A significant theme in the consultation was how a person’s identity, based on mental health or addictions, intersects with other Code-related aspects of identity (such as race, sex or age), which can be the basis for unique or distinct forms of discrimination. People told us it was much harder to get a job, housing, or services because of discrimination based on two or more Code grounds. For example, we heard that young African Canadian men with a psychiatric disability find it harder to get housing due to stereotypes related to race, age, gender and disability.
The concept of ‘intersectionality’ has been defined as “intersectional oppression [that] arises out of the combination of various oppressions which, together, produce something unique and distinct from any one form of discrimination standing alone....”
The experience of discrimination based on family status may differ based on other aspects of a person’s identity. Whenever an issue relating to family status is raised, it is important to take into account the intersecting impact of the person’s sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race and age, as well as whether the person or his or her family member has a disability.
It is important to take into account the ways in which parents and children are affected by their membership in other historically disadvantaged groups. Individuals may be subjected to discrimination based on more than one Code ground, and these grounds may “intersect”, producing unique experiences of disadvantage and discrimination.
Each individual’s experience of his or her family status is profoundly influenced by other aspects of their identify, such as gender, sexual orientation, age, race, marital status, or disability: this was a major theme of the submissions the Commission received. For example, the experience of an aging parent of a child with a disability will differ from that of an Aboriginal single mother in search of housing. A heterosexual married mother seeking career advancement will experience different barriers than a lesbian couple dealing with their children’s schooling.
The experience of age discrimination may differ based on other components of a person’s identity. For example, certain groups of older persons may experience unique barriers as a result of the intersection of age with gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and language. Please see Time for Action for a more detailed discussion of “age and intersectionality” and the particular barriers faced by certain groups.
The Commission recognizes that persons may experience disadvantage in unique ways based on the intersection of age with other aspects of their identity. During the consultations, the Commission heard about certain groups of older persons who face particular barriers arising from the intersection of age with gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and language.
“Women particularly suffer because of past customs, practices and traditions.” (Canadian Pensioners Concerned)
2002 - Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, transit service providers have a legal responsibility to ensure that transit systems are accessible to all Ontarians. Many older persons depend of public transit services to go to work, to get to medical appointments, to go to the grocery store, to participate in recreational activities and to visit family and friends. Transit services that are not accessible can cause isolation and prevent participation of older persons in our communities.