Balancing Competing Human Rights - Ontario Human Rights ...

On June 30, 2008, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006 came into effect, changing the human rights system in ... Shared Citizenship as the Context for Competing Human. Rights Claims: ... EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ..... [Online] Available at:.
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A PUBLICATION OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR CANADIAN STUDIES

VOLUME 8:3 SUMMER 2010

The new mandate of the Ontario Human Rights Commission On June 30, 2008, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006 came into effect, changing the human rights system in Ontario. As part of this, the mandate of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has changed. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) no longer accepts complaints of discrimination. All new applications complaining about discrimination are now filed directly with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the HRTO). A new body, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, will offer independent human rights-related legal and support services to individuals, ranging from advice and support to legal representation. Under the new Act, the role of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in preventing discrimination and promoting and advancing human rights in Ontario is strengthened. The OHRC has been given the power to: • Expand its work in promoting a culture of human rights in the province • Conduct public inquiries • Initiate our own applications (formerly called “complaints”) • Intervene in proceedings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) • Focus on engaging in proactive measures to prevent discrimination using public education, policy development, research and analysis The OHRC has also been given broad inquiry powers. The HRTO may refer matters in the public interest to the OHRC and may ask the Commission to conduct an inquiry. We will have the power to monitor the state of human rights and report directly to the people of Ontario. The OHRC may also apply to the HRTO to state a case to the Divisional Court where it feels the HRTO decision is not consistent with OHRC policies. We will continue to be guided by the Human Rights Code in all our work. The overall spirit of the new law is that the OHRC is one part of a system for human rights alongside the HRTO and Human Rights Legal Support Centre. In some ways, the new law enhances the OHRC’s independence. We will file our annual report directly to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, instead of through the Attorney General, as we have in the past. We will have the power to monitor and report on anything related to the state of human rights in the Province of Ontario. Our power to review legislation and policies, for example, is very broad. The new law refers to our ability to consider whether legislation is inconsistent with the intent of the Code. We will have a role in dealing with “tension and conflict” and bringing people and communities together to help resolve differences. Our current role as a developer of public policy on human rights is made explicit in the new legislation, as is the way those policies can be used in issues that are before the Tribunal.

Our vision An Ontario in which everyone is valued, treated with dignity and respect, and where human rights are nurtured by us all.

Volume 8:3 SUMMER 2010

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Preface Barbara Hall 5

Editors’ Introduction Shaheen Azmi, Lorne Foster and Lesley Jacobs 6

Sharing the Sidewalk Shauna van Praagh 10

Shared Citizenship as the Context for Competing Human Rights Claims: Towards a Social Policy Framework Lorne Foster and Lesley Jacobs 14

The Right to Toleration Stephen L. Newman 17

Fair Treatment of Religious Beliefs Iain Benson 20

Contextual Equilibrium v. Conflicting Rights Errol P. Mendes 25

Legal Frameworks: The Reconciliation Model Patricia Hughes 28

The Regulation of Hate Speech under the Canadian Human Rights Act Richard Moon

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Construing Rights: Majoritarianism and the Scope of Rights Protection Emon Anver 35

Competing Rights in Claims Involving the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Lauren Bates 38

Sexual Orientation and Religion: Sorting Out Policy Conflicts Miriam Smith 42

The Intersection of Humans Rights and Proce