Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released Human rights under pressure: from policing to pandemics, its 2020–21 annual report. The report highlights the OHRC’s work to advance human rights on key issues at a time when the values of human rights have come under intense pressure in all areas of society.
Human rights under pressure outlines the OHRC’s progress on its key commitments, while accepting the added challenge of providing human rights leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging focus on identifying and eliminating all forms of systemic racism. In fact, these issues have had such profound effects on vulnerable Ontarians in the past year that understanding our human rights protections and responsibilities has never been more critical.
Highlights of the OHRC’s accomplishments in 2020–21 include:
- Releasing A Disparate Impact, the second interim report on our inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service, which confirmed that Black people were more likely than others to be arrested, charged, over-charged, struck, shot or killed by Toronto police
- Issuing a policy statement and many other materials on a human rights-based approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic, guiding governments on putting human rights at the centre of their policy, legal, regulatory, public health and emergency-related responses, including vaccine distribution and critical care triaging
- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Peel Regional Police and the Peel Police Services Board, committing to develop and implement legally binding remedies to identify and eliminate systemic racism in policing in Peel Region
- Entering the final stages of the Right to Read inquiry into human rights issues affecting students with reading disabilities in Ontario’s public education system
- Coordinating a process with Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation and the Ontario Lacrosse Association to begin discussions to address concerns of anti-Indigenous racism in lacrosse.
“Human rights have been under unprecedented pressure in the pandemic, but we continue to advance equity-centred reform with our ambitious agenda for meaningful change,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Ena Chadha. “We produced a significant body of work over the past year pursuing systemic change in education, health care and criminal justice, promoting Indigenous reconciliation and presenting poverty through a progressive human rights framework. With strong ongoing support from communities across Ontario, we are ready to embrace the new challenges the coming year will bring as we protect, adapt and advance human rights for all Ontarians.”
Issues and Media Relations Officer
Communications and Issues Management
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Phone: 437 779 1599 firstname.lastname@example.org