Welcome to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre
The Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) 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 (HRTO), and legal representation at mediations and hearings.
Land and Treaty Acknowledgement
The HRLSC provides services throughout Ontario and has lawyers located in Toronto, Guelph, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Windsor. Accordingly, we acknowledge our presence on the traditional territories of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabeg, Attawandaron and Leni-Lunaape, particularly the Mississaugas of New Credit. The place now called Ontario is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and operate in this land.
The HRLSC also recognizes and acknowledges we are in the territory subject to the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Anishinaabeg and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the land and waters of the Great Lakes region.
We are pleased to announce that Ena Chadha has been appointed as the new Chair of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre’s Board of Directors, and want to welcome Tamar Witelson, Gilles Levasseur and Kowthar Omar as the new Board Members. Ena Chadha is a practicing human rights lawyer with more than 25 years' experience. She looks forward to taking on this leadership role, working with the HRLSC’s staff and Board Members, the HRTO, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and she notes that this is a very important era for human rights in Ontario, and the HRLSC is a key pillar in the province’s human rights system. Tamar Witelson is the Legal Director at METRAC, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, where she heads the Community Justice Program. Gilles Levasseur is a university professor in Business, Economics and Law in Ottawa and lectures at six other universities in Canada. He has been lecturing for years abroad in China and France. Kowthar Omar is a Toronto District School Board educator whose pedagogy is grounded in social justice, equity and critical thinking. Her research and interests are focused on understanding and recognizing the attitudinal and systemic barriers that prevent students' equitable participation in their school experience. The Centre looks forward to working with both Ena, Tamar, Gilles, and Kowthar, and we thank Patrick Nadjiwan for his work as Interim Chair of the Board.
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.
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 HRLSC?
Mediation Program Receives Amethyst Award
In September 2018, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre’s Mediation Program received an Amethyst Award, which recognizes service excellence within the Ontario Public Service.
The Mediation Program, which has been in place for five years, moved early stage (called the application stage) client services from lawyers to a team of legal service representatives. This allows the HRLSC’s lawyers to almost exclusively do mediation and hearing cases.
In addition to increasing the number of human rights applicants who are represented by the HRLSC at mediations by an average of 84%, the program has resulted in significant and sustained increases in the number of cases settled by the HRLSC, diverting disputes from the public and private costs of adjudication. The program has resulted in an average 75% increase in the number of mediation files settled.
Tribunal orders $10,000 in compensation
A client of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, a Black man, was awarded $10,000 after being racially profiled at downtown Toronto restaurant. Read the full Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision on Canlii.
Video: Defending your human rights in Ontario – what you need to know
This video takes Indigenous people through every-day discrimination scenarios at home, when shopping and at work. It provides information about Ontario’s Human Rights Code and how to get free legal help from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. The video is a joint project of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.
Tribunal orders $75,000 in compensation for workplace sexual harassment survivor
TORONTO, March 26, 2018 /CNW/ - The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario awarded $75,000 to a 15 year old girl who was subjected to sexual harassment from her employer (a tattoo parlour). The Human Rights Legal Support Centre represented the strong young woman at a hearing before the Tribunal. The applicant, known by her initials as G.M, and the respondent are protected under a publication ban.