TORONTO, July 18, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today released its 2011-2012 Annual Report. OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall said, "We began the year by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and ended it by getting ready for the June 15th, 2012, 50th anniversary of Ontario's Human Rights Code. Over the past year, we continued to work closely with partners, community and government to build on that legacy to try to create a culture of human rights across the province."
- holding the largest public consultation in our history, to hear directly from people with mental health or addiction disabilities about the discrimination they face
- releasing a Competing Rights policy to help organizations and individuals deal with everyday situations where one person's rights conflict with another's
- working to update our policy on creed and religious accommodation
- advancing human rights in housing by holding two public interest inquiries, in some cases, taking legal action and producing a guide, 'In the Zone', to help municipalities connect human rights, planning and zoning
- working on a three-year Human Rights Project Charter with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) to identify and eliminate any discrimination in all MCSCS employment and service activities, with a special focus on the needs and concerns of Aboriginal people; (the Charter is part of a settlement reached on a long-standing human rights complaint against the Ministry)
- continuing work on addressing racism, discrimination and racial profiling including intervening on a number of race-related human rights complaints
- working with Ontario's Aboriginal communities to raise awareness of their human rights; exploring ways that reconciliation and human rights intersect and how we can work together to help eliminate barriers and discrimination that affect Aboriginal peoples, with colleagues at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- continuing work on other disability issues, including commenting on draft standards and regulations arising from the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, settling Commission-Initiated Applications against three municipal transit providers to make their services more accessible to riders with visual disabilities, and developing a brochure that sets out responsibilities under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- reinforcing partnerships with Ontario police services, such as working on a Project Charter with the Windsor Police Service, and providing a new guide to help police services across the province apply human rights principles in all aspects of their services.
In other areas, the Commission:
- took part in cases before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and higher courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, to clarify the law on issues ranging from competing rights, creed and freedom of expression to family status
- provided human rights public education and training, developed online e-learning modules, updated brochures and made them available in a number of different languages, and used new technology - social media, online surveys, and an improved website - to get the message out.
This year's Annual Report is available at: www.ohrc.on.ca.
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Sr. Communications Officer
Ontario Human Rights Commission