Adjudication Boards build human rights into decisions

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - Recent settlements of complaints with the
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and
Housing show an emerging commitment to human rights, the Ontario Human Rights
Commission reports. The settlements follow the Supreme Court of Canada
decision in Tranchemontagne v. the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
In that decision, the Court told the Social Benefits Tribunal to apply the
Code to resolve the issue before it. The Supreme Court stressed the primacy of
the Code over other Ontario laws, unless the legislation governing the body
expressly states that the Code will not prevail.
    In the case of Giresh Patel v. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board,
Mr. Patel, a Hindu, was deemed by a Board adjudicator to have refused suitable
work offered by his employer, even though this work involved food handling
processes that were contrary to his religious beliefs. After Mr. Patel filed a
human rights complaint against the ruling, the Board agreed to work with the
OHRC to provide direction to its decision-makers, so that human rights
considerations are taken into account when decisions are made on claims before
the Board.
    The case of Carlo v. the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
involved a complaint by Mr. Carlo that the services of the Landlord and Tenant
Board were not accessible to him. He had requested a number of accommodations
based on disability such as producing documents in large print. As part of a
settlement, the Board has agreed to review its procedures for receiving,
processing and hearing applications, as well as for issuing decisions and
releasing records, to make sure all of these steps are consistent with the
Human Rights Code.
    "I am pleased to see Boards apply the Code to their work," said Chief
Commissioner Barbara Hall. "All Boards have a responsibility to apply human
rights in their decisions. We will continue to work in partnership with Boards
and other Ontario Government agencies to help them avoid future human rights
complaints; by working together, we can better serve all Ontarians."

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For further information:

For further information: Afroze Edwards, Senior Communications Officer,
Communications and Issues Management, (416) 314-4528

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