You should contact us if you believe that you have been discriminated against. We can help you determine whether you have a claim. We can also advise you on your claim and refer you to legal professionals that may be able to represent you at a hearing. Usually we will refer you to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre at 1-866-625-5179. In some cases, we can intervene or represent you with your complaint.
What is Discrimination
Discrimination means unequal or different treatment or harassment that causes harm. In Ontario the Human Rights Code provides protection from discrimination in workplaces, housing, services, facilities, and with respect to contracts or agreements. You generally have one (1) year to take legal steps to deal with an incident of discrimination.
Not all unfair treatment is covered by the Human Rights Code. The treatment or harassment must have been based on a ground and in an area covered by the Code.
The areas covered by the Code are:
- services, goods and facilities
- unions or occupational/professional associations
The grounds are:
- place of origin
- ethnic origin
- creed (religion)
- receipt of social assistance (housing only)
- sexual orientation
- marital status
- family status
- record of offences (employment only, must have been pardoned)
- sex (includes being pregnant)
What to do if you think you have been discriminated against
If you think you have experienced discrimination, you can bring a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario by filing an application. The application should be started as soon as possible and within one year of the act of discrimination.
The application asks you to explain what happened to you and why you feel it is a violation of the Code. The Tribunal will try to help you settle the matter through “mediation”. If the complaint cannot be settled at mediation, you will have a hearing at the Tribunal and a decision will be made. If you are not satisfied with the decision, it may be possible to take the matter to court.
The Steps to Justice website offers step-by-step information about human rights and other common legal problems.