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Attorney General’s report on the Ontario Human Rights Review, 2012 Part 1

Image: www.ohrc.on.ca

The Attorney General of Ontario released a report last week on the Ontario Human Rights Review for 2012. While both the Attorney General and the Ontario Human Rights Commission both function within the greater Ontario government, this review was created independently of government agency, with the aim to examine how the current system performs toward the highest goals to maintain justice, transparency, timeliness, and works against systemic discrimination.

The Tribunal, the Commission, and the newly-created Human Rights Legal Support Centre make up a functioning triumvirate for legislative Human Rights in Ontario. In 2008, a widespread re-organization of the legislative bodies took place to improve the efficiency of the system.

Looking at a track record for cases passed between the Commission and the Tribunal, the Attorney General also assessed the efficacy of the Centre, which was formed to provide legal assistance and support for people applying cases to the other two branches. It should be noted that the Centre has allowed for 85 percent of cases to reach resolution through mediation, before having to go to the Tribunal for a formal hearing, which speaks to the new approach of involving the subjects of cases more interactively in their cases, and moving away from a more antagonistic approach. It was thus recommended that the Centre’s funding receive a significant increase to better respond to the large number of cases it receives.

Without reducing the observations to a single point, it can be said that the report found that these three branches would function better if there were on process dialogue between them. Making clear that the system as a whole functions well, and that the recommendations made were minor, they do need attention for the Ontario human rights system to move on to what he calls “the next level” of public service. The speed and smoothness of applications was suggested to increase – this finding applied to all three branches.

The Attorney General pointed out that while most people do not engage with Ontario Human Rights at the case-level, the Code and its working organizations exist for everyone in Ontario, and everyone benefits from their existence and activities.

Do you feel you have benefited directly or indirectly from the new Ontario Human Rights system? Why or why not?

In the second part of this post that will be published next Monday, I will speak of conclusion of the report as it relates to employment in the private sector.

Lauren Bride
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Lauren Bride

Writer and editor at Hudson's Bay Company
Lauren Bride, B.A. (English Literature / Philosophy) is a writer, copywriter, and editor, working in both fiction and nonfiction. She has done extensive writing and editing for commercial, private, and government clients, as well as story editing and fiction publication. Lauren also volunteers with the not for profit group NABORS (Toronto). Read more
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