Human Rights

Canada and Ontario have recognized the inherent right of all individuals to be free from discrimination. Kelly & Co. recognizes that right and has advised individuals, companies, employers and employees about their rights and obligations pursuant to human rights legislation.

Kelly & Co. has the resources and know-how to provide comprehensive legal advice about all of your human rights issues, including, human resources counselling and training, policy and handbook audits, agreement drafting, discrimination and harassment in the workplace issues, failure to accommodate and pay equity. Whether you're being proactive and want to know your rights, whether you want to minimize your risk, or whether you have an issue that requires seasoned advocacy, Kelly & Co.'s goal is to find a cost-effective way of resolving your problem.

The following enumerated grounds are protected pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation.

In order to learn more about your rights and obligations, please contact our firm to make an appointment.

The workplace is often a dynamic environment where all different kinds of individuals from diverse backgrounds work together. While this reflects the Canadian landscape, it doesn't always reflect Canadian values. Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code under all grounds, including sex, religion, race and family status. If you're an employee and believe that you or a co-worker have been discriminated against on a ground enumerated pursuant to the Code, or if you're an employer and want to protect your business and your employees, please don't hesitate to contact our office for more information.

Human rights violations are not limited to employment situations. The Ontario Human Rights Code protects every person in Ontario from discrimination in a variety of other areas including the receipt of services, accommodation, contracts and with respect to any vocational association, such as a trade union or self-governing profession.

Human rights violations are not always overt: they can be subtle questions or decisions that at first glance appear reasonable, but in practice may have the effect of discriminating against you or someone you know. This is called systemic, or institutional discrimination. Systemic discrimination is common in workplace policies, procedures and attitudes that result in systemic discrimination in hiring, promotion, retention and testing, and can include

  • attendance management policies and blanket policies that bar persons with certain disabilities from being appointed to specified positions (see Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. v. National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers of Canada (CAW-Canada), Local 111, 2010 BCCA (CanLII) and Canada (Attorney General) v. Green, [2004] 4 F.C. 629);
  • the use of minimum income criteria or rent-to-income ratios by landlords in assessing applications for tenancy (Kearney v. Bramalea Ltd. (No.2) (1998), 34 C.H.R.R. d/1 (Ont. Bd. Inq.);
  • overrepresentation of First Nations peoples in correctional institutes and sentencing (R. v. Gladue, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 688).

Please contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your human rights issue with one of our lawyers.