Human Rights

“Bill 114 – An Act to provide for Anti-Racism Measures” – A Starting Point to Address Systemic Racism in Ontario

May 16th, 2017 by Michael Hackl

Since 1962, the Ontario Human Rights Code has provided individuals who suffered discrimination or harassment because of a number of personal characteristics, including race or religion, with a way to assert their rights to equal treatment in certain sectors, such as housing and employment. Even prior to the passage of the Human Rights Code, there were laws such as the Fair Employment Practices Act, 1951 and the Fair Accommodation Practices Act, 1954, which provided some of the protections that were later incorporated into the Human Rights Code.

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Proposed class action challenges wait times for support services for adults with developmental disabilities

April 27th, 2017 by Michael Hackl

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Many Ontarians with developmental disabilities face a significant problem when they reach their 18th birthday. Specifically, while they have received services and support from the government during their childhood, upon turning 18 they are treated as adults under the law in Ontario and those services and support are typically discontinued immediately, even though their disabilities still exist, and even though that support is often necessary to meet their most basic human needs.

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Eight days and counting… Join us at our Human Rights for Co-ops event March 4th

February 24th, 2017 by Iler Campbell

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, we will host our first IC Education event in Durham Region.   And we’d love to see you there!    Our housing provider clients regularly inquire about human rights issues – how to distinguish a human right from a personal preference and how far the housing provider’s duty to accommodate extends.   If you’d like to join us for our Human Rights Refresher at Otter Creek Co‑op in Whitby on Saturday, March 4, 2017, please register.  We have a few spaces left.

Human Rights Refresher for Housing Co ops, Saturday, March 4, 2017 10 a.m. to noon.

February 6th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

Are you on a housing co‑op board that is struggling about how to respond to complaints that second hand smoke is causing a child’s allergies to get worse? Are you a housing co‑op manager concerned that the capital budget is going to take a hit as more members need accessibility retrofits in their units? Are you a bit unclear about what things are covered by the Human Rights Code and what are not?

As a lawyer serving housing co‑ops, I’m asked these kinds of questions all the time. It also seems like there are a few co‑op members out there who want to use the language of human rights to justify the things they’d like to see at the co‑op.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about human rights in housing co‑ops, please join us at a human rights refresher as part of our IC Education series. We heard many of you who don’t like coming to our office in downtown Toronto, so we’re taking this one on the road! Otter Creek Co‑operative Homes has graciously offered to let us use its meeting room at 835 McQuay Boulevard, Unit 30 in Whitby. Sign up early because space is limited.

RSVP here

What medical documentation should you accept when asked to accommodate a disability?

February 2nd, 2017 by Celia Chandler

Our housing provider and employer clients often get asked to accommodate mental and physical disabilities under the Human Rights Code. While we’ve known for a long time that it’s OK to ask for medical documentation to support the requests, it’s been a bit unclear what should be included in doctors’ notes. Sometimes clients got notes that were too skimpy and other times clients got lengthy ones that revealed much more information than was necessary to meet the request.

Yesterday, the Human Rights Commission released some guidance for doctors, for people requesting accommodation, and for housing providers and employers who have been asked for accommodation. The Commission tells us that a doctor’s note should include:

  • that the person has a disability
  • the limitations or needs associated with the disability
  • whether the person can perform the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user, with or without accommodation
  • the type of accommodation(s) that may be needed to allow the person to fulfill the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user,
  • in employment, regular updates about when the person expects to come back to work, if they are on leave

To see what the Commission released yesterday, click here.

To see the Commission’s Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability, click here.

Save the Date: IC Education, our workshop series, will turn its attention to human rights in housing on March 4, 2017, at Otter Creek Co‑operative in Whitby. More details to follow soon!

 

Taking racist sports logos to court: Sports, tropes and prospects for change

November 25th, 2016 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

On October 14, 2016, the Superior Court of Ontario heard an application for an injunction preventing the display, broadcast, and dissemination of the team name and logo of the “Cleveland Indians,” a U.S. baseball team scheduled to play at the Rogers Centre later that day. The team, whose offensive logo has long been the subject of criticism amongst Indigenous Americans, was playing against the Toronto Blue Jays as part of the American League Championship Series. While the court refused to grant the injunction, the application has called attention to the issue of racial stereotyping and has raised questions about the viability of addressing this issue through the courts and/or human rights tribunals in Canada.

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