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Backgrounders and research

Human rights and creed

September 2013 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is updating its Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of Religious Observances. This page provides some general background information about the update, and what may be changing in the updated policy. It will be revised as the creed project evolves.

Reconciling rights

As people better understand their rights and wish to exercise them, some of those rights may come into conflict with the rights of others. Depending on the circumstances, for example, the right to be free from discrimination based on creed or sexual orientation or gender may be at odds with each other or with other rights, laws and practices. Can a religious employer require an employee to sign a “morality pledge” not to engage in certain sexual activity? Can an accuser testify at the criminal trial of her accused wearing a niqab?

Discrimination and rental housing

Most landlords and housing providers try to comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code and work hard to meet the needs of their tenants. However, for some tenants, discrimination in housing is not an unusual occurrence. The lack of affordable and adequate housing, when combined with overt and subtle discrimination in housing, means that many people protected by the Code are excluded from the housing market, forced to pay higher rents than they can actually afford, or relegated to poor quality housing options.

The consultation on human rights and rental housing

In May 2007, the Commission initiated a public consultation with the launch of background and consultation papers both entitled Human Rights and Rental Housing in Ontario. Beginning in June 2007, the Commission held public and private meetings in four cities across the province to hear about the extent of the problems and to identify potential solutions. Around 130 organizations and an additional 24 individuals participated in afternoon consultation meetings in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto, and over 100 people participated in evening sessions in these locations.

Human rights and not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY)

NIMBY opposition to affordable housing development was a major human rights issue raised by consultees, including both tenant advocates and housing providers. People should not have to ask permission from anyone, including prospective neighbours, before moving in just because of stereotypes relating to grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code). Concerns about affordable housing projects should be legitimately anchored in planning issues rather than stereotypical assumptions about the people who will be housed.

Human rights, disability and accessibility issues regarding visual fire alarms for people who are deaf and hard of hearing

With the recent passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005, accessibility issues are now governed by complementary aspects of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA, the Ontario Building Code and, in the case of existing buildings, the Ontario Fire Code.

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