2021 has been a year of recovery, human rights challenges and adapting to the new normal. Through it, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has relentlessly continued to address pervasive inequities and systemic discrimination and racism with measures grounded in the Ontario Human Rights Code. As the journey continues, take a moment to look at some of the highlighted work of the OHRC from 2021.
On November 9, 2021, the OHRC released its Policy statement on human rights in COVID-19 recovery planning. The OHRC has shared this statement with ministers across all relevant sectors, as we believe it will help guide their ministry’s pandemic recovery efforts.
Engaging the human rights principles contained in the OHRC Policy statement on human rights in COVID-19 recovery planning will result in evidence- and human rights-informed approaches to recovery planning, policy and program design. Rooting the pandemic recovery in human rights principles and proactively taking equity into account will support governments and service providers in meeting their legal obligations to eliminate discrimination and advance substantive equality.
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.
This past year, the OHRC has repeatedly denounced the escalating hate that is targeting religious and racialized communities. It is essential that we all take steps, and take them quickly, to stand in solidarity, as individuals and through our organizations, to call out Islamophobia and racism and reject the hatred and the violence it begets.
The OHRC joins community calls for governments to review hate crime laws to ensure these laws are responsive to the lived realities of hate activity across Canada, and enforcement to ensure that police are doing what is necessary to support communities in distress and keep communities safe.
This horrific and senseless act further underlines why discrimination based on creed and racism must be unequivocally condemned as deplorable and in violation of core values and beliefs as a society.
Today, OHRC Chief Commissioner Ena Chadha released a statement on how Canada is facing two pandemics – COVID-19 and the pandemic of brazen hate, extremism and brutality.
With the rise of toxic rhetoric during the early days of COVID-19, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) publicly condemned the intensifying xenophobia and scaremongering. Yet, 10 months later, Canada continues to face a pandemic of brazen hate, extremism and brutality.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is working hard to continue its inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service (TPS).