Understanding the Ontario Human Rights Code

The Ontario Human Rights Code is the principal legislation protecting human rights in Ontario. The Code guarantees the right to equal treatment in certain social areas by prohibiting discrimination and harassment against people based on a protected ground. The Code also protects the right of every person to claim and enforce his or her rights under the Code without the fear or threat of retaliation. 

Social areas protected under the Code include:

  • Services*, goods and facilities
  • Accommodation
  • Contracts
  • Employment
  • Membership in unions, trade or professional associations

*Services include:

  • Retail, hotel, restaurant, medical, police and public transportation services
  • Participation in volunteer organizations, organized sports, social clubs, drivers licensing processes
  • Educational services, such as primary, secondary and post-secondary education, including those provided by universities, colleges, vocational schools and other educational institutions

Protected grounds under the Code include race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, receipt of public assistance (housing only), record of offences (employment only) and disability.

If you choose to file a human rights application, your case will be heard by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. If the Tribunal decides that there was unjustified discrimination, it has the power to provide the following remedies:

  • Monetary compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect
  • Restitution (other than money, to put you in the position you would have been in had the discrimination not taken place)
  • Order for a party to take specific action to promote compliance with the Code (also known as an institutional or public interest remedy)

For more information or to make an appointment to discuss filing an application at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, contact PooranLaw today.