Since disability was added to the Human Rights Code in 1981, it has become the ground most often cited in human rights complaints in Ontario. The OHRC has done much work in this area, but primarily on physical disability. In the past, there were few official complaints based on mental health, but we knew that they were out there. Now, as mental health issues emerge from the shadows and people feel more empowered to tell their stories, we’ve worked to better understand the discrimination that mental illness creates.
The Code protects people from discrimination and harassment because of past, present and perceived disabilities. “Disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not visible. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time.
There are physical, mental and learning disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy, mental health disabilities and addictions, environmental sensitivities, and other conditions.
- Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities (2018)
- Policy on drug and alcohol testing (2016)
- Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability (2016)
- Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions (2014)
- Policy on environmental sensitivities (Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2014)
All Ontarians should enjoy the rights to inclusion, dignity and personal choices in their daily lives. While most of us take the ability to make these choices for granted, there are still some people who do not enjoy the level of rights that most of us do. Simple rights like being able to decide what clothing to wear or what to have for lunch are often not available to some of the most vulnerable members of our society – people with developmental disabilities. An initiative is underway to change this.
As the government moves forward with implementing the AODA, we continue to advocate for the Act and accompanying standards to meet the vision and the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
This included commenting on Charles Beer’s 2010 report, Creating a Path Forward – Report of the Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005.
The Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) represents much of the life and disability insurance industry in Canada. CLHIA states that it has always believed that it is important to clarify the implications of human rights legislation for insurance practices and to create awareness of these issues.
Year of decision: 2010
In a decision on June 16, 2010, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the Toronto Police Services Board discriminated against a new recruit, Ariyeh Krieger, by not accommodating his mental disability to the point of undue hardship.
2011 - The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. It applies to the areas of employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations. At work, employees with disabilities are entitled to the same opportunities and benefits as people without disabilities. In some cases, they may need special arrangements or “accommodations” so they can do their job duties.
October 2011 - In recent months, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has been examining the issue of accessible elections for both voters and candidates with disabilities. That is why we were pleased to learn the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has initiated a study on participation in political and public life in accordance with Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This update on our related activities serves as our submission to your study.
October 10, 2011 - Discriminating against someone because of a disability – including a mental health or addiction disability – is against the law. By developing a policy, educating the public, doing public interest inquiries, and through tribunals and courts, we are identifying and trying to remove the barriers many people with mental health and addiction disabilities face. (Volume no.1 No.1)
March 2011 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) continues to have serious concerns with the Ontario Government’s most recent Proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation released for public comment. The Government is also proposing related changes to Ontario Regulation 429/07, Customer Service, and to Ontario Regulation 629, Vehicles for the Transportation of Physically Disabled Passengers.
March 10, 2011 - Thank you for your two recent presentations held January 28 and February 25, 2011 to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), members of the Mental Health Police Record Checks Coalition (PRCC) and other organizations where you gave an overview of the OACP’s Draft Guideline for Police Record Checks.