For immediate release
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released its 2013-2014 Annual Report.
Commenting on her final report before stepping down as OHRC Chief Commissioner this November, Barbara Hall said, “Our annual report provides a snapshot of the Commission’s efforts over the last 12 months to create real change and advance human rights in Ontario, with the help of partners across the province.”
“Even more than half a century after Ontario’s Human Rights Code was enacted, there is much hard work ahead to meet its high standards. I know the OHRC will work to meet the challenge of making paper rights into real lived rights,” Ms. Hall stated.
Key highlights of the report include:
- Releasing an updated Policy on preventing discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression in April 2014 to address the new Ontario Human Rights Code grounds, significant legal decisions, policy changes and other developments.
- Releasing a new Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier in July 2013 to guide employers and regulatory bodies on avoiding discrimination when hiring newcomers and others with limited job experience in Canada.
- Working to help Ontario’s correctional system be more responsive to the needs of inmates with mental health issues. The OHRC intervened in the case involving a woman with mental illness, addictions and cancer, and as a result of a landmark settlement in September 2013, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is reviewing how to best serve women inmates with mental health issues, put in place mental health screening for all inmates, ensure people who need treatment plans and mental health services have access to them, and train front-line staff and managers on mental health issues and human rights obligations.
- Increasing public education efforts – the OHRC published a new edition of Teaching human rights in Ontario for use in schools across the province, updated its Human Rights 101 eLearning module in nine languages other than English and French, published a new plain-language introduction to Ontario’s Human Rights Code, and continued to expand its social media audience.
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Senior Communications Officer
Ontario Human Rights Commission