The Ontario Human Rights Code
The prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment in the University of Windsor’s Human Rights Policy are similar to those in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The Ontario Human Rights Code was proclaimed in order to provide comprehensive human rights legislation to protect the rights of individuals. It is one of the most important pieces of legislation in Ontario, providing both a legal mechanism to prevent or stop discrimination and remedies for victims of discrimination.
The intent of the Code is defined in the Preamble, which states that all people:
- have human rights that cannot be infringed upon or dismissed
- have individual dignity and worth
- are entitled to equal rights and opportunities without discrimination; and,
- need a climate of understanding and mutual respect, so that everyone feels a part of society and can contribute fully to it.
While the principles of the Preamble remain constant, their interpretation has evolved in step with changes to social policy. Examples are the inclusion of sexual harassment as a violation of the Code in 1981 and the addition of disability and sexual orientation as prohibited grounds in the 1980s.
The purpose of human rights legislation is not to punish the individual or company that has discriminated, but rather to remedy the situation for the person or group discriminated against and to prevent further discrimination. In Ontario, the Code provides for civil remedies, not criminal penalties.
What are the prohibited grounds of discrimination?
The Ontario Human Rights Code states that every person has a right to freedom from discrimination in the area of:
- services, goods and facilities (including shops, restaurants, hospitals, schools, insurance)
- the occupancy of accommodation (the place you live, whether rented or owned)
- contracts (oral or written agreements)
- employment (including advertisements, application forms and job interviews)
- membership in vocational associations and trade unions
on the grounds of:
- place of origin
- ethnic origin
- creed (religion)
- sex (includes pregnancy)
- sexual orientation
- age (between 18 and 65 years in employment; 16 and 17 years are included in the occupancy of accommodation; 18 years and over in the other areas)
- marital status (including common-law,divorced, separated)
- family status (being in a parent-child relationship)
- same-sex partnership status
- the receipt of public assistance (in accommodation only)
- record of offences (provincial offences, pardoned federal offences) - in employment only.
The Ontario Human Rights Code, Ontario Human Rights Commission,