October 2014 - This case law review looks at important developments in the law dealing with discrimination based on pregnancy and breastfeeding between 2008 and January 2014. The discussion of the law in Ontario is intended as a resource, to be read along with the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Preventing Discrimination because of Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (the Policy), about the rights of women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, who have had a baby or who are breastfeeding. However, it is not legal advice.
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.