The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination.
duty to accommodate
Section 2 of the Code protects older persons against discrimination in housing. This right applies to renting, being evicted, building rules and regulations, repairs and use of services and facilities. Housing includes a range of accommodation options including rental accommodation, condominiums, retirement homes and care facilities. There can be some overlap between housing and services, for example seniors’ residences in which services such as housekeeping, meals or medical assistance are provided.
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 transit industry is committed to making its services fully accessible to persons with disabilities by continuing and, if possible, accelerating the process of transforming our fleets, facilities and employee skills. The key factor that will determine the pace of this transformation is the extent to which all levels of government recognize and act on their shared responsibility to work in partnership with us. -Canadian Urban Transit Association/Ontario Community Transit Association
4.1 General principles
4.1.1 Respect for dignity
The duty to accommodate persons with disabilities means accommodation must be provided in a manner that most respects the dignity of the person, if to do so does not create undue hardship. Dignity includes consideration of how accommodation is provided and the individual’s own participation in the process.
Section 17(2) provides that an employee shall not be found incapable of performing the essential duties of a job unless it would cause undue hardship to accommodate the individual employee's needs, taking into account the cost of the accommodation and health and safety concerns.
Sections 17(1) and 17(2) provide a two-stage test for the validity of a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy.
For positions where driving is an essential duty of the job, a question relating to whether or not an applicant is licensed to drive, and/or the type of vehicle the applicant is licensed to drive, would be appropriate. The legitimate needs of the employer and the concerns of the applicant might be served by including the following statement on an application form or in a job advertisement:
This position requires the successful candidate to have a valid driver's licence. The successful candidate would have to provide proof that s/he has a valid driver's licence upon being hired.
HIV/AIDS as a disability (section 10)
The OHRC recognizes that AIDS and other HIV-related medical conditions are disabilities under the Code. "Disability" is defined under section (s.) 10 of the Code. All persons infected with HIV or with HIV-related illness, or who are believed to have the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, are fully protected against discrimination in services (s. 1); housing (s. 2); contracts (s. 3); employment (s. 5); and membership in trade unions (s. 6).
The Code states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The provisions of the Code are aimed at creating a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and feels able to contribute to the community.