Welcome to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre
The Human Rights Legal Support Centre offers human rights legal services to individuals throughout Ontario who have experienced discrimination contrary to Ontario's Human Rights Code. Our services may include legal assistance in filing applications at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and legal representation at mediations and hearings.
Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: Pursuing a Claim at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
Survivors of sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and in other specific social settings (for example, in schools, at your doctor’s office, on campus) have the right to protection under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. This is in addition to participating in a criminal process, or, as an alternative to a civil lawsuit. Claims of sexual harassment can be filed directly at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. If you want to pursue a claim, you can obtain free legal services from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
Ontario's Divisional Court rejects police and doctor's efforts to bar human rights claims:
The Human Rights Legal Support Centre successfully defended two clients seeking justice beyond the narrow scope of a professional regulatory body's oversight.
Update: Gender identity application was resolved October 27th at the HRTO.
To read the full decision, visit Canlii
Steps to Justice
Steps to Justice, led by CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario) gives comprehensive online information on common legal problems that people experience in family, housing, employment and other areas of law.
What's new at the Centre
Charline Grant Settles Human Rights Case with York Region District School Board
"I started fighting for my children, and together with parents and community members we challenged racism across the education system in Ontario," said Charline Grant, after settling her human rights cases about racism with the York Region District School Board.
After a long struggle, Charline Grant has received a full apology from the school board and assurances of concrete steps to stamp out racism at the Board. The settlement includes the Board's commitment to:
- Establish a Human Rights Office that will collect and distribute equity-related data
- Roll out mandatory training for all staff on equity, human rights, racism and anti-oppression, including anti-Black racism
- Provide human rights compliance training for all staff who oversee complaint processes
- Ensure students experiencing discrimination are aware of support services
- Hold a two-day workshop to focus on delivering educational programing to racialized students with topics such as Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism
- Establish subcommittees to address issues of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia and invite community members to participate
Read the full media release on Canada Newswire
Settlement with Ministry of Transportation re drivers’ licenses and medical information
The Centre negotiated a settlement for our client with the Ministry of Transportation that affects drivers in Ontario who have a medical history that is no longer relevant to their ability to drive safely. Our client had two medical suspensions from driving as a result of a medical condition, but had regained his driving license after being cleared by his doctor. The problem was that medical suspensions remain on “driver’s abstracts” for three years. Our client was looking for work that involved driving (and employers were asking him for his driver’s abstract).
The results of the settlement mean that the Ministry of Transportation has agreed to a new process which will end the disclosure of “concluded” (i.e. expired) medical information relating to suspensions on driver’s abstracts. The change will be implemented by January 1, 2018. In the interim, any licensed driver who is looking for an abstract that does not include information on expired medical suspensions can contact the Ministry. The change will be reflected on the Ministry’s website once it is implemented.
Toronto Alcoholics Anonymous Intergroup re-affirms right to inclusion, regardless of beliefs
Migrant worker compensated for disability-related firing
Ben Saad v. 1544982 Ontario Inc., 2017 HRTO 1
Naji Ben Saad came to Canada from Tunisia to support his family. After an accident at work, the employer fired him for “attendance” problems. The Centre represented Mr. Ben Saad in his hearing at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The Tribunal found the employer fired Ben Saad because of “his attendance record, which I find was as a result of his injury and resultant disability.”
“He had a dream to bring his wife and children to Canada, which ended with his termination,” reads Vice Chair Kershaw’s decision. “He testified he saw racism and the worst disrespect in the last two years and was destroyed,” continued the decision.
The Tribunal found a clear connection between the injury and the firing. The Tribunal did not also conclude the discrimination was based on his country of origin, although the Centre argued this worker's particular vulnerability was inextricably tied to his status as a migrant worker.
The Tribunal ordered the company to:
- Provide $20,000 compensation to Mr. Ben Saad for the discrimination
- Hire a consultant with expertise in human rights to develop a human rights policy
- Provide a copy of it to all employees and the applicant within six months of the date of this Decision; and
- Ensure all of the company’s owners, managers and employees in the human resources department take on-line training human rights training
To read the full decision, visit Canlii
Birth certificate and gender claim resolved with province
The Centre is happy to announce a successful resolution between K.M. and the province of Ontario to resolve a human rights claim based on gender identity and services:
Whereas K.M. (the Applicant) on October 20, 2014, filed Application No. 2014-19099-I (the Application) at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the Tribunal), wherein he states that the inclusion of his birth-assigned name and gender on the Certified Copy of Birth Registration caused him pain and made him vulnerable to discrimination based on gender identity; and
Whereas the Applicant states in the Application that it is important that his government identification documents reflect his true gender identity;
Whereas on August 8, 2016, Ontario (the Respondent), stated that it recognized that people with transgender identity may face barriers and other negative outcomes when trying to access services, and announced a review of how gender identity information is collected and displayed on certain government forms and documents; and
Whereas on October 28, 2016, a Regulation 348/16 amending Regulation 1094 made under the Vital Statistics Act was filed with the Registrar of Regulations, which enabled the introduction of a new birth certificate, available to any entitled person, that will include the particulars currently displayed on an Ontario birth certificate as well as either:
- the names and places of birth for the parent(s) of the person named on the certificate; or
- the name(s) of the parent(s) of the person named on the certificate, if the Registrar General does not have a record of the place where the parent(s) was(were) born;
Whereas the Applicant received his new birth certificate;
The application is resolved without a hearing.