Human Rights

Since signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the Canadian government has put forth effort into making universal human rights a part of Canadian law. There are currently four key components in place: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and provincial human rights laws and commissions.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects human rights in Canada. Because it is part of Canada’s Constitution, the federal government cannot easily make changes to it. It can also take precedence over other laws the provinces or territories create.

  • The Charter guarantees fundamental freedoms for everyone in Canadian society, such as:
    · Freedom of conscience and religion;
    · Freedom of thought, belief and expression, including freedom
      of the press and other media;
    · Freedom of peaceful assembly (e.g. protest); and
    · Freedom of association

  • The government can restrict these freedoms under certain circumstances. For example, they might temporarily restrict freedom of assembly in a time of war.

  • The Charter also guarantees the equality of all persons before and under the law.

  • The Charter also states that it should always be interpreted in a way that helps preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of Canadians.
Canadian Human Rights Act
  • The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on a person’s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or a conviction for which a pardon has been granted.

  • If you suffer discrimination based on any of these grounds from a federally-regulated employer, union or service provider, you can get assistance from the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)
  • The CHRC investigates complaints of discrimination against federally-regulated organizations. If the CHRC believes that more investigation is needed, and a resolution between the parties cannot be made, it refers the case to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a formal hearing. To contact the CHRC or get more information, call:1-888-214-1090.
Ontario Human Rights Commission
  • The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is one part of Ontario’s system for human rights, alongside the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC). It plays an important role in preventing discrimination and promoting and advancing human rights in Ontario. Among other roles, the OHRC:
    · Develops public policy on human rights
    · Actively promotes a culture of human rights in the province
    · Conducts public inquiries
    · Intervenes in proceedings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)
    In addition, the OHRC has the power to monitor and report on anything related to the state of human rights in the Province of Ontario.
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