After the policy dialogue, we created a draft framework for dealing with competing rights in a respectful way that considered the rights of all involved. We presented this model to a diverse group of stakeholders in an intense two-day session. The framework is now being fine-tuned for the next step – creating a formal policy that offers practical steps for considering the possibility of solutions that will both respect and support everyone’s rights.
In our society we have different levels of rights – Charter rights, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Code rights, from Ontario’s Human Rights Code, statutory rights created by laws and other “perceived rights.” As people better understand their rights and wish to exercise them, some of those rights can come into conflict. For example, the right to be free from discrimination on the ground of religious creed, or sexual orientation or gender can sometimes appear to be at odds with other rights.
This section of the paper surveys the balancing tools found in the Code and relevant case law. Documents such as Commission briefing notes and Policy Papers provide invaluable commentary on these tools and their insights are woven into the following discussion. The goal of this section is to identify the resources for balancing conflicting rights that will be utilized in the scenarios discussed in Section IV.
As people better understand their rights and wish to exercise them, some of those rights may come into conflict with the rights of others. Depending on the circumstances, for example, the right to be free from discrimination based on creed or sexual orientation or gender may be at odds with each other or with other rights, laws and practices. Can a religious employer require an employee to sign a “morality pledge” not to engage in certain sexual activity? Can an accuser testify at the criminal trial of her accused wearing a niqab?
Factum of the intervener Ontario Human Rights Commission.
January 2009 - The OHRC’s comment below focuses on both the legal regulation of hate speech and the role of state and non-state actors. We encourage human rights agencies across Canada, as well as other public and private institutions, to carefully consider both aspects as well in anticipation of further discussion that should occur.
The editors of Maclean’s believe that “Human rights commissions are undermining the fundamental Charter rights of all Canadians. With respect, we disagree. Our action in dismissing the complaints against the Maclean’s articles supports freedom of expression. Our action in calling for debate and discussion also supports that principle.
Toronto -The Ontario Human Rights Commission has decided not to proceed with complaints filed against Maclean’s magazine related to its publication of an article “The future belongs to Islam.” The complainants alleged that the content of the article and Maclean’s refusal to provide space for a rebuttal violated their human rights. The decision means that the complaints will not be referred to a hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
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.