The Ontario Human Rights Code applies to provincial employment, services, and rental housing, amongst other areas, and ensures, in that context, that everyone has the right to be free of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, place of origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, creed, family or marital status, among other prohibited grounds. This legislation also prohibits harassment on the basis of any of these grounds, such as racial or sexual harassment; and includes a duty to accommodate under certain circumstances. Additionally, the Canadian Human Rights Act applies similarly to federally regulated workplaces, such as airlines or the Federal Government.
We regularly represent clients involved in formal complaint proceedings before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. We also assist in negotiating appropriate accommodations and return to work arrangements.
Breaches of this Code are very serious matters and can have an extremely detrimental impact on an individual’s health and well-being. Everyone is entitled to work, receive services, and live in harassment-free environments and employers, service providers and landlords have an obligation to create and offer that environment.
Notably, for individuals bringing forward human rights claims, there are many evidentiary and procedural hurdles they must cross if their claim is to succeed. This is where the assistance of qualified counsel is crucial to ensure that one’s claim is as comprehensive as possible and has the best chance of success.
We can assist complainants in preparing a human rights complaint and representing the individual before the Tribunal. Additionally, human rights issues are often integrated within other avenues of employment litigation (such as a wrongful dismissal case) and we have substantial experience with assisting individuals with complex cases of this nature.
From an employer, service provider, or landlord’s perspective, defending a human rights complaint can be difficult. The challenges faced by those defending human rights claims are different than those faced by individuals bringing forth such claims. However, these challenges are intricately connected to the story of the plaintiff. Therefore, obtaining counsel who have intricate knowledge of “both sides of the fence” is the best approach when faced with a human rights claim.
We have such experience, and the expertise to provide clients with the strategic, practical advice they need to respond to the unique challenges of human rights complaints.
Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.