Provincial plaque commemorates 50th anniversary of the Human Rights Code

TORONTO, June 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Ontario Human Rights Commission unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The plaque reads as follows:

Ontario Human Rights Code

The Ontario Human Rights Code came into effect on June 15, 1962 and established equal rights and freedom from discrimination as primary elements of provincial law. The first legislation of its kind in Canada, the Code was designed to affirm and uphold the "inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family" by providing a legal mechanism to combat discrimination. The Code was inspired by principles of individual liberty and minority rights established in Canadian constitutional traditions, and by international human and civil rights movements that emerged after the Second World War. It consolidated and expanded existing anti-discrimination statutes to reflect the changing attitudes of Ontarians toward race, religion and equality rights. Since 1962, the Code has broadened in scope, establishing Ontario as a national and international leader in human rights promotion and protection. It continues to make Ontario a more just, equitable and inclusive society.

The unveiling took place at Hart House at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario.


"We can be very proud of the leadership role Ontario has taken in advancing human rights in Canada. The Ontario Human Rights Code protects Ontarians from discrimination and harassment.  Each and every person has the right to live freely and be treated with dignity and respect."
— John Gerretsen, Attorney General

"The Code didn't just happen. It is the legacy of so many people who worked hard for change. First in Canada, one of the first in the world, Ontario's Human Rights Code works every day to protect all of us from discrimination."
Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission

"Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of Ontario's Human Rights Code. The Code is the result of tireless efforts on the part of individuals, groups and organizations who sought to end discrimination in our province. I am pleased to recognize Ontario's leadership in the development of - and accomplishments in - human rights."
Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

"Respect for human rights is a longstanding tradition in our province and is at the core of who Ontarians are as a people. It is perhaps our most important tradition - but it is also one of our most fragile. The Ontario Human Rights Code - and the commission that administers it - has done much to ensure that this tradition is protected and expanded. I am glad to see the Human Rights Code being commemorated today; we need to celebrate our achievements as we continue to address human rights needs."
— Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust


  • This event is part of the Ontario Heritage Trust's program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Code, in partnership with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust and the Ontario Human Rights Commission will host a Dialogue on Human Rights on October 18, 2012, to foster dialogue on the past, present and future of the Human Rights Code, and to explore the shared experiences and objectives between groups recognized in the Code.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario's history.
  • Since 1956, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

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Find out more about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Explore the Provincial Plaque Program.



SOURCE Ontario Heritage Trust

For further information:

For more information about the Provincial Plaque Program, contact Jennifer Jarvis at
416-325-5032 or

For more information about the Ontario Human Rights Code, contact Afroze Edwards at
416-314-4528 or


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