In the province of Ontario, the principles of human rights are upheld through two pivotal legislations: Ontario’s Human Rights Code, referred to as “the Code,” and the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). The applicability of these legal frameworks hinges upon whether an individual falls under provincial or federal regulation. Both the Code and the CHRA share a common goal—to ensure that all individuals enjoy equitable rights and opportunities in various societal domains, encompassing employment, housing, and services. These laws act as a safeguard, protecting individuals from harassment and discrimination rooted in specific protected grounds, which include age, disability, race, and origin, among others.

However, it’s imperative to understand that unfair treatment not founded on a protected ground may not necessarily be classified as discrimination under these statutes.

Determining Your Human Rights Case

To ascertain whether you have a valid human rights case in Ontario, it is crucial to evaluate whether your human rights have been infringed upon based on a protected ground within an area governed by the relevant legislation. Begin by scrutinizing the precise grounds that have been violated.

Grasping the Concept of Discrimination

Discrimination is any action or decision that leads to unjust or adverse treatment of an individual or a group on the basis of a protected ground. Acts rooted in prohibited grounds encompass various forms, such as harassment, the absence of necessary accommodations in employment, and more. To gauge if harassment has occurred, consider whether the action:

  • Inflicts physical or verbal offense or humiliation.
  • Poses threats or intimidation.
  • Involves unwelcome comments or jests concerning one’s race, religion, sex, age, disability, and so forth.
  • Comprises unnecessary physical contact, which includes touching, patting, pinching, or even physical aggression, which may escalate to assault.

Employers bear the responsibility to provide accommodation, meaning they must take measures to enable individuals to work, up to the point where it becomes unreasonably burdensome. This includes facilitating maternity leave for pregnant employees, allowing for religious holiday observance, and modifying job duties to accommodate physical or mental disabilities when necessary.

Taking Action When Your Human Rights Are Violated

Addressing Violations in Ontario

If you believe that your rights have been violated within your workplace, the initial step is to engage in a dialogue with your employer to address the issue or the discrimination that has transpired. In many instances, employers can resolve such matters internally without the necessity of involving external authorities. However, if your employer is unresponsive or the situation remains unresolved, the subsequent course of action often entails seeking legal counsel to explore your available options.

Jurisdiction Considerations

It is of paramount importance to determine whether your case falls under federal or provincial jurisdiction.

  • Provincial Jurisdiction: If your circumstances fall within the ambit of provincial jurisdiction, you have the option to file a formal complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). Upon submission, the tribunal reviews your complaint to determine whether your rights have indeed been infringed upon. It’s noteworthy that most HRTO applications must be filed within one year of the incident.
  • Federal Jurisdiction: In cases governed by federal jurisdiction (e.g., chartered banks, airlines, etc.), you can initiate a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. This body possesses the authority to investigate the complaint and, if applicable, refer the case to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) for a hearing. The CHRT conducts hearings, where witnesses and other evidence are presented, ultimately leading to a determination on whether discrimination has occurred.

Potential Avenues for Redress

The remedies provided by the tribunal can assume various forms, which may encompass:

  • Monetary Compensation: This includes potential damages and non-monetary remedies, such as a positive letter of reference or career advancement.
  • Public Interest Remedies: These may involve actions like making charitable donations or the mandatory posting of information about the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in the workplace.

It is advisable to consult with a legal professional who can offer guidance in determining whether discrimination has transpired and assist in drafting the necessary application to the appropriate tribunal.

A Human Rights Lawyer Can Help Assess the Merits of Your Case

When faced with potential human rights violations, seeking the guidance of a qualified human rights lawyer is a crucial step. Human rights lawyers are legal professionals with specialized expertise in this complex field of law. They play a pivotal role in evaluating and guiding individuals through the process of determining if there is a legitimate human rights case. Here are ways in which a human rights lawyer can be instrumental:

1. Legal Knowledge and Analysis

Human rights lawyers possess a deep understanding of the intricacies of human rights laws and their application. They can provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your situation, identifying whether it aligns with the criteria for a human rights case. They will scrutinize the facts and circumstances to assess whether the actions taken against you indeed amount to discrimination or harassment based on a protected ground. This initial legal analysis is crucial in determining the merits of your case.

2. Knowledge of Relevant Laws and Regulations

Human rights lawyers are well-versed in both provincial and federal human rights legislation, including Ontario’s Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. They can explain how these laws apply to your specific situation, helping you understand the legal framework that governs your case. This legal context is essential in establishing whether your rights have been violated and whether there is a valid claim to pursue.

3. Evaluation of Evidence and Witnesses

A human rights lawyer can assist in gathering and evaluating evidence that supports your claim. This may include witness statements, documents, and other forms of proof to substantiate your case. They can identify key witnesses and relevant evidence, strengthening your position when presenting your case before a human rights tribunal.

4. Legal Strategy Development

Based on their assessment of your case, a human rights lawyer can help develop a legal strategy tailored to your specific circumstances. They will advise you on the best course of action, which may include negotiation with the opposing party, mediation, or pursuing a formal complaint through the appropriate tribunal. Their expertise ensures that your case is approached in a manner that maximizes the chances of a favorable outcome.

In summary, consulting with a human rights lawyer is an essential step in understanding whether you have a genuine human rights case. Their experience, legal knowledge, and ability to evaluate your situation objectively are invaluable in determining the merits of your case and navigating the complex legal process effectively. If you believe your human rights have been violated, seeking legal counsel is a proactive and informed approach to seeking justice and redress.

Contact Achkar Law

If you believe your human rights have been violated and are unsure whether you have a valid case, don’t hesitate to reach out to Achkar Law. Our team of dedicated human rights lawyers is here to help. We offer confidential consultations to review your situation and determine if you have a legitimate human rights case. We’ll provide you with tailored guidance and suggest your available options.

Your rights matter, and we’re committed to helping you seek justice.

Contact Achkar Law today and let us guide you on the path to redress.

Toll-free: 1 (800) 771-7882

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