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Talking human rights with local government

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The OHRC provides tools and approaches that individuals, organizations and sectors across Ontario can use in their own efforts to advance human rights. But the need to understand human rights extends beyond employers and the provincial government. Local governments make decisions on issues ranging from child care to public transit – in fact, they provide many of the direct services in our communities. The rules they set and the services they provide can have a major impact on human rights.

In June 2010, we launched a new reference guide, Anti-racism, Anti-discrimination for Municipalities, which offers tips and templates municipalities can apply to support human rights in communities of all sizes.

The guide includes some of the best ideas from across Canada. For example, it talks about how Saskatoon’s Race Relations Committee reviews city policies, practices, and programs to recommend changes or action relating to personnel, policing, leisure services, housing and community services, education and training, use of municipal facilities, and planning and zoning.

It also talks about how the City of Toronto distributes posters on hate, equity and respect for diversity. This campaign is educating the public and showing support for racialized communities.

Many smaller communities may not have resources that are dedicated to doing this kind of work. The guide is geared to those municipalities, and offers many approaches they can take that are within their means.

Anti-racism, Anti-discrimination for Municipalities represents the input and ideas of many players across Ontario and in some cases across Canada. We extend a special thank-you to our partners at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, York University and the City of Vaughan for their support.

In order to strengthen the educational arm of our programme, the Ontario anti-discrimination commission will be renamed the Ontario human rights commission. This name, I think, is more in keeping with the great purpose which we all have in mind. This will be in line with the positive approach to human rights which encompasses all of the people of Ontario. - Hon. Leslie Frost in the Ontario Legislature, February 14, 1961


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