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Policies and guidelines

Policy on human rights and rental housing

July 2009 - The Policy sets out the OHRC’s position on discrimination in the area of rental housing as it relates to the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), and to Canada’s international human rights obligations. It deals primarily with issues that fall within the Code and could be the subject of a human rights claim. At the same time, the Policy interprets the protections of the Code in a broad and purposive manner. This approach is consistent with the principle that the Code’s quasi-constitutional status requires that it be given a liberal interpretation that best ensures its anti-discriminatory goals are reached.

Policy and guidelines on discrimination because of family status

March 2007 - This Policy sets out the Commission’s position on discrimination on the basis of family status as it relates to the provisions of the Code. It deals only with issues that fall within the Code and that could be the subject of a human rights complaint. At the same time, the Policy interprets the protections of the Code in a broad and purposive manner, consistent with the principle that the quasi-constitutional status of the Code requires that it be given a liberal interpretation that best ensures its anti-discriminatory goals are attained. The Commission’s Consultation Report contains a broader examination of social policy issues affecting persons disadvantaged by family status.

Policy and guidelines on racism and racial discrimination

June 2005 - This policy sets out the OHRC’s position on racism, racial discrimination and racial harassment, at the time of publication. It replaces the OHRC’s 1996 Policy on Racial Slurs and Harassment and Racial Jokes. It deals with issues that fall within the OHRC’s jurisdiction and which can form the subject matter of an application to the Tribunal. The policy is therefore bounded by the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code and Canada’s legal framework for analyzing discrimination. At the same time, the policy interprets the protections in the Code in a broad and purposive manner.

Guidelines on accessible education

September 2004- The Guidelines take key principles from the OHRC’s Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate (“Disability Policy”) and apply them to the educational context. They are intended to provide guidance to support education providers and students with disabilities in the fulfilment of their duties and rights under the Code.

Policy on discrimination against older people because of age

February 2007 - This policy sets out the OHRC’s position on discrimination against older persons as it relates to the provisions of the Code. It deals only with issues that fall within Parts I and II of the Code and that could form the basis of a human rights claim. Time for Action contains a broader examination of social policy and other issues which must be addressed through positive action by government and community partners. In addition, the OHRC is engaged in, and will continue to undertake, initiatives to address broader human rights issues related to age.

Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate

November 2000 - Under the Code, everyone has the right to be free from discrimination because of disability or perceived disability in the social areas of employment, services, goods, facilities, housing, contracts and membership in trade and vocational associations. This right means that persons with disabilities have the right to equal treatment, which includes the right to accessible workplaces, public transit, health services, restaurants, shops and housing.

Policy on drug and alcohol testing

September 2000 - Drug and alcohol testing are of particular concern in the workplace, notably for those Ontario employers that have safety sensitive operations, and/or that are subject to U.S. regulatory requirements (e.g. the trucking industry) or to the policies of U.S. affiliates with “zero tolerance” for the consumption of drugs or alcohol. For this reason, this Policy focuses on the workplace. However, it applies to other social areas as well.

Policy on discrimination and harassment because of sexual orientation

January 2006 - This policy sets out the position of the OHRC with respect to sexual orientation at the time of publication, and replaces the OHRC’s earlier policy, approved in January 2000. The policy was developed based on extensive research and community consultations, and was updated in 2006 to reflect the significant legal and legislative changes that took place after the initial document was approved. This policy deals primarily with issues that could form the basis of a human rights claim of discrimination. The policy is therefore bounded by the provisions of the Code and Canada’s legal framework for analyzing discrimination. At the same time, the policy interprets the protections in the Code in a broad and purposive manner.

Policy on scholarships and awards

July 1997 - This policy deals with scholarships or other forms of awards or grants that are available only on a limited basis to individuals who are identified by a ground set out in the Code. These grounds include race, sex, colour, religion, age and ethnic origin, to name a few. These types of scholarships or awards are called "exclusionary" because only certain individuals can apply for them, while others, who do not share the same characteristics, are excluded.

Policy on HIV/AIDS-related discrimination

November 1996 - This policy clarifies the scope of the Code's protection for persons who are or are perceived to be infected with HIV or who have contracted HIV-related illnesses. The guidelines contained in this policy are based on extensive consultations between the OHRC and a wide-ranging number of interest and advocacy groups, employer groups, services providers, and members of the medical community, including hospital administrators.

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