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Ontario Human Rights
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Ontario's Human Rights Code was enacted in 1962.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission was established in 1961 to
administer the Code.
The Commission's mandate under the Code includes:
investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment;
making efforts to settle complaints between parties;
preventing discrimination through public education and public
policy; and
looking into situations where discriminatory behaviour exists.
Protected Areas
The Code protects people in Ontario against discrimination in:
services and facilities
membership in vocational associations and trade unions
Grounds for Action




Discrimination: Any practice that would deny an individual rights or
opportunities available to other members of society, inspired solely
by the fact that the individual is a member of a protected group.

Discrimination may arise as a result of direct differential treatment or
it may result from the unequal effect of treating individuals and
groups in the same way.
Discrimination vs. Harassment
Harassment: Any practice that would expose or subject an individual
to unwelcome and undesirable behaviour (to which other members of
society are not usually exposed), inspired solely by the fact that the
individual is a member of a protected group.
Formal Equality: Treating people in the exact same manner,
regardless of any differences that might exist between them.

Substantive Equality: Treating people differently so as to provide
them equality of opportunity.
The Commission investigates and tries to resolve
Restoring Rights
The aim is to restore the complainant's rights.
Who Are the Commissioners?
There is a full-time Chief Commissioner
There are 12 part-time Commissioners.
Commissioners are appointed by Order-in-
Council. Staff of the Commission is appointed
under the Public Service Act.
Note: At each stage an attempt is made to settle the complaint. If not
resolved, then it moves to the next stage. A complaint may also be
dismissed at any stage. However, either party can appeal to a Board of
Inquiry or a higher court.
Complaint Process

There are eleven stages to the complaint process:

1. Contact
2. Filing Complaint
3. Serving the Respondent
4. Section 34 Application
5. Mediation
6. Investigation
7. Conciliation
8. Analyses
9. Decision
10. Reconsideration
11. Tribunal
1. Contacting Inquiry Services

Any person in Ontario who wishes to make a Code-related complaint
about discrimination or harassment to the Commission has the right to
do so.
If it is determined that the issue is covered by the OHRC, Commission
staff will send out a Human Rights Complaint Form.

2. Making the Complaint

In most cases, the person making the complaint will complete the form
listing all facts and return it to the Commission.

3. Serving the Respondent

Once the complaint has been signed and returned to the Commission, it
will then register and serve the complaint. The respondent is requested
to provide a response in writing within 21 calendar days.

4. Some complaints are not dealt with (Section 34)

Section 34 of the Code provides the Commission with the discretion, in
limited circumstances, to not deal with a complaint if it is of the opinion that

could be more appropriately dealt with under another piece of legislation;
is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith;
is not within the Commissions jurisdiction; or,
is based on occurrences that are more than six months old.

5. Mediation

The Commission is impartial and staff will work with both parties to try to settle
the dispute if possible. Voluntary and confidential mediation services by highly
trained Commission mediators are offered to both parties.

If mediation leads to a settlement and the agreement is signed and approved by
the Commission, the matter will be closed.

If mediation is unsuccessful, if one party chooses not to participate in mediation,
or the matter does not appear to be appropriate for mediation, it will be referred
for investigation where an officer will be assigned to investigate the complaint.

6. Investigation

The investigation officer conducts an impartial investigation including
interviewing witnesses and gathering documentary evidence. The aim is to
get the parties to come to a settlement.

7. Conciliation

Conciliation is a process of discussing a settlement with parties after the
investigation has been completed and the findings disclosed to the parties.
If the parties come to a settlement, both will be required to sign a written
agreement and to abide by the terms of the agreement and the matter is

8. Case Analysis

If conciliation is not successful, staff may refer the matter to the Human
Rights Tribunal. The decision is made by the Commissioners.

The Human Rights Tribunal

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario hears evidence and decides
whether or not discrimination occurred and what needs to be done
to remedy the situation and prevent further discrimination.

The Tribunal is independent from the Commission. (The
Commission, the respondent and the complainant are each
separate parties before the Tribunal.)

The Commission presents its evidence about the complaint to the
Tribunal, although the complainant has the right to make separate

The Commission does not represent the complainant or the
respondent at the Tribunal.

Can appeal decision to a higher court.
The goal of the tribunal is generally the restoration of human
rights. Thus, if a complaint is settled or if a tribunal rules that
discrimination has taken place, those responsible may be
required to:
Possible Remedies

end the discrimination;
establish programs to correct unfairness;
produce a plan to correct discriminatory practices;
compensate for lost wages or hurt feelings;
pay other costs of settling the complaint.
Is the Ontario Human Rights Code still Necessary?
Check this out:

CLN 4C1 ~ For Further Information:
Video on Ontario Human Rights Tribunal: