Human Rights

The Ontario Human Rights Code a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in areas such as jobs, housing and services. 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.

The Code was one of the first laws of its kind in Canada. Before 1962, various laws dealt with different kinds of discrimination. The Code brought them together into one law and added some new protections.

In June 2008, major changes were introduced to renew Ontario’s human rights system came into effect. Ontario’s human rights system now consists of three separate and independent parts, the Human Rights Tribunal, the Human Rights Legal Support Center and the Human Rights Commission. Our legal clinic can assist you if you believe you have been a victim of discrimination under one or more of the protected grounds and in one or more of the social areas in Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Protected grounds are:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation.

Protected social areas are:

  • Accommodation (housing)
  • Contracts
  • Employment
  • Goods, services and facilities
  • Membership in unions, trade or professional associations.

If you believe that your landlord, employer, a shop owner, an organization, a contracting party or a service provider has discriminated against you on the basis of any the above-listed protected grounds, you have the right to file an application at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario within one year of last act of discrimination if there have been a series of discriminatory acts or within one year of the discriminatory event if it is a single incident. Our legal clinic can assist you in advising you of your rights in the process and can provide you with legal representation if you meet our eligibility criteria. Feel free to contact us for an appointment if you believe you have experienced discrimination.

The Steps to Justice website offers step-by-step information about human rights and other common legal problems.