Work, paid or unpaid, is a fundamental part of realizing dignity, self-determination and a person’s full potential in society. In Ontario, people are protected from discrimination based on disability in employment. Employment includes paid employment, volunteer work, student internships, special job placements, and temporary, contract, seasonal or casual employment. Many consumer/survivors or people with addictions expressed their desire to work or volunteer, but could not without the accommodation they needed.
The Code states that every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination or harassment because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.
The right to “equal treatment with respect to employment” covers every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship, including job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship terms, dismissal and layoffs. It also covers rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, shift work, discipline and performance evaluations.
Relevant policies and guides:
- Policy on removing the "Canadian experience" barrier
- Human rights at work 2008 - 3rd edition
- Guidelines on developing human rights policies and procedures
- Policy on employment-related medical information
- Policy on drug and alcohol testing
- Policy on requiring a drivers license as a condition of employment
- Human rights maturity model (Canadian Human Rights Commission)
Employers, housing providers, educators and other responsible parties covered by the Code have the ultimate responsibility for maintaining an inclusive environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, and where everyone’s human rights are respected. Organizations and institutions operating in Ontario have a legal duty to take steps to prevent and respond to situations involving competing rights.
People with mental health disabilities or addictions often face barriers to finding and keeping jobs. People with serious mental health disabilities tend to have very high rates of unemployment.
While unequal power relationships exist in many sectors of society, they tend to appear the most in the workplace, where hierarchies are common. Both women and men may experience sexual harassment in employment, but women tend to be more vulnerable to harassment by men, because relative to men, more women hold lower-paying, lower-authority and lower-status jobs. At the same time, even women in positions of authority are not free from sexual harassment or inappropriate gender-related behaviour.
Assumptions and stereotypes about older workers are unfortunately all too prevalent in our workplaces. Older workers are often unfairly perceived as less productive, less committed to their jobs, not dynamic or innovative, unreceptive to change, unable to be trained or costly to the organization due to health problems and higher salaries. These ideas about older workers are simply myths that are not borne out by evidence. In fact, there is significant evidence that older workers:
The Code sets out only three considerations. This means that no other considerations, other than those that can be brought into those three standards, can be properly considered under Ontario law. There have been cases that have included such other factors as employee morale or conflict with a collective agreement. However, the Ontario legislature has seen fit to enact a higher standard by specifically limiting undue hardship to three particular components.
The ultimate responsibility for maintaining an environment free from sexual harassment rests with employers, housing providers, educators and other responsible parties covered by the Code. From a human rights perspective, it is not acceptable to choose to stay unaware of sexual harassment, whether or not a human rights claim has been made.
December 2013 - The purpose of this guide is to provide organizations with some practical help for developing effective and fair ways to prevent human rights infringements, and for responding to human rights issues such as harassment, discrimination and accommodation needs. Employers, landlords and service providers all have an obligation to make sure that human rights are respected, and can all benefit from the information provided in this publication.
May 2010 - This document is a ”how-to” guide. It gives municipalities directions on how they can start or improve anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives. This manual focuses on small and medium-size municipalities but any municipality, large or small, should find it useful.
a) Federal legislation
i) Canadian Human Rights Act
The Canadian Human Rights Act (“CHRA”) applies to workplaces in federal organizations or industries that are regulated by the federal government. The Ontario Human Rights Code does not apply to such organizations. Both of these laws cannot apply at the same time. If one applies, the other does not.
The choice of incorporating statute does not determine whether a company is provincially or federally regulated. The CHRA covers workplaces such as: