|Commission ontarienne des droits de la personne (French)|
|Formed||March 29, 1961|
|Jurisdiction||Government of Ontario|
|Headquarters||180 Dundas Street West, Suite 900, Toronto, Ontario|
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) was established in the Canadian province of Ontario on March 29, 1961, to administer the Ontario Human Rights Code. The OHRC is an arm's length agency of government accountable to the legislature through the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.
The OHRC's mandate under the Code includes preventing discrimination through public education and public policy, and looking into situations where discriminatory behaviour exists.
Since June 30, 2008, all new complaints of discrimination are filed as applications with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. However, OHRC has the right to be informed of applications before the HRTO, and receives copies of all applications and responses. The OHRC can intervene in any application with the consent of the applicant; the Commission can also ask to intervene without the applicant’s consent, subject to any directions or terms that the HRTO sets after hearing from the parties. The Commission also has the right to bring its own application to the HRTO if the Commission is of the opinion that the application is in the public interest.
There is a full-time chief commissioner and a varying number of part-time commissioners, appointed by Order in Council. Staff of the OHRC is appointed under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006.
On February 19, 2015, the Lieutenant Governor in Council appointed Ruth Goba as Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on an interim basis for a period of three months, effective from February 28, 2015, and ending May 27, 2015, or when a new Chief Commissioner is appointed, whichever occurs first.
Barbara Hall was Chief Commissioner from November 28, 2005,until February 27, 2015, replacing Keith Norton, who had led the Commission since 1996; Norton succeeded Rosemary Brown. The commission's first director, appointed in 1962, was Daniel G. Hill.
Renu Mandhane, former executive director of the University of Toronto law faculty’s international human rights program, became Chief Commissioner in November 2015.She was appointed Judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on May 22, 2020 by Attorney General David Lametti.
Ena Chadha, former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre was appointed as the Interim Chief Commissioner in July 2020.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission is committed to the elimination of discrimination in society by providing the people of Ontario with strong leadership and quality service:
Section 29 of the Ontario Human Rights Code sets out the function of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The OHRC's Vision Statement
"An Ontario in which everyone is valued, treated with dignity and respect, and where human rights are nurtured by us all."
In February 2009, in a report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the OHRC commented on the proposal to create a National Press Council that would serve as a national media watchdog. Unlike current press councils in Canada, membership to this proposed new council would have been required by all publishers, webmasters and radio and television producers. No other steps were taken to implement the proposal.
Hall argued that a National Press Council would facilitate the protection of human rights without imposing censorship of the media, explaining that while the council duties would be limited to accepting complaints of discrimination (in particular, from what Hall described as "vulnerable groups") and requiring media outlets to publish counterarguments. However, the council would have no authority to censor media outlets.
Mary Agnes Welch, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, stated that the current provincial press councils are "the only real place that readers can go to complain about stories short of the courts" but that they "are largely toothless and ineffective." However, she argued against a mandatory national press council, stating that:
"The provincial ones don't even work, so how could we have a national one? And I know a lot of journalists who would take umbrage at essentially being in a federally regulated profession.... If on the crazy off-chance that there is some momentum behind this idea of a national press council, it won't be coming from journalists."
In an editorial, National Post strongly opposed the OHRC's proposal, arguing that a mandatory national press council "is merely the first step toward letting the Barbara Halls of the world decide what you get to hear, see and read." The Post further argued that nobody "has the ability to judge which speech should be free and which not."Barbara Kay also strongly opposed Hall's suggestion, stating that her experience with the Quebec Press Council (QPC) was evidence that press councils are abused by those wishing to suppress the discussion of sensitive or controversial issues.
In a speech to Ontario's Standing Committee on Government Agencies, Conservative author Mark Steyn criticized the proposal for a press council, arguing that “Free societies should not be in the business of criminalizing opinion.”
Louise Arbour, is a Canadian lawyer, prosecutor and jurist. She is currently the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for International Migration.
Barbara Hall is a Canadian lawyer, public servant and former politician. She was the 61st mayor of Toronto, the last to run before amalgamation. She was elected mayor of the pre-amalgamation City of Toronto in 1994, and held office until December 31, 1997. On November 28, 2005, Hall was appointed chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. After having her term extended four times, she retired February 27, 2015, after almost a decade in the position.
