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Policy on HIV/AIDS-related discrimination

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Approved by the OHRC: November 27, 1996
(Please note: minor revisions were made in December 2009 to address legislative amendments resulting from the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006, which came into effect on June 30, 2008.)

Available in other accessible formats on request


A society is judged by how it responds to those in greatest need. A tragedy such as the HIV epidemic brings a society face to face with the core of its established values, and offers an opportunity for the reaffirmation of compassion, justice and dignity.

James D. Watkins, Chair
Presidential Committee on the
Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic Report
Report of June 24, 1988

The Code states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The provisions of the Code are aimed at creating a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and feels able to contribute to the community.

The Code provides for equal treatment without discrimination because of disability. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and other medical conditions related to infection by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are recognized as disabilities within the meaning of the Code. All persons who have or have had, or who are believed to have or have had, or are perceived to have, AIDS or HIV-related medical conditions, including those who do not show symptoms of AIDS or AIDS-related illnesses, are entitled to the protection of the Code in employment, services, housing, contracts and membership in trade unions.

HIV is transmitted through very limited ways. It is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sexual activity and through contact with infected blood and other body fluids. A person may become infected with HIV by receiving blood transfusions or using blood contaminated needles. It is important to recognize that today, the risk of transmitting HIV through blood transfusions has been minimized in North America. Since 1985, blood banks across Canada and the United States have implemented routine procedures for comprehensive HIV antibody screening.

AIDS is much more than just a medical/scientific phenomenon. It challenges our fundamental values such as a commitment to a compassionate society, to justice and to the elimination of all aspects of discrimination that undermines these values.


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