Goods, services and facilities
You have the right to be free from discrimination when you receive goods or services, or use facilities. For example, this right applies to:
- stores, restaurants and bars
- hospitals and health services
- schools, universities and colleges
- public places, amenities and utilities such as recreation centres, public washrooms, malls and parks
- services and programs provided by municipal and provincial governments, including social assistance and benefits, and public transit
- services provided by insurance companies
- classified advertisement space in a newspaper.
Relevant policies and guides:
April 2008 - In October 2007, in response to recent developments and ongoing concerns in the area of transit accessibility, the Commission began an inquiry into whether transit providers across the province announce transit stops. Through this initiative, the Commission hoped to improve awareness in the transit sector of the importance of announcing all stops for the purposes of inclusion and accessibility, and to secure commitments toward quickly developing and implementing stop announcement plans.
Under the Code, service providers have a duty to provide services that are free from discrimination and harassment. “Services” is a very broad category and includes services designed for everyone (shops, restaurants or education), as well as those that apply specifically to people with mental health disabilities and addictions (the mental health system or addiction treatment centres).
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.
The Code protects people in the social area of goods, services and facilities. Services are broadly defined, but include health care (including mental health care), the criminal justice and the court system (for example police), government services (including social assistance), education, child welfare, insurance, shops and restaurants. Many issues may exist for people with mental health disabilities and addictions when they seek services.
Section 1 of the Code prohibits age discrimination in "services, goods and facilities". This includes but is not limited to educational institutions, hospitals and other health services, community care access centres, long-term care facilities, insurance providers, public places like malls and parks, public transit services, stores and restaurants.
Older persons have a right to the same level and quality of services as everyone else and service providers have a legal responsibility to ensure accessibility, subject to the undue hardship standard.
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.
This case involved a transgender boy, Jesse Thompson, who was denied access to the boys’ locker room the rest of his amateur hockey team used during the 2012-2013 hockey season. Jesse alleged that this resulted in him being ‘outed’ as trans, excluded from important team interaction and bonding, and exposed to harassment and bullying.
2000 - Once a disability-related need has been identified, or a case of discrimination has been established, education providers have a duty to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. Accommodation is a means of preventing and removing barriers that impede students with disabilities from participating fully in the educational environment. Accommodation involves three principles: dignity, individualization and inclusion.
2000 - The Ontario Human Rights Code guarantees the right to equal treatment in education, without discrimination on the ground of disability, as part of the protection for equal treatment in services. Education providers have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. Students with disabilities are not always being provided with appropriate accommodation, and, in some cases, are falling victim to disputes between the various parties responsible for accommodation. The accommodation process is a shared responsibility.
2002 - Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, older persons have the right to be free from discrimination in health care. This right applies to health care services and facilities including hospitals, clinics, community care access centres, long-term care facilities, home care and health care programs.