Legal Matters: What is Human Rights Law?

This article was originally published by The Hamilton Spectator.

Q: What is Human Rights Law and how can it help me?

A: Human rights law protects the right to equality. There are provincial and federal human rights laws that apply in different situations, which have different processes for complaints, however they both promote and enforce equality and dignity.

The Human Rights Code of Ontario (“Code”) protects people from discrimination when they interact with certain services, known as social areas, and have an identity that is protected, known as protected grounds. The Code gives equal rights and opportunities to everyone.

Some of the protected grounds include gender, race, religion, disability and family status.

Discrimination or harassment by your landlord, at a store, or at your job, are examples of social areas.

An Application is a document that outlines the discrimination you experienced and begins the complaint process. Anyone can make an Application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, which is the official body that decides whether discrimination has occurred. However, the process can become complicated with legal arguments and rules and can last for many years.

Discrimination and harassment often lead to emotional harm and this can make navigating a legal system difficult. There are many accessible options for legal support. Lawyers at our firm, Legal Clinics and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre can help with Applications and navigating the process.

If you have experienced discrimination that falls under the Code, speak to a lawyer or legal clinic to discuss your situation and explore any possible next steps.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Ross & McBride professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.

Nicole Biros-Bolton
Nicole Biros-Bolton
P: 905.572-5805