Human Rights Legal Support Centre

Human Rights Stories

More Settlements


More settlements in the area of employment

Victim of sexual assault moved to a new location

A woman hosted a party at her home to which she invited co-workers. A male co-worker raped her at the end of the party, and she advised her manager the next day. The Human Resources (HR) department did an investigation, during which the alleged rapist was suspended. The investigation concluded that there were no witnesses.

The woman requested a transfer to another location because she could not bear to face her rapist at work. The employer scheduled her to a different shift so that she would never have to see him. She worked a couple of shifts, and then walked into the storeroom to find him there. She became extremely upset and had to go on medical leave.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • A return to work at a different location doing a slightly different job;
  • She will be given her previous position as soon as one becomes available in the new location.

Fired because of a brain injury

A woman sustained a head injury when she simply walked into a pole.  It was not a dramatic accident, but the consequences were severe – she had memory problems, her speech was slower and she was, in her sister’s words “not the same person.” 

Initially, she returned to work, but because of her concussion, she eventually had to go on leave.  

She was fired by letter after she provided a doctor’s note stating that she was not yet ready to come back to work.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Human rights training by an external expert for the owner of the company and all managers;
  • Agreement she can pursue LTD claim in civil court despite release.

Fired for being pregnant

A woman started a new job, but was fired soon after she became pregnant.   As well, she experienced sexual harassment before her manager knew that she was pregnant.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • “Human Rights 101” training for management.

New owners take over and fire 22 year employee

An employee of 22 years in a multi-service gas bar had an ongoing WSIB claim. He was fired when the store was bought by a new owner.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Distribution of a new Human Rights policy to all staff;
  • Posting of the new policy in a place visible to the public within 7 days.

“No habla español”

A man worked for a dry cleaning company, and often spoke Spanish with a colleague while on the job. The employer claimed that the man was making fun of his manager, which the man denied. His hours were cut, and he believed that it was because of his language.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • A positive letter of reference.

Sexual harassment is no joke

A female server at a restaurant discovered that the owner paid higher wages to the male servers. She was also sexually harassed by the owner.  The woman quit her job after the owner made a sexual joke about her in front of the other employees.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • The owner to review the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Preventing Sexual and Gender-based Harassment;
  • Completion of “Human Rights 101” training within one month;
  • The restaurant to institute workplace anti-violence and harassment policies;
  • A positive letter of reference.

Younger employee hired to replace injured worker

A man worked in the automobile industry. He took a medical leave due to an unrelated accident. The employer asked him to return to work because they were short-staffed. His doctor’s note stated that he could return to work, but with some physical restrictions. He was fired after they learned of his restrictions, and was replaced with another employee who was younger and less experienced.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Development of a Human Resources policy and complaint procedure within six months, to be confirmed with the Centre.

Replaced while on medical leave

A man worked as a driver and took a medical leave because he had to undergo surgery. A few months after the surgery, he brought a letter from his doctor stating that he could go back to work immediately with no restrictions. The employer told him that he’d been replaced and that there was no work for him. 

The Centre sent a letter to the employer on his behalf. The company responded and offered him a few hours of work per week, but after a brief period he was terminated.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;  
  • Reinstatement to his job, with a guarantee of at least 30 hours per week.

Employer took no action against homophobic bullying

A woman was taunted and called homophobic names by her colleagues at work. She was also assaulted twice. When she complained to management, they took no action.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • “Human Rights 101” training for the individuals involved.

Forced out of a job because of addiction

A man who worked as a welder was receiving treatment at a medical clinic for addiction issues. He notified his manager about the treatment, and was told that the employer did not want him to work while he was undergoing treatment. He was also told that when he returned to work, he would have to go through drug testing.

After treatment, he contacted his manager and asked when he could come back to work. He never heard back.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Posting of the Human Rights Code in the workplace;
  • Training by an external consultant on the duty to accommodate disability.

Report of sexual harassment resulted in termination

A young woman was hired for a short-term customer service position. She was sexually harassed by her manager. After complaining about the harassment, she was told that her contract had ended.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Posting of the Human Rights Code in the workplace;
  • Human Rights training for all new employees and annual training for managers.

