Language selector

Sex

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.

Relevant policies: 

  1. Re: Implementing recommendations of the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women

    February 3, 2017 - Dear Minister Naidoo-Harris: I am writing to you in keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s mandate to promote and protect human rights in Ontario. First, let me congratulate you on your recent appointment as the new Minister of Women’s Issues for Ontario.

  2. Re: Sexualized and gender-specific dress codes in restaurants

    July 8, 2016 - In pursuit of our public interest mandate, section 31 of the Code authorizes the OHRC to request production of documents and gather other information as part of an inquiry. Pursuant to section 31, we are writing to request that you review employee dress codes in your Ontario operations, remove any discriminatory requirements, and provide documentation showing that you have done this.

  3. Implementation of Human Rights Settlement: OHRC letter to the Ottawa Police Services Board

    May 16, 2017 - Dear Councillor El-Chantiry, Today the Ottawa Police Services Board is receiving the results of Phase III of the Ottawa Police Services Gender Project.  As you know, the project arises out of a settlement reached with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (Commission) in a human rights case filed by a female Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officer. 

  4. Strengthening Bill 3 (“Pay Transparency Act”) to protect human rights

    April 18, 2018 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the opportunity to provide comments on Bill 3, An Act respecting transparency of pay in employment (the Bill). The OHRC is encouraged by the Bill’s potential to narrow the persistent gender pay gap and other employment discrimination. To be most effective, the draft legislation requires amendments as outlined below.

  5. Policy on height and weight requirements

    June 1996 - Standards for height and weight are sometimes used to screen or evaluate job applicants. In the OHRC's experience, this tends to occur in recruitment for occupations that traditionally have been male dominated. These standards or selection criteria are based on the average physical stature of men in the majority population group. Women and members of racialized groups are, on the average, physically smaller than members of the majority population group. Consequently, these groups tend to be disadvantaged by height and weight criteria. The policy of the OHRC with regard to such recruitment practices is set out below. This policy applies to all height and weight criteria used in the context of employment.
  6. Discussion paper: Human rights issues in insurance

    October 1999 - The objective of the Paper is twofold: to promote dialogue on protecting human rights in the insurance industry and to examine alternatives to current practices by obtaining input from experts, regulators and consumers. Access to insurance in our society raises significant issues about distributive justice and fairness in the public sphere, issues that have received scant attention in Canada and in Ontario where rate setting has traditionally been viewed as a private matter.
  7. Human rights commissions and economic and social rights

    2001 - This paper is one of several initiatives by the Ontario Human Rights Commission to explore ways in which human rights commissions can become more involved in protecting and promoting economic and social rights and in implementing international treaties to which Canada is a party. The challenge for human rights commissions is to find ways to maximize the potential of their mandates to promote international standards, including those contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  8. Consultation report: Human rights issues in insurance

    October 2001 - In October 1999, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a Discussion Paper for public consultation entitled Human Rights Issues in Insurance. This Consultation Report summarizes comments and viewpoints that were communicated to the Commission. The Report also examines possible directions to ensure human rights issues in insurance continue to receive attention in the future. A summary of relevant Code sections and selected case law is included in the appendices.

Pages