In recent years, the Ministry of Education has implemented its Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy across Ontario, and has also updated how schools need to approach discipline. These steps are part of a larger vision of embedding human rights into our education system. The Ministry has worked with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) at key points along the way, to achieve our shared vision of a school system where every student has the opportunity to succeed.
These changes reflect how education services are delivered – but there is also a curriculum requirement to teach about human rights. That’s where this guide can help. First introduced in 1995, the guide offers information on Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code) and how to deal with complaints. This third edition has been updated to reflect the many changes that have happened in human rights over the past decade. For example, in June 2012, the Code was updated to prohibit discrimination based on the new grounds of gender identity and gender expression.
We live in challenging times. As our society becomes more diverse, the human rights challenges we face become more complex, and the need to bring a solid grounding in human rights becomes more critical.
This guide can serve as a starting point for what I hope will be lifelong learning about human rights, and the value of respecting the dignity, worth and inclusion of all Ontarians.
Barbara Hall, B.A, LL.B, Ph.D (hon.)
Ontario Human Rights Commission