Failure to communicate was disrespectful to Elder

An Anishinaabe Elder and Wisdom Keeper was sought out to lead the opening and closing ceremonies at an expo held at a post-secondary educational institution. She attempted to contact the organizers several times leading up to the event, but they failed to provide her with the necessary information. As a result, she missed the opening ceremony.

Upon her arrival, they refused to apologize, and she viewed this as an affront against her as an Anishinaabe Elder.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • A written apology from the organizers;
  • An agreement to refer to the guideline, Aboriginal Elders and Community Workers in Schools: A Guide for School Divisions and Their Partners, as a resource for future events;
  • The guide was recognized as providing valuable cultural information, expectations and protocols in interacting with Elders.

Retirement home managers to take human rights training

A woman worked as a dietary aide at a retirement home and the chef harassed her in a number of ways on the basis of her religion, place of origin and gender. He also called her a squealer when she complained to the union and management, referring to her as a “tablecloth” (she wears a hijab) and she heard him call her a “stupid Arab.”

Management talked to him once about it, but generally said just ignore him and denied her request to work opposite shift from chef.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Human rights training for the personal respondent and all managers;
  • A positive letter of reference.

All fitness club managers to get human rights training

A woman worked at a gym for six months. She was the health centre manager and reported to the owner and general manager. He sexually harassed her (for instance making inappropriate comments, showing her nude pictures, and forcing her to take his measurements while he was topless.) She developed anxiety and submitted notes for a medical absence but the employer insisted she had abandoned her employment.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Human rights training for the harasser and the other managers;
  • A positive letter of reference.

Man next in line to be hired

A man was hired on at a car manufacturer to work at the plant. He successfully went through a lengthy application process. The last stage was to get medical clearance, and the manufacturer had this done by an independent medical clinic. At the medical, he disclosed that he was in a methadone program to treat an addiction to painkillers. The clinic failed him on his physical and told the manufacturer he could not be in a safety sensitive position for undisclosed reasons.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • He was to be hired to start the next month (without going through whole qualifying process again);
  • In the future he does not have to deal with the manufacturer’s clinic and he can provide medicals from his own doctors;
  • If issues arise, the manufacturer’s in-house health & safety department will work with him and his doctors to implement appropriate accommodations;
  • Seniority/length of service to be based on the original offer to hire.

Homophobic workplace intolerable

A man worked for a car dealership. He was taunted because of his sexual orientation, called homophobic names and physically assaulted twice. He made an official complaint and no action was taken by the corporation. The corporation filed for bankruptcy so he was only able to file his human rights application against the personal respondents.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Human rights training within sixty days for all personal respondents.

Employer accommodates woman with young child

A woman asked her employer, a large charitable organization, to accommodate her child care needs and allow her to work part time hours. She indicated that she would do the same workload, so it wouldn't have to be reduced, and that she understood that she would not be eligible for benefits anymore. Her supervisor said she would speak to the Chief Operating Officer and get back to her. After doing so, he denied her request. They told her to come up with an alternate proposal and find a solution to her personal circumstances. Her supervisor called her at home and offered her a contract position which paid less than half of her current salary. She called the Centre and we helped her draft a written request for accommodation under the Human Rights Code. After receiving the written request (and realizing she got legal advice) the employer agreed to her part-time hours and they signed an agreement.


Man reinstated to his old job

A man worked as a valet driver. He took a medical leave as he had been told that he was at high risk for a heart attack and was waiting for surgery. When he returned to work he brought a letter from his doctor stating that he could go back to work immediately with no restrictions.

The employer told him that he’d been replaced and there was no work for him. The Centre wrote letter to the employer and they responded by offering him a few hours of work per week.

The Centre negotiated a settlement before the hearing that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Reinstatement within 14 days to his position with a guarantee of at least 30 hours per week. 

Transitioning employee

A client was transitioning from female to male. He was part of the CAMH Gender Transition Program which required him to live publicly as a man and required him to provide a letter from his employer verifying that he was using his new (male) name at work. He explained this to his supervisor and indicated that he needed a letter. What followed was a course of harassment based on gender identity including refusing to call him by his new male name. He was fired.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • Lost wages;
  • Training for supervisors, the human resources department and all existing and new employees on gender identity issues;
  • One-on-one training session with the personal respondent and his supervisor;
  • Amendment of the human resources policy to include gender identity issues.

