The OHRC is aware that the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) is considering amending its Code of Conduct to specifically include gender identity, gender expression, family status and marital status as grounds upon which members of the TCDSB community cannot be treated unfairly. Our understanding is that this issue is being specifically considered by the Catholic Education and Living our Catholic Values Sub-committee on September 25, 2019.
Mounting evidence shows that groups identified under Ontario’s Human Rights Code have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These effects are being exacerbated by the current Omicron wave and the recent decisions to close and reopen schools.
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.
The OHRC is concerned that the Township of Brock’s Interim Control By-law 2994-2020 to "prohibit the establishment of Supportive Housing and Modular Construction, including Manufactured Dwelling Houses" creates barriers to establishing and accessing supportive housing, which may be discriminatory under the Human Rights Code. The OHRC calls on Council to remove any barriers that have a discriminatory effect as soon as possible, and to allow such supportive housing projects to proceed.
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.
The OHRC is pleased that the City of Toronto’s proposed framework for multi-tenant houses implements human rights principles and “would establish city-wide permissions for multi-tenant houses.”
In an opinion editorial published online at National Newswatch on April 4, 2021, Chief Commissioner Ena Chadha discusses how Martin Luther King’s fight against poverty must guide our post-COVID vision.
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.
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.