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OHRC policy statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates

September 22, 2021

While receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary, the OHRC takes the position that mandating and requiring proof of vaccination to protect people at work or when receiving services is generally permissible under the Human Rights Code (Code) as long as protections are put in place to make sure people who are unable to be vaccinated for Code-related reasons are reasonably accommodated.

Update on the OHRC’s work with Peel Regional Police, Board to address systemic racism in policing

September 15, 2021

Under a Memorandum of Understanding reached in 2020, Chief Commissioner Patricia DeGuire and the OHRC continue to work collaboratively with the Peel Regional Police and the Peel Police Services Board to address systemic racism and discrimination in policing. As one of the steps in this process, PRP, PPSB and the OHRC have developed a survey seeking community feedback on experiences with and perceptions of PRP.

Getting to know our Commissioners

July 28, 2021

This series profiling OHRC Commissioners offers a deeper look at who the Commissioners are, what drives them to advance human rights, and what issues are currently most important to them. The sixth in the series features Commissioner Eyolfson, a lawyer who practices alternative dispute resolution, providing independent investigation, mediation and adjudication services, primarily in the area of human rights. 

Getting to know our Commissioners

July 15, 2021

This series profiling OHRC Commissioners offers a deeper look at who the Commissioners are, what drives them to advance human rights, and what issues are currently most important to them. The fifth in the series features Commissioner Pieters, who brings to the Commission over two decades of leadership roles in equity initiatives in the education sector as teacher, vice-principal and principal. 

Statement on unmarked graves found at former Saskatchewan residential school site: Growing numbers must lead to growing action

June 24, 2021

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) stands with Indigenous communities across Canada in their outrage and mourning after 751 unmarked graves were located on the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.

Getting to know our Commissioners

May 17, 2021

A new series profiling OHRC Commissioners offers a deeper look at who the Commissioners are, what drives them to advance human rights, and what issues are currently most important to them. The fourth in the series features Commissioner Arsenault, a veteran Toronto police officer with experience ranging from youth services to the Aboriginal Peacekeeping Unit. He uses an extensive social media following to promote community safety and community-building.

OHRC response to letter requesting an OHRC inquiry on the institutionalization of older adults in Ontario

April 13, 2021

The OHRC responded to a request from Ontario Council of Hospital Unions-CUPE, Ontario Health Coalition and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly for the OHRC to undertake a section 31 public interest inquiry into the institutionalization of older adults in Ontario.

OHRC statement on urgent human rights concerns with critical care triage

April 9, 2021

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) urgently calls on the government to clarify the status of the Adult Critical Care Clinical Emergency Standard of Care for Major Surge protocol (the Emergency Standard of Care) that was circulated to hospitals in January. The government must also confirm that the Health Care Consent Act prevails to protect the rights of patients and families at this time.

Getting to know our OHRC Commissioners

February 26, 2021

A new series profiling OHRC Commissioners offers a deeper look at who the Commissioners are, what drives them to advance human rights, and what issues are currently most important to them. The third in the series features Commissioner Jewel Amoah, a Canadian-Trinidadian human rights lawyer, activist and academic. Amoah is currently the Human Rights and Equity Advisor with the Halton District School Board. She has also worked with organizations both in Canada and abroad, providing extensive advice on gender equality and legislative reform.

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.

General (Retired) Rick Hillier’s response to OHRC’s call for human rights considerations in COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning

February 8, 2021

On December 10, 2020, Chief Commissioner Ena Chadha wrote to General (Retired) Rick Hillier and the Vaccine Distribution Task Force to stress the important role that human rights principles, considerations and obligations should play in vaccine distribution planning.

Letter to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services on Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy, Building a Strong Foundation for Success: Reducing Poverty in Ontario (2020 – 2025)

January 26, 2021

While the OHRC is committed to supporting your office’s efforts to decrease poverty in Ontario, we are concerned that the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy does not take an explicit human rights-based approach to poverty reduction and does not recognize the right to an adequate standard of living.

Getting to know our OHRC Commissioners

January 21, 2021

A new series profiling OHRC Commissioners offers a deeper look at who the Commissioners are, what drives them to advance human rights, and what issues are currently most important to them. The second in the series features Commissioner Violetta Igneski, who talks about her personal journey in human rights, and how ethics and philosophy are important to understanding human rights.

Violetta Igneski: An ethical look at human rights

Letter to Aboriginal Legal Services supporting the open letter: Adding the fight against racism to the Canada Health Act: the time is now

January 13, 2021

Letter to Aboriginal Legal Services to support their call to add the fight against racism to the Canada Health Act. Although the Act is federal legislation, the OHRC recognizes the significant impact it has on the delivery of health services in provinces and territories and believes principles respecting human rights should be reflected in the Act, as well as all other federal and provincial legislation.

Letter to universities and colleges on racism and other human rights concerns

December 18, 2020

I am writing to all public colleges and universities in Ontario after recent events have exposed that Indigenous, Black and racialized students are experiencing significant concerns of discrimination, xenophobia and targeting on campuses and in academic environments across Ontario. As service providers, all academic institutions have legally mandated human rights obligations to their students under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code).

Letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on the importance of accessible housing

December 14, 2020

I hope this correspondence finds you well in these challenging times. I am writing on behalf the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), to engage you on important human rights matters and our mutual interests related to your portfolio as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Letter to General (Retired) Rick Hillier on human rights principles and considerations for coronavirus vaccine distribution

December 10, 2020

While the coronavirus does not discriminate, data tells us that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore profound systemic inequalities, and has exacted a devastating social, economic and health toll on Ontario’s most vulnerable people and communities. I am writing today to stress the important role that human rights principles, considerations and obligations should play in vaccine distribution planning.

Letter to Facebook on enforcing safeguards to prevent discriminatory housing, employment and credit ad targeting in Canada

December 7, 2020

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcome the news that Facebook has now implemented and is enforcing several safeguards to prevent discriminatory targeting of advertisements for housing, employment and credit opportunities in Canada.

OHRC working to address anti-Indigenous racism in lacrosse

December 1, 2020

In recognition of the importance of lacrosse to Indigenous cultures and in the face of troubling reports of racial slurs and mistreatment in games involving Six Nations lacrosse players, the Ontario Human Rights Commission will meet with Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, the Ontario Lacrosse Association and the Canadian Lacrosse Association to engage in discussions about how to address concerns of systemic racism against Indigenous lacrosse players. [News release also available in Mohawk]

OHRC statement for National Housing Day November 22: Accessible housing makes social, economic sense

November 22, 2020

On National Housing Day, the OHRC calls on the Province to amend Ontario’s Building Code Regulation to require all units in new construction or major renovation of multi-unit residences to fully meet universal accessibility standards. The OHRC also calls on municipalities to prioritize universal design construction, consistent with their obligations under the Code. Government and housing providers must work together to make sure that new developments are fully inclusive, because Ontarians deserve no less.

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