Human Rights and Equity Office

Human Rights and Equity Office
Human Rights and Equity Office

Meeting One: Introduction and Presentation of the Human Rights Legislation Group

This was an introductory meeting to discuss General Human Rights Legislation.


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, is based on the premise that persons with disabilities should have the same kind of opportunities as everyone else. Businesses and organizations, including Universities, who provide goods and services to people in Ontario will have to meet certain accessibility standards in five important areas of our lives.

In January 2008, the Ontario government enacted the customer service regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005. To meet regulatory compliance, the University must train everyone who acts on its behalf in accessible customer service. This training requirement applies to faculty, staff, managers, directors, department and unit heads, senior administrators and student leaders. Over 200 department and unit heads, managers and senior administrator have participated in training sessions since the summer of 2009 with further session planned for the 2010. Now the University is preparing to launch an online course in accessible customer service for faculty and staff. The Vice Prinicipal, Human Resources will be sending an email to faculty and staff with details about the training and requesting that everyone complete the online course on or before February 15, 2010.   

Human Rights

The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific social areas such as jobs, housing, services, facilities, and contracts or agreements.

The Code’s goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, sex, disability, and age, to name a few of the 17 grounds. All other Ontario laws must agree with the Code.

Not all unfair treatment and not all harassment is covered by the Code. The treatment or harassment must be based on at least one Code ground and take place within a social area to be protected. For an explanation of discrimination and harassment, see What is discrimination?

If you believe you have experienced discrimination, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre can help you determine if what you experienced is protected under the Code. If you want to take legal steps to address an incident, the deadline is generally one year from the last discriminatory event.

The Ontario Human Rights System is made up of three separate agencies:

1.The Ontario Human Rights Commission (that’s us) works to promote, protect and advance human rights through research, education, targeted legal action and policy development.

2.The Human Rights Legal Support Centre gives legal help to people who have experienced discrimination under the Code.

3.The Human Rights Tribunal is where human rights applications are filed and decided.

For more information visit the Ontario Human Rights Commission website.

Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out the rights and duties of all parties in the workplace. Its main purpose is to protect workers against health and safety hazards on the job. The Act establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards, and it provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily.

Ontario's Workplace Violence and Harassment Bill makes workplace violence, non-Code harassment and domestic violence a health and safety hazard on the job to be dealt with and monitored according to established procedure.

Changes to the OHSA – effective June 15, 2010 –   apply to all provincially regulated workplaces.

For more information on policies concerning Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour

Federal Contractors Program

The Federal Contractors Program applies to provincially regulated employers which have a workforce of 100 or more employees and which receive $1,000,000 or more in federal goods and services contracts.  These employers are known as contractors. 

Contractors are required to take concrete measures to achieve employment equity in their workforce.  If they fail to implement these criteria, they may be found ineligible for future contracts.

Access more details on the Federal Contractors Program