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OHRC statement on allegations of refusal of service to Indigenous people in Kenora

February 24, 2021

As Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in Northwestern Ontario fights an outbreak of COVID-19, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is aware of reports of businesses and organizations in Kenora refusing services to Indigenous people and of social media posts spreading racist comments and misinformation.

Human rights in Ontario

Ontario's Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific social areas such as jobs, housing, services, facilities, and contracts or agreements.

The Code's goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, sex, disability, and age, to name a few of the 17 grounds. All other Ontario laws must agree with the Code.

Not all unfair treatment and harassment is covered by the Code. The treatment or harassment must be based on at least one Code ground and take place within a social area to be protected.

The Ontario Human Rights System is made up of three separate agencies:

  1. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (that’s us) works to promote, protect and advance human rights through research, education, targeted legal action and policy development.
  2. The Human Rights Legal Support Centre gives legal help to people who have experienced discrimination under the Code.
  3. The Human Rights Tribunal is where human rights applications are filed and decided.

To learn more, complete our Human Rights 101 eLearning.