)

The HRLSC provides free legal assistance to people across Ontario who have experienced discrimination contrary to Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and who may want to file an application to the HRTO.

Human Rights Legal Support Centre
180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 0A1

Tel: (416) 597-4900
Toll Free: 1-866—625-5179
TTY: (416) 597-4903
TTY Toll Free: 1-866 612-8627
www.hrlsc.on.ca

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)

The HRTO deals with all claims of discrimination filed under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Tribunal resolves applications through mediation or adjudication.

Go to the Tribunal's website for:

Call the Tribunal for information about:

  • the Tribunal's processes for dealing with an application;
  • an application you have already filed at the Tribunal.

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
655 Bay Street, 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2A3

Tel : (416) 326-1312
Toll Free: 1-866-598-0322
TTY (Local): (416) 326-2027
TTY (Toll Free): 1-866-607-1240
Fax: (416) 326-2199
Fax (Toll Free): 1-866-355-6099
www.sjto.gov.on.ca/hrto


Administrative: