Discrimination issues often arise because of a combination of human rights grounds. The OHRC has identified discrimination based on one or more grounds that intersect to produce unique experiences of discrimination as an important thing to consider in all aspects of our work. For example, a young lone mother who has bipolar disorder, receives social assistance and is looking for rental housing might face discrimination because of her disability, sex, age, family status and receipt of public assistance. If she is from a racialized group, her experience of discrimination may change or be compounded.
What types of discrimination happen because of a mental health disability and/or addiction in combination with other Code ground(s)?
Stereotyping is part of the negative stigma of mental illness. The OHRC is concerned about how negative stereotyping can lead to discrimination against people with mental health issues and/or addictions. For example, stereotypes about people with mental health issues as being dangerous or unpredictable can unfairly limit employment and rental housing opportunities. Stereotyping can also occur based on more than one Code ground.
What types of negative attitudes and stereotypes about people with mental health disabilities and addictions lead to unequal treatment in rental housing, employment and services? Are there stereotypes that are unique to people based on mental health and addiction status combined with other Code grounds?
Systemic discrimination – laws, policies and practices:
Often, discrimination against people with mental health disabilities and addictions is systemic and embedded in the laws, policies, rules, regulations or practices of an institution or sector. These rules often look neutral on their face, but result in disadvantage for people with mental health disabilities and addictions. For example, the OHRC has been doing work around police record checks. This work arises from concerns about police giving potential employers or volunteer agencies information about a person’s mental health or addiction, such as being taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act.
Are there specific laws, policies, procedures or systemic practices related to housing, employment or services that disproportionately disadvantage people with mental health issues or addictions?
Are there any other human rights issues, discriminatory practices or systemic barriers in housing, employment or services you would like to tell the OHRC about?
Do you have any other comments on what the OHRC or other bodies can do to raise public awareness, promote human rights and develop policy positions on human rights, mental health and addictions?