Human Rights and Services
Ontario’s Human Rights Code and goods services and facilities: do you think you have been discriminated against or harassed when getting services?
This is general information only. It is not legal advice about your situation.
You have the right to equal treatment and freedom from harassment when buying a product, getting a service, or using a building or facility that is open to the public. This includes public transit, hospitals, schools, public washrooms, police services and privately-owned services or facilities, such as theatres or restaurants.
Unfair treatment must be linked to a ground in the Code. For example, a theatre or community centre has to be accessible to you if you use a wheelchair or other mobility device.
Yes. Human rights is about equality, and equality does not mean always treating everyone the same way. In this case, the school may have an obligation to “accommodate” your daughter’s disability by providing her with extra time. You may have to provide the school with a note from your daughter’s doctor.
You may want to file a human rights application against the restaurant. The restaurant may have discriminated against you on the basis of your disability. If you file an application, the Tribunal will want to know exactly what happened, what the restaurant staff person said to you and whether you spoke to the manager.
It could be that the security service discriminated against your son on the basis of race in the area of services. In this kind of a situation, it could be that the security guard engaged in what is called “racial profiling.” The Commission defines racial profiling as “any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin, or a combination of these, rather than on a reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment.”
No. A business, landlord, employer or professional association cannot rely on “customer preference” to exclude you.
Amendments to Ontario’s Human Rights Code in 2012 added gender identity and gender expression to the prohibited grounds of discrimination.