Ontario is facing a homelessness crisis that is leading to profound and devastating impacts on our communities. As the crisis continues into the winter season, the OHRC echoes concerns raised by local public health units, health care workers, faith leaders and advocates about the significant lack of cold weather services in Toronto, and across the province, for people experiencing homelessness.
The concept of ‘intersectionality’ has been defined as “intersectional oppression [that] arises out of the combination of various oppressions which, together, produce something unique and distinct from any one form of discrimination standing alone....”
Ontario is facing a homelessness crisis that is causing deep and devastating impacts on our communities. Informal encampments and forced evictions are a stark example of this crisis. Solutions to homelessness and informal encampments must be grounded in human rights-based approaches and delivered with respect and compassion.
The OHRC is aware the TDSB has taken a decision to end the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program. It recognizes your obligation as a duty-holder to protect the safety of students. However, to the extent that there are bona fide and legitimate reasons to seek external help, the OHRC reminds all parties that the discussion and decision should be informed by human rights principles as set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code).
The OHRC has launched Poverty POV (Point of View), to engage with the public, through a survey, key informant discussions and other steps, on their lived experiences with poverty, including homelessness, and mental health and addictions.
The OHRC is pleased that a recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) ruling confirmed it has jurisdiction to resolve Human Rights Code-related claims of discrimination by unionized employees.
The OHRC reported progress on the Right to Read inquiry. It also confirmed its plan to continue to monitor progress on inquiry recommendations and renews its call to all partners in Ontario’s education system to do their part to uphold every student’s right to learn to read.
As Kingsville Council moves forward in its review of the proposed draft Official Plan Amendments and draft Zoning By-Law Amendments, the OHRC urges Council to make decisions that are consistent with the Code and support the dignity and well-being of all community members.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission calls on the Government of Ontario to include air conditioning as a vital service, like the provision of heat, under RTA regulations and to establish a provincial maximum temperature to make sure that vulnerable Code-protected tenants are protected against threats of eviction for using safely installed air conditioning units.
Over the coming months, the OHRC will undertake a consultation related to poverty with a specific focus on affordable, adequate and accessible housing and mental health and addiction disabilities.
The OHRC understands that the Town of Kingsville’s study, Kingsville Temporary Foreign Worker – Final Report, has now been completed and will be discussed by Council on Monday June 27, 2022. Upon reviewing the study and the proposed recommendations, the OHRC is very concerned that the recommendations would, if implemented, continue to create discriminatory barriers to migrant workers living as full members of the Kingsville community.