Human Rights Lawyers

Despite the considerable achievements Ontario has made in the protection of human rights, instances of human rights violations still confront the province. For instance, 66% of respondents to a survey conducted by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) believe that some forms of discrimination remain a problem in Ontario. Fortunately, due to the evolution of Ontario’s legal system, valuable tools to protect human rights are available. In this article, we will explore legal human rights protection in Ontario, Ontario’s Human Rights Code, equal treatment in the workplace, and the services of human rights violation lawyers at Roberts & Obradovic. 

Human Rights Protections in Ontario

Ontario is a diverse and progressive country where human rights are safeguarded. In the 1940s, Ontario introduced anti-discrimination laws, influenced by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and local campaigns. This led to various legislative acts, including the Fair Employment Practices Act (1951), Fair Accommodation Practices Act (1954), Ontario Anti-Discrimination Commission Act (1958), and the Ontario Human Rights Code (1962). For over 60 years, the Ontario’s Human Rights Commission (OHRC), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) have been working to protect, promote and advance human rights in Ontario.

The Human Rights Code

The Ontario Human Rights Code is the basis of the protection of human rights in the province. With a focus on equal treatment in the workplace and beyond, the legislation prohibits discrimination based on protected grounds within protected social areas.  Its goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, sex, disability and age, amongst other protected grounds. All other Ontario laws must agree and be consistent with the Code. 

The protected grounds under the Code include: 

  • 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. 

Th code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on any of the protected grounds, within a protected social area, including: 

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

The Code has evolved over the years, with additional protected grounds added to the Code. As a result of the broad scope of protections offered under the Code, stigma and exclusion in the workplace because of discrimination based on categories such as disability, sex, sexual orientation, and family status, can be combated.  

Equal Treatment in the Workplace

Employees have the right to work environments free from discrimination, harassment, and unequal treatment. The protection of such rights is critical to improving health and economic outcomes.   

The Code safeguards employees’ rights by ensuring that employers maintain equitable practices and policies. It prohibits discrimination based on protected grounds in the workplace and provides local employees’ rights of freedom from harassment, and equal treatment with respect to employment. It also prevents employers from discriminating against individuals during the hiring process or during their employment based on protected grounds. 

In addition, employers are required by provincial law to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. This benefits employees and contributes as well to a more diverse, inclusive, and productive workforce.

Human Rights Violations: How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help

Despite the creation of a legal system to protect human rights, instances of human rights violations and discrimination can still occur in Ontario. Learning to recognize such instances is crucial to developing legal strategies and dealing with employers and companies to protect your rights. 

If you are experiencing discrimination or a violation of your human rights, there are actions you can take to protect yourself. You can file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.  Our experts can provide guidance on documenting incidents, gathering evidence, and taking legal action. 

At Roberts & Obradovic Law we’re here to assist you every step of the way.    

We provide assistance for a range of scenarios, including:  

  • Understanding human rights laws and obligations; 
  • Identifying and addressing potential human rights issues, and handling them effectively;  
  • Handling instances of discrimination and devising strategic solutions; 
  • Bringing a human rights complaint or taking legal action. 

We provide counsel to individuals and employers committed to ensuring fairness and equity in the workplace, and the protection and advancement of human rights. If you need assistance, reach out to us at (647) 724-5179 or fill out our contact form to arrange a complimentary consultation with our human rights lawyers.