The Human Rights Code of Ontario strives to recognize and protect “the inherent dignity and the
equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”. The goal is freedom from
discrimination for each individual.
The Human Rights Code can be reviewed by visiting the website of the Human Rights Tribunal
of Ontario at www.hrto.ca. The Code enumerates specific grounds on which discrimination is
prohibited. As one would expect, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of such things as race,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability. There are other lesser known prohibited
grounds such as “gender expression”.
People are to be free from discrimination in the areas of services, accommodation, entering into
contracts and employment. Interestingly, “age” is defined as persons 18 years or older. Thus, the
City of Oakville is within its right to ban 16 and 17 year olds from tarming beds. Otherwise, it
would be unlawful discrimination against these mid-teenagers in the area of “services, goods and
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, which conducts hearings on human rights violation, is
often faced with matters of fundamental justice. Obviously, discrimination in employment or
with respect to finding a place to live is of great concern and importance. Persons who feel that
their human rights have been infringed can bring an application before the Tribunal and seek
compensation from the offending party.
The Tribunal will try to mediate a solution, before proceeding to a hearing. If this does not work,
the matter will go to a hearing where one can represent himself/herself or be represented by a
lawyer or paralegal.
Once again these matters can be stressful and complicated, and we invite you to call our firm for