On behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”), I would like to thank you for the commitment you have made to announce stops in your transit services. I am pleased to report that all 38 of Ontario’s public transit providers have now committed to announcement of all transit stops by the end of this year.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission's role is to speak out on issues that can lead to discrimination. We know from complaints and media accounts that some individuals are being denied public health services because of their race, faith, age, gender, sexual orientation and other grounds under Ontario's Human Rights Code. That's why we are pleased the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has drafted an anti-discrimination policy for its members.
The Ontario Human Rights Code guarantees the rights of persons with disabilities to equal access to adequate, dignified transportation. For the reasons set out in its 2002 consultation report, Human Rights and Public Transit in Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has long been concerned by the significant barriers that persons with disabilities face when attempting to access transportation services. I am writing to share two recent developments in the area of transit and human rights, and to request that you provide the Commission with information on your organization’s accessibility efforts with regard to the announcement of transit stops.
In a recent decision, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) decided not to proceed with complaints filed against Maclean’s magazine related to an article “The future belongs to Islam”. The complainants alleged that the content of the magazine and Maclean’s refusal to provide space for a rebuttal violated their human rights.
Human rights commissions across Canada provide a vital forum to facilitate the difficult dialogue between rights and responsibilities. We have a system envied the world round and one I believe must be preserved.
Jennifer Brown’s article has good advice on how to deal with credit history and debt when assessing prospective tenants. But it does not mention the legal obligations landlords have under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Of most concern is Industry representative Rob Watt’s implication that landlords could use a 30 percent maximum rent-to-income ratio to deny tenancy.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission has identified discriminatory NIMBY “Not in My Back Yard” opposition as a human rights concern and a major barrier to the development of much needed affordable and supportive housing.