Transgender rights in Canada, including procedures for changing legal gender and protections from discrimination, vary among provinces and territories, due to Canada's nature as a federal state.
The Canadian Human Rights Act is a statute passed by the Parliament of Canada in 1977 with the express goal of extending the law to ensure equal opportunity to individuals who may be victims of discriminatory practices based on a set of prohibited grounds.
Keith Calder Norton was a Canadian politician and public servant. He served as a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1975 to 1985, and was until 2005 the chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The Human Rights Code is a statute in the Canadian province of Ontario that guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination in specific social areas such as housing or employment. The code's goal specifically prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, disability, creed, age and other grounds. The code is administered by the Ontario Human Rights Commission and enforced by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
Freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference.
The Muslim Canadian Congress was organized to provide a voice to Muslims who support a "progressive, liberal, pluralistic, democratic, and secular society where everyone has the freedom of religion."
In Canada, appeals by the judiciary to community standards and the public interest are the ultimate determinants of which forms of expression may legally be published, broadcast, or otherwise publicly disseminated. Other public organisations with the authority to censor include some tribunals and courts under provincial human rights laws, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, along with self-policing associations of private corporations such as the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.
Mary-Woo Sims (沈明麗) is a social justice activist. Best known as a former chief commissioner of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission, Sims was also a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the electoral district of Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam in the 2006 federal election.
Human rights complaints against Maclean's magazine were filed in December 2007 by Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Maclean's magazine was accused of publishing eighteen Islamophobic articles between January 2005 and July 2007. The articles in question included a column by Mark Steyn titled "The Future Belongs to Islam", an excerpt from a book written by Steyn.
Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act was a provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act dealing with hate messages. The provision prohibited online communications which were "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination. Complaints under this section were brought to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and if the Commission found sufficient evidence, the case would be heard by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The provision was used successfully in several cases against white supremacists, anti-Semitic, and neo-Nazi groups. However, it was repealed by the Parliament of Canada in June 2014, following a Canada-wide campaign when a group of young Muslim law students, for the first time in Canada, used the human rights system to challenge alleged Islamophobia by right-wing columnists, including Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. The Ontario Court of Appeal would describe the campaign in libel proceedings against Ezra Levant in relation to events that took place from 2007 in Awan v. Levant.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is a charitable organization and Crown corporation responsible to foster racial harmony and cross-cultural understanding and help to eliminate racism in Canada.
Hate speech laws in Canada include provisions in the federal Criminal Code and in some other federal legislation. There are also statutory provisions relating to hate publications in some, but not all, of the provinces and territories.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is an administrative tribunal in Ontario, Canada that hears and determines applications brought under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the provincial statute that sets out human or civil rights in Ontario prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a number of grounds in certain social areas. It is one of the 14 adjudicative tribunals overseen by the Ministry of the Attorney General that make up Tribunals Ontario. Any person who believes they have been discriminated against under the Human Rights Code may bring an application to the Tribunal.
Islamophobia in Canada refers to set of discourses, behaviours and structures which express feelings of anxiety, fear, hostility and rejection towards Islam or Muslims in Canada. Members of the Sikh, Christian Arab, Jewish Arab and Hindu communities have all reported incidents of harassment which, while intended towards Muslims, was traumatic and broader in its scope than just Muslims.
An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code is a law passed by the Parliament of Canada. The law adds gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and also to the Criminal Code provisions dealing with hate propaganda, incitement to genocide, and aggravating factors in sentencing.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Quebec is a specialized first instance tribunal of the province of Quebec, in Canada, that has the jurisdiction to hear and judge litigations concerning discrimination and harassment based on the prohibited grounds stipulated in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, as well as concerning the exploitation of elderly or handicapped persons and affirmative action programs.
Madam Justice Renu Mandhane is a Canadian jurist and lawyer who was appointed a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Brampton) on May 22, 2020.
Ena Chadha is an Indo-Canadian human rights lawyer, investigator, author and educator, known for her equality rights litigation and adjudication. She was appointed as the interim Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on July 22, 2020. Chadha was the 2019 recipient of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce's Female Professional of the Year Award. She was a co-reviewer of allegations of racism within the Peel District School Board, the second largest public school board in Canada, in 2019.