Peel District School Board moves ahead with equity plan

Ranjit Khatkur filed a human rights application against her employer, the Peel District School Board, alleging that they had failed to promote her to the post of Vice-Principal because of her race. The Toronto Star covered the hearing and reported in November 2012 that the application asked the Tribunal to order the Board to:

  • Develop equity policies inclusive of marginalized groups;
  • Review the hiring, promotion and retention process with representation from visible minority groups;
  • Ensure better reflection of visible minorities within senior administration;
  • Train senior staff, including principals and vice-principals, in the area of equity inclusion and challenges facing visible minorities.

The Star article noted that the available data (from 2007-08) indicated that only five of 235 principals — 2 per cent — in the board were of South Asian background, while close to 30 per cent of Peel Region residents were South Asian.

The Centre negotiated a confidential settlement of Ms. Khatkur's application before her hearing was completed.

On January 22, 2013, the Peel District School Board issued a media release with details about their new Action Plan for equitable hiring and promotion.


Managers who taunted South Asian man about race and country of origin agree to training

A South Asian newcomer started working as a salesperson at a car dealership. After a few days of working, his managers started calling him various names including "Paki" and "terrorist". They played You Tube videos that mocked the Punjabi culture.

Our client complained in an email to the owner. The client was offered money to leave and he refused. They then sent him a letter telling him he was fired.

Before an application to the Tribunal was filed, the Centre negotiated a financial settlement for our client and an agreement requiring the dealership to provide human rights training to its managers.


Woman with learning disability reinstated to her job

A young woman with a learning disability was hired by a coffee franchise. The owner knew she had a disability and attempts were made to accommodate her in the training process. She was fired after a few weeks on the job. The employer said it was the result of a customer complaint.

Before an Application to the Tribunal was filed, the Centre spoke with the owner to see if we could get a second chance for this worker as she really wanted to get back to work. The owner referred us to their human resources department and after considerable discussion, the human resources manager agreed to give her another chance.


Reinstatement and lost wages for woman fired because of disability

A woman lost her sales position at a thrift store when she required a medical leave after surgery and then physical accommodations at work for a short period.

The Centre contacted the store and negotiated an agreement allowing the employee to return to her job with repayment of her lost wages.


Transfer to another location and personal apology for being subjected to racist comments by colleague

A Black employee was disciplined by an Ontario-wide retail chain after arguing with another employee who directed racist comments at him (including comments about monkeys and bananas).

The Centre negotiated an agreement that resulted in:

  • Withdrawal of discipline from his file;
  • Permanent transfer to other facility;
  • Personal apology from vice-president;
  • Final warning to the person who made the racist comments.

Employment/colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, ancestry, reprisal – over scrutiny

A Black woman originally from the Caribbean who worked for a medium sized company for approximately 6 months. The first few months went well. In the fourth month, her supervisor used a racial slur when speaking with her. On another occasion, her supervisor made demeaning comments about people from the Caribbean. Her supervisor apologized and the comments stopped, but she noticed that the supervisor began over-scrutinizing her work and the demands on her increased.

The company agreed to create an anti-discrimination policy within 6 months and training for all staff within one month of the policy being completed.


Employment/country of origin, creed, disability, sexual orientation

A man was constantly subjected to discrimination based on his ethnic origin and religion. One of his colleagues constantly taunted him about being gay. When he complained about the harassment, his supervisor told him to “grow some balls.” When injured while at work he was told that if he contacted WSIB, he would be fired. He developed severe depression. When he requested time off he was fired.

The employer agreed to retain experts for training of all management and staff and policy implementation.


Employment/disability – accommodating anxiety

A waitress with anxiety requested that she be allowed to work only day shifts. She was fired when she refused to accept night shifts.

The restaurant agreed to get human rights training from an outside expert for all management and to follow up with training of all staff about rights and responsibilities under the Code, as well as distribution of the training materials to all current and future staff.


Employment/disability

An employee of a retail store provided a note from his doctor that stated owing to his disability, he could not work nights. The store manager refused.

The company later agreed to develop a national policy about the duty to accommodate and disability. All human resources and store managers across Canada were to be trained in the new policy.


Employment/disability – failure to hire

A woman applied for a job with an agency that assists people with disabilities. She has a muscular condition and requires a wheelchair. The employer told her they did not think she could physically do the job after her interview.

The organization agreed to complete training staff on human rights and disability issues, which was to include the Applicant coming to speak first-hand about the impact that the discrimination had on her.


Employment/disability - injury

A woman worked as a sales associate for a retailer before she was injured on the job. She went on a 2 month leave and then returned to work with accommodations. After two weeks back on the job, she received a series of written warnings for minor issues such as taking too long to smoke a cigarette. She contested most of the warnings. One week later she was fired.

The company agreed to develop a guideline on accommodation and employees with disabilities which will be distributed to every staff member in every store in Canada, including corporate office, within 6 months.


Employment/race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, ancestry – hiring practices

A man originally from the Middle East applied for a position with a publishing company.

He received a phone message from the company indicating they had an interest in scheduling an interview in person. When he called back, a phone interview was conducted. Near the beginning of the call he was asked about his accent and where he was from. He identified his ethnicity. The interview continued, including a discussion on salary negotiations, but no in-person interview was set up. When he called back he was told that he negotiated too much on the salary issue and that, “they were not selling camels here.” He was told that the company had hired someone else and hung up the phone.

The company agreed to anti-discrimination training and materials with a focus on hiring to be provided to the directors, including the person who had conducted the interview. Anti-discrimination training was to be provided to all managerial and supervisory staff thereafter, with written confirmation that training has been completed with a synopsis of areas covered and materials provided.


Employment/race – failure to promote

A person of Asian descent who had been working at a private college for over five years applied for a more senior position. A co-worker who had a history of treating Asian colleagues badly got the job and began harassing the person, putting them on probation for three alleged errors. He felt this was discriminatory and reported discrimination to the college which did nothing.

The college agreed to carry out annual human rights training for staff.


Employment/race – company dress code discriminatory

A Black woman filed an application based on race and gender because she experienced discrimination due to her hairstyle. The respondent agreed to:

  • Change their grooming policy to allow “dreadlocks”
  • An update to the company’s website to include information about the Human Rights Code
  • Human rights training

Employment/race, origin

The new owner of a hotel wanted to work with someone from his own culture, and fired the Applicant who had been working there for some years. Other employees who were not of the owner’s origins were also terminated. The hotel agreed to develop a full human rights policy in line with the Code, including an internal complaints mechanism. They also agreed to give training for all employees on the policy and each employee was to receive a copy of the new policy.


Employment/race, colour, place of origin, citizenship, ethnic origin, failure to investigate and reprisal – discriminatory remarks from customers

A man who worked at a call centre was subject to repeated racist remarks from callers. He raised the issue with his supervisors and management but they did not respond. When he said that he thought it was a human rights issue and was going to do something about it, he was fired.

As part of its training for all new hires at its call centre, the company agreed to specifically train employees on their rights and the employer’s obligations in situations where customers subject employees to discriminatory or harassing conduct. They also agreed to distribute a memo to all existing employees clarifying that discriminatory or harassing statements by customers on the basis of race, place of origin, ethnic origin or any other prohibited grounds of discrimination will not be tolerated by the company. The memo was also to remind employees of their right to speak to a supervisor or other member of management regarding those issues.


Employment/sex/sexual harassment and sexual orientation

A lesbian was the only woman on a construction crew. She was harassed by two employees on the basis of both her gender and her sexual orientation.

The company agreed to get human rights training for management and the posting of the Human Rights Code in all operational manuals.


Employment/sex/sexual harassment – new policy protects patients too

A woman worked at a medical clinic in an administrative capacity. A medical practitioner at the clinic started harassing her about her physical appearance and made sexually charged comments. Also, there were repeated references to her religious beliefs.

The clinic agreed to develop a human rights policy and training in area of sexual harassment and creed, as well as human rights policies specifically about how patients should be treated.


Employment/sexual harassment

A supervisor at a large manufacturing plant sexually harassed the Applicant, who was worried about all of her other female colleagues as well, many of whom are new immigrants and don't speak English.

Both corporate respondents agreed to implement a human rights policy with a complaints mechanism and all managers and supervisors will be trained on the policy. Furthermore, information sessions will be provided to employees about the new policy in their own languages.


Employment/sex – transgendered employee’s claim leads to training across North America

A transgendered person who identifies as male was asked to wear a dress in a role at an entertainment complex. He disclosed to his employers that although he was born as a woman he identifies as a man and would not be comfortable in a dress. His employers refused and pulled him from the role and refused to discuss the issue further.

The company agreed to update their antidiscrimination and human rights policy to include transgendered, transsexual employees and how they can request accommodations. The handbook will be distributed to all employees in both Canada and the U.S.


Employment/sexual harassment

A woman worked as a bartender for about a year (and had previously worked at other locations of the same chain and had great performance feedback). She experienced sexual harassment by a manager, including comments about her body and he tried to kiss her. After she rejected his advances and reported the incident to the general manager, she began to feel she was being overworked and her work was being unduly monitored by the harasser. She complained again. Shortly after, she was fired for missing her shifts and “insubordination.”

The company agreed to obtain human rights training within 6 months by an external consultant.


Employment/sexual orientation – homophobic colleagues

A gay man worked as a full-time customer services representative at a call centre for over four years. He reported repeated verbal harassment from his colleagues to his supervisors, but was not satisfied that they took it seriously and felt he had to resign.

The company agreed to human rights training for supervisory employees directed at harassment in the workplace; training to be initially provided by an outside agency or counsel and subsequently provided by the human resources manager on an annual basis.


More settlements in the area of housing

"No dogs allowed"

A 78 year old man lived in non-profit housing run by the municipality. He had several mental health disabilities and received weekly visits from a therapy dog. The housing provider passed a rule saying that no dogs were allowed in the building, even to visit. Once the new rule was put in place, he was forced to walk several kilometres to visit the dog. The Centre wrote a letter to the housing provider, and very quickly, they announced that pets would be allowed in the building once again.

The man’s therapy dog was allowed to resume visiting him in his home.


“Sorry, it’s been rented”

A young woman’s rental housing application was rejected, and she felt she was being discriminated against because her partner was black. A white tenant who had applied at the same time was approved for the same house. The landlord claimed that the reason he chose the white tenant was because he had a longer employment history, however her partner actually had more employment history.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • “Human Rights 101” training for the landlord.

Visual fire detector needed for a child with hearing impairment

A man has a nine year old daughter who is deaf and lives with him part-time. He asked his landlord to install a visual fire detector. After a long delay, they installed one in the living room, but not in the bedroom. The device was also not connected to the building’s fire detection system.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Installation of a visual alarm in the bedroom;
  • Testing and demonstration for the Applicant and his daughter so they can understand how it works;
  • Training for the property manager and other building staff on the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on human rights in rental housing.

Community housing provider installs ramp

A woman in her eighties lives in a single family home owned by a municipal community housing provider. She had recently bought a wheelchair but could not go out because the housing provider had refused her request to install a ramp. The housing provider suggested transferring to an accessible unit, but the family wanted to stay close to their doctors. The Centre wrote a letter and spoke with a manager at the housing provider. The ramp was installed quite promptly and our client is now able to come and go in her wheelchair.


Human rights settlement creates blueprint for housing providers

A woman with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis suffered severe asthma attacks and other health problems as a result of cigarette and drug smoke in her apartment building. Despite repeated complaints to the building manager, little was done and her health deteriorated markedly.

As a result of a very significant settlement negotiated by the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, her former landlord has promised to protect the future rights of thousands of other tenant households in buildings operated by the landlord across the Greater Toronto Area.

In a signed statement, the landlord expressed “deep and sincere regret for the significant distress and exacerbation of [her] medical conditions” and acknowledged that they should have done things very differently, including meeting with her in person and “giving more serious consideration to transferring you to another available unit.”

The Centre negotiated an agreement to have the landlord to do the following within six months:

  • Develop and implement a disability accommodation policy at all their subsidized buildings, including specific requirements that:
    • the policy provide a procedure to make and to respond to accommodation requests;
    • all communications be timely and respectful;
    • the landlord is required to pursue additional information if necessary to clarify an accommodation request;
    • the decisions of management be communicated in writing, with reasons, if the request is denied in whole or in part.
  • Notify all tenants of the new disability accommodation policy;
  • Require all managers to take human rights training;
  • Make a donation to the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario.

Landlord to develop human rights and disability policy

The Centre represented a woman who had a number of physical disabilities. She had lived in the same building for over 10 years.  Shortly after a new owner took over the building, the building manager began swearing at her and harassing her.  The harassment explicitly targeted her as a disabled person and a woman.   

After a medical emergency in which the tenant was injured in a fall in the stairwell and had to be rushed to the hospital, the owners tried to evict her through the Landlord and Tenant Board.  The tenant filed a human rights application on the basis that the landlord was treating her unfairly because of her disabilities.

At the first day of the human rights hearing, the Centre negotiated an agreement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the discrimination;
  • Human rights training for the landlord;
  • Development of a new policy on accommodating tenants with disabilities, to be posted in the building.

Housing/disability – common areas must be accessible

A woman who uses a wheelchair was unable to gain access to her condominium’s pool area. As part of the mediated settlement, the property manager agreed to install a ramp in the area and complete human rights training.


Housing/disability

A man lived in an accessible unit in a non-profit housing development. He requested a variety of modifications to his unit, the common areas, and all of his requests were refused. The housing provider said they did not have the funds. The housing provider agreed to provide a range of physical improvements to his unit, the building, and they would implement a policy within 6 months for dealing with accommodation requests. They were also going to develop procedures so that future requests will be responded to within 30 days by a member of senior management. The policy will be posted on the website and accommodation request forms will be available in the building offices. The staff was to receive human rights training within 12 months.


Housing/race – landlord has obligations with respect to other tenants

A tenant was verbally harassed in the laundry room on the basis of her race by another tenant. She complained to the building manager who said she could do nothing. The manager agreed to complete human rights training and post a copy of the Human Rights Code in the apartment laundry room. The other tenant also agreed to take training.


Housing/sex - gender identity

A woman who had transitioned from a man was searching for housing. Through a non-profit housing service, she found a place to live, but insisted that she be transferred to a woman-only building. The property manager disclosed her status to other people living in the building and the applicant felt very unsafe and targeted. The non-profit housing service agreed to revise its training protocol to prioritize transgender and lesbian, gay, bisexual issues training. They also agreed that all new housing providers seeking referrals from the service must receive this training. In addition, they must receive such training every 18 months.


More settlements in the area of services

“Are you a terrorist?”

A young man originally from Libya went to a bank to open an account. The bank teller asked a range of questions about his possible involvement in terrorist activities. He asked to see the form that contained the questions, but was refused. The teller apologized, but said that she had to ask these questions because he is from the Middle East.

When questioned, the teller denied that she had asked if he or his siblings were terrorists. The bank stated that these questions were mandatory and required by the federal Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • A letter of apology.

School will be more inclusive of nine year old fully on trips and at school

A nine year-old student in grade 4 at elementary school has multiple disabilities including an inability to walk or speak. During a school ski trip he was made to stay in his wheel chair all day even though he is capable of using his upper body strength to get around.

The Centre negotiated a settlement that included:

  • Financial compensation for the right to be free from discrimination;
  • The Board agreed to the following accommodations:
    • The Board will undertake to accommodate him pursuant to the Individual Education Plan (IEP).
    • The Board will undertake to schedule a transition meeting before the start of each school year with his teacher for the next year.
    • The Board will provide vocabulary pertaining to the unit of study in a timely manner.
    • The Board will try to ensure that he is provided with an opportunity to engage in physical activities during recess and lunch.
    • The Board agreed to ensure that all future trips meet the Board’s policy on inclusion, including overnight trips. The parties agree to communicate in advance of any outing to allow for his accommodation.

Centre intervenes to ensure woman can attend conference with ASL interpreters

A woman contacted the Centre a few days before she was to attend an all-day conference put on by a human resources organization. She had requested ASL interpretation and that the interpreters come from an agency of her choice. The conference organizers came back to her saying that they were going to provide CART services (captioning) instead. The CART services would not have enabled her to participate equally at the conference. The Centre contacted the organization and within a day and a half they agreed to pay for the ASL interpretation.


Police service to implement video interpretation services for deaf and hard of hearing residents

A man who is deaf and communicates through ASL had a number of interactions with a police detachment. He was not provided with interpretation services.

The Centre negotiated an agreement with the police service which included:

  • Implementation of Video Remote Interpreting Service (VRI) Technology;
  • Training for staff on the accommodation of individuals who are deaf and anti-audism*. The police service will work with the Canadian Hearing Society to provide the training;
  • Implementation of a new standard operating procedure to address the accommodation of deaf individuals;
  • Updating of “shift briefing materials” relating to working with members of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

*Understanding the unique barriers faced by deaf or hard of hearing people is essential in creating an inclusive environment. For more information, see the Canadian Hearing Society’s web site at: Discrimination and Audism.


Baby on the way and father needs interpreter

The Centre was contacted by a woman who was due to give birth. Her partner is deaf and wanted to be with her during her labour and delivery. The couple requested an ASL interpreter and the hospital refused.

The Centre negotiated interpretation services with the hospital in time for the birth.


Services/disability – accessible public meetings

A speaker required sign language interpretation for a presentation, but the facility said they did not have enough notice and that it might violate some of their union’s policies.

The organization agreed to:

  • provide sign language interpretation and real time captioning at all forums and public meetings they initiate
  • develop a referral list of ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters and real time captioners which will be available for all staff responsible for organizing public meetings
  • include the symbols for ASL and real-time on all advertising materials for public meetings
  • develop a human rights policy for providing service and for employees including their obligations under the Code, the right to equal treatment without discrimination or harassment on the basis of any Code ground, adverse effect discrimination, the principle of accommodation and the obligation to provide accommodation to the point of undue hardship, and procedures for how to deal with accommodation request and how to implement accommodation;
  • create a complaints procedure for members of the public and employees who feel they have been discriminated against under the Code;
  • create a procedure for how they will respond to such complaints; and,
  • staff training on employees’ obligations and rights under the Code.

Services/disability – equal access

A gym refused to provide ASL to a person who is deaf. The manager agreed to complete human rights training and agreed to provide interpretation for any programs offered at any of their locations.


Services/disability – service animals

A man with a service dog was refused service by an individual taxi driver. The company agreed to complete human rights training for all employees, a human rights policy was to be developed with third party assistance which will include information about accommodation of both employees and customers.


Services/disability – policing

The Applicant was a man who is deaf and uses ASL and ASL-English interpreters for his interactions with the public. After a dispute with his (hearing) neighbours, he was arrested along with his neighbour. On the way to the station and at the station, the Applicant repeatedly requested an ASL Interpreter. None was provided while he was held at the station for over 3 hours. He was brought into an interrogation room and again requested an interpreter, but was instead given documents to sign. He was not told when an interpreter would be available, or if they were making efforts to locate one. His parents had also arrived at the station and were offering to help communicate, but the officer refused to allow this. He signed the papers and was released. The police service agreed to implement a monitoring system in which all occurrences involving deaf persons are reviewed. Regular and updated training will be provided to staff in order to better serve the needs of the deaf community.


Services/disability – all franchises to receive training

A store owner refused to allow a young woman using a wheelchair into his store, arguing that it was too small and the wheelchair would be disruptive.

The store owner agreed to complete the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights 101 and the franchisor agreed to amend its training manual to highlight for franchisees the importance of complying with the Human Rights Code when dealing with customers.


Services/disability - education

A college student was not being properly accommodated and staff were engaging in stereotypes about her ability to participate and her capabilities.

The college agreed to individualized accommodation. The college agreed to epilepsy awareness training by an epilepsy advocacy organization for all instructors at the school, to be repeated annually. The college retained an epilepsy advocacy organization to develop a college-wide seizure response plan.


Services/race – racial profiling

A racialized family was enjoying a recreational facility. One of their children began playing a radio and when they were asked to, they turned it off with an apology. A complaint was also made to staff at the facility, whereupon the family was told to leave the park and escorted out by police. The family felt it was because of racial profiling.

The facility agreed to retain a community based organization to review and give input regarding training for racism, racial profiling, and cross-cultural communication issues. This training will be given to all staff as a pilot with a view to implementing in other similar recreational facilities in the same jurisdiction.


Services/Race, Colour, Ancestry, Place of Origin, Ethnic Origin, Creed, Reprisal

A Muslim man who observes a halal diet had advised correctional staff of this requirement and made it clear that under no circumstances could he eat pork or any food that contained pork. He reported that his dietary restrictions were the target of mockery and disrespect. There were several incidents where he was served pork or a food with pork product in or on it. There were incidents where the cook, the individually named respondent, told him he had put pork juice on his food, or dangled pork in his face in a taunting manner.

The superintendent agreed to hold a training session for the kitchen staff on the accommodation of special diets for religious reasons.


Services/ Race, Colour, Ancestry, Place of Origin, Citizenship, Ethnic Origin

The applicant went to a convenience store in the early hours of the morning. He had been there a number of times before. There were two male employees in the store at the time. One of the employees was familiar with the Applicant, but the other employee was new. The new employee was watching him and following him around the store. The Applicant picked up the items he wanted and went to the cashier. The new employee accused him of stealing. He turned out his pockets in front of the store camera to show he did not take anything.

The employee called him a n------. After the n-word was used, the Applicant threw a plastic bottle towards the employee but missed him. The new employee called the police and told the Applicant he would be going to jail and “you people are criminals to the police.” When the police arrived he was searched and put in a police car.

The store agreed to:

  • Amend their internal employee agreement to reflect language in the Human Rights Code
  • Educate staff to observe and uphold the Code in the treatment of customers, particularly recognizing the dignity and worth of everyone
  • All new employees in any store in Ontario will sign the amended agreement
  • All new employees in Ontario shall be provided with a copy of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (Commission’s) Code card
  • The new agreement will be circulated to all existing employees in Ontario

Services/race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship and ethnic origin – company also responsible for conduct of volunteers

A woman and her daughter were speaking in their mother tongue went to a retail store that had a number of volunteer staff. One of the staff people told her that she should speak English and made many derogatory comments; including referring to her and her family as “you people” and telling them that they were not welcome at the store. The woman complained to the on-site supervisor and the head office and received no response.

The store agreed to develop a human rights policy. The policy was to be included in their volunteer handbook and volunteers will receive training on the policy. The policy will include human rights issues specific to newcomers and a complaints process. They were to post notices about the policy and the complaints process in the store.


Services/sex - breastfeeding

A woman was shopping in a women’s clothing store when she sat down to breast feed her child. One of the employees told her she could not do that in public. The woman said it was a perfectly natural thing to do and refused to move into a dressing room as requested.

The store agreed to send an email to all staff across Canada reminding them of their obligations under the Human Rights Code and a woman’s right to breast feed. They also agreed to provide a comfortable nursing environment in each store and post a notice about accommodation under the Human Rights Code in every store.


Services/sex - gender identity

A transsexual woman was denied access to the women’s washroom at a shopping mall by three security guards. She tried to show them a letter from a gender identity clinic, which she carries at all times, and a page from the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s discussion paper “Towards a Commission Policy on Gender Identity” relating to gender-segregated services and facilities. They refused to listen to her. They escorted her out of the building and banned her from re-entering.

The security company agreed to:

  • Training for all of its security guards across province about use of gender segregated washrooms by transsexual individuals within six months
  • Training for all security guards at that particular mall about use of gender segregated washrooms by transsexual individuals within seven days of the mediation ending
  • Establish a protocol for situations where a security guard has concerns about an individual’s self-identification

Services/sex - transgender

A student who was living as a male at school had a range of difficulties with staff at school about his relationships, washroom facilities, school trips, etc. The experiences created a great deal of stress and difficulty for him throughout high school.

The school district created a comprehensive range of policies for the accommodation of transgendered youth, including detailed policies about: need-to-know, student records, field trips and washroom facilities. There was also going to be extensive staff training to identify and confront transphobia in each school.


Services/sexual orientation

A man called to book a motel room and was told there were vacancies. When he and his partner entered the lobby to pay, the owner said that she did not have a room for two men. They were refused service.

The motel owner agreed to post a copy of the Code in lobby of motel and receive training.


Services/disability - education

A student at a college approached the professor at the end of a class to tell her that he is bi-polar and may need accommodations during the year. The professor responded by saying that she could tell he was on some type of medication. The remark, which was not intended to discriminate, had a devastating impact on the already distressed student, causing him to leave the class and ultimately the college.

The college agreed to include information relating the Code and internal and external mechanisms to all new students in their orientation package. All staff would attend anti-stigma training.