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Legal

The OHRC uses targeted legal action, including Public Interest Inquiries, to advance an expansive interpretation of the Code, establish important precedents that adopt OHRC policies, promote broader public change, and pursue public interest remedies. Some of our most recent case work can be found below. Each Annual Report also reviews the past year’s legal work.

The OHRC's Litigation and inquiry strategy sets out when and how the OHRC decides to conduct an inquiry or take an application to the Human Rights Tribunal or when to intervene in a legal proceeding. 

To request a Commission initiated-application, inquiry or intervention, contact legal@ohrc.on.ca

See our Litigation and Inquiry Strategy for more information about OHRC legal action.

  1. Newspaper editorials are not restricted by Ontario's Human Rights Code

    October 28, 2010

    Toronto – The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that newspaper editorials are not covered by Ontario’s Human Rights Code. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) intervened in this case, Whiteley v. Osprey Media Publishing Inc. and Sun Media Corporation before the Tribunal. The OHRC argued that section 13 of the Code does not restrict newspapers from printing opinions that some people may not like. The Tribunal agreed, saying “…publication of opinion in the media is a matter at the core of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in a democratic society”.

  2. OHRC seeks to intervene in Lynwood Charlton Centre OMB appeal

    October 4, 2012

    Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has made a formal request to the Ontario Municipal Board to intervene in the Lynwood Charlton Centre’s appeal of a decision by the City of Hamilton. This step is based on the OHRC’s concerns about human rights issues when the City denied Lynwood Charlton the zoning required to move housing for eight teenage girls with mental health issues.

  3. Commission appeals advance human rights law

    June 13, 2006

    Toronto - Over the past ten years, the Commission has been involved in 72 judicial review decisions, 32 decisions on appeal at the Divisional Court, 40 decisions from the Court of Appeal, and 17 from the Supreme Court of Canada. As of March 31, 2006, the Commission was litigating 462 cases at the Tribunal, eight cases before the Divisional Court, three in the Ontario Court of Appeal, and two before the Supreme Court of Canada.

  4. OHRC seeks leave to intervene in racial profiling case

    June 2, 2015

    Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission is seeking leave to intervene as a friend of the Court in the “Neptune 4” case, being heard by the Toronto Police Service Disciplinary Tribunal. The action is part of a longstanding effort by the OHRC to tackle racial profiling – an issue at the heart of the Commission’s mandate to promote and advance respect for human rights in Ontario. 

  5. Human rights settlement aims to increase gender diversity in Ottawa Police Service

    December 2, 2015

    Toronto - A settlement has been reached with the Ottawa Police in a case that alleged a female police officer was denied training, job placement and promotion opportunities because of her family status, sex and maternity leaves. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) intervened at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to address systemic barriers to promotion and advancement that women can face. 

  6. New documentation guidelines for accommodating students with mental health disabilities

    January 6, 2016

    Toronto - Navi Dhanota, represented by ARCH Disability Law Centre; York University and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) have worked together to develop new documentation guidelines to access academic accommodations. The change in guidelines means that students will no longer have to disclose their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) diagnosis to register for mental health accommodations and supports.

  7. Hockey Canada’s Ontario branches take important step towards transgender inclusion

    September 7, 2016

    Toronto — Hockey Canada, through its Ontario branches, ushers in a new era of transgender inclusion in time for the 2016-2017 hockey season by posting transgender inclusive policies. This step is part of a settlement agreement between Hockey Canada, on behalf of its Ontario members, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and Jesse Thompson, a trans teenaged boy who played amateur hockey and courageously decided to take on the system.

  8. New OHRC report says sexualized dress codes “not on the menu”

    March 8, 2017

    To coincide with International Women’s Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has released a new report that outlines commitments made by many of Ontario’s largest and most well-known restaurant chains to eliminate discriminatory dress codes for restaurant staff. Not on the Menu: Inquiry report on sexual and gender-based dress codes in Ontario’s restaurants outlines findings from an inquiry into dress codes at certain restaurants operating across Ontario.

  9. OHRC launches public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service

    November 30, 2017

    Toronto – Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) announced that it has launched a public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service (TPS). Using its legislated inquiry powers under section 31 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the OHRC has called for the TPS, the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) and the Special Investigations Unit to provide a wide range of data to determine exactly how and where racial profiling operates in law enforcement.

  10. Consultation report: Human rights and public transit services in Ontario

    March 2002 - This Report is based on the many and varying viewpoints presented to the OHRC in the course of its public consultation on accessible public transportation in Ontario. Conventional and paratransit systems are examined in depth, in terms of the human rights principles that apply, the issues raised, and the impact on older persons, persons with disabilities, and families with young children. Three key issues raised throughout the consultation were funding, standards, and roles and responsibilities. These issues are examined in depth.
  11. Paying the price: The human cost of racial profiling

    October 2003 - The Report begins with a brief explanation and definition of racial profiling. In addition, the Report explains the human cost of racial profiling on the individuals, families and communities that experience it. It details the detrimental impact that profiling is having on societal institutions such as the education system, law enforcement agencies, service providers and so forth. It also outlines the business case against profiling – in essence the economic loss sustained as a result of racial profiling.
  12. Preliminary findings: Inquiry into assaults on Asian Canadian Anglers

    December 2007 - During the summer and fall of 2007, there were reports of a series of incidents across southern and central Ontario in which Asian Canadian anglers were physically or verbally assaulted. Racial slurs were associated with a number of these incidents. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) was gravely concerned by these reports.

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