Human Rights and COVID-19

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments introduced new laws and emergency measures which may affect your rights under the Human Rights Code.

  • Have you been laid off because you are in a high-risk category for COVID-19?
  • Are you wondering how to make the request to work from home to protect a person in your household in a high-risk category?
  • Has your landlord threatened to evict you because he/she thinks someone in your household is infected with COVID-19?
  • Have you been denied access to needed medical treatment due to restrictions on services related to COVID-19?

If you have any inquiries regarding your human rights and the COVID-19 pandemic, call us and we will provide you with free legal advice about your situation.

The Impacts of COVID-19

The Ontario Human Rights Code states that you cannot be treated unfairly in any social area based on any ground. For example, being discriminated against or harassed in your place of employment, housing or and public service. The Code also prohibits discrimination on certain grounds such as age, disability, race, place of origin, ancestry, ethnic origin, and/or family status.

These are unprecedented times and it is more important than ever that human rights values and principles be observed and enforced. Living in a global COVID-19 pandemic means everything is changing quickly, impacting a wide range of human rights legal issues. The Code’s fundamental obligations must be respected and upheld.

The response to COVID-19 to date has seen far reaching requirements and rules that have affected aspects of our community life, including the workplace, housing and public services like restaurants, public transportation, medical services and schools. Other requirements and rules may also be adopted by the public and private sectors since responses to the COVID-19 outbreak continue to evolve and change.

In some cases, there are Code-based human rights concerns. Many Code issues during the pandemic include employment-related health and safety concerns for workers. We have heard of situations where workers were suspected of having COVID-19 simply because of their race, place of origin or disability. Other Code issues may include accommodations for workers with childcare responsibilities who are working at home. These situations may involve the Code ground of family status. Or perhaps, the services you are used to receiving may be changing or being limited.

Whatever the case, we at the Human Rights Legal Support Centre can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under the Code.

More Resources

You can find out more about the Centre’s response to the Code and COVID-19 here.

For more information about the Code and COVID-19, please refer to the following: