A high school student gets a failing grade on her essay because she refused her teacher’s sexual advances. A factory worker repeatedly turns down her foreman’s requests for a date, and suddenly sees her work hours reduced. A single mother gets evicted because she won’t have sex with her landlord.
The Code does not specifically define the ground of “sex,” but the OHRC considers it to be related to a person’s biological sex, male or female. Men and women receive equal protection under this ground. The ground of “sex” also includes a broader notion of “gender,” which can be described as the social characteristics attributed to each sex.
The Code protects men and women from harassment and discrimination, including assumptions about their abilities that result from stereotypes about how men and women ”should” behave, dress or interact. The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of sex also applies to pregnancy.
There is a close connection between mental health disabilities, addictions and gendered violence. Women who are survivors of violence, trauma and abuse often face substance use and mental health issues. Several women reported gender-based violence related to having a mental health history. Some said they were sexually harassed or assaulted by patients or staff while hospitalized for a psychiatric disability.
The Code protects a woman because she is or was pregnant, may become pregnant, has just had a baby or other pregnancy-related situations. Pregnancy includes the process of having a baby from conception up to the period following childbirth. It also includes the post-delivery period and breastfeeding.
The term “pregnancy” takes into account all the special needs and circumstances of a pregnant woman and recognizes that the experiences of women will differ. Special needs can be related to: