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As part of its mandate under Section 29 of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) to promote awareness, understanding and advancement of human rights, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a Discussion Paper in 1999 for the purpose of consultation in order to examine human rights issues in insurance. The Discussion Paper provides a review of insurance-related legislative authority, provisions of the Code and issues of discrimination in insurance.

The objective of the Discussion Paper was twofold: to promote dialogue in the insurance industry on protecting human rights and to examine alternatives to current practices by obtaining input from experts, regulators and consumers. Access to insurance in our society raises significant issues about distributive justice and fairness in the public sphere, issues that have received scant attention in Canada and in Ontario where rate setting has traditionally been viewed as a private sector matter.

The Commission initially distributed the Discussion Paper to approximately 125 organizations and individuals and met with or spoke with representatives from private, government and consumer sectors. The Discussion Paper was also made available on the Commission’s Web site.

This Consultation Report summarizes comments and viewpoints that were communicated to the Commission.[3] The Report also examines possible directions to ensure human rights issues in insurance continue to receive attention in the future. A summary of relevant Code sections and selected case law is included in the appendices.

Finally, this particular discussion and consultation process is not a limited one-time effort. The Commission sees this initiative as a first step in revisiting human rights issues in insurance and would be pleased to receive further comment and insight from individuals and organizations at any time.

[2]A list of acronyms used in this report can be found at page 25.
[3] Though the Commission received responses from a number of organizations and individuals, not all could be referenced in this report.

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