Human Rights Legal Support Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

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Human Rights and Vocational Associations

Ontario’s Human Rights Code and associations: do you think you have been discriminated against or harassed by an association?

This is general information only. It is not legal advice about your situation.


What is a “vocational association" under the Code?

A “vocational association” under the Code is an occupational association, such as a trade union or a professional association, including a self-governing profession. Every person has the right to equal treatment in membership in a union, occupational or trade association or a self-governing profession.

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I am a member of my local Law Association. When I went to the members’ lounge with two other lawyers who are also Black, we were all asked for identification. There were several other groups of people (who were white), none of whom were asked for identification. Can I file an application against the Association?

Yes. The association may have engaged in racial profiling (defined under the question about the security guard. The Commission defines racial profiling as “any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin, or a combination of these, rather than on a reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment.”

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