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Ontario Human Rights Code

Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with how a probation period is an opportunity to demonstrate skills, an employer’s failure to prevent workplace harassment. and a Human Rights Tribunal decision to reinstate a terminated employee after the employer failed to accommodate.


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The legality of unpaid internships in Ontario

young people holding up letters to spell "internships"

We’re pleased to present lawyer Andrew Langille of Youth and Work on what the law in Ontario says about unpaid internships. Here, Andrew focuses on the impact of unpaid internships on interns themselves, but organizations and businesses that use or hope to use unpaid interns must pay attention. It is crucial to know whether your intern is legally an intern (and therefore not subject to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act), or actually an employee. And the answer might surprise you.


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The enforceability of termination provisions within contracts of employment


The employment relationship is a contractual one whether or not a contract of employment was signed. Contracts can be express or implied contracts, i.e., you agree to work and I agree to pay you. Verbal bargains are nearly always upheld as long as those implied contracts are governed by particular employment standards and obligations established by the common law.


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Is the flu a disability?

Is the flu, etc., covered by human rights law and other Canadian legislation like Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?


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When statutory holidays are also religious holidays

Every year we get comments from subscribers around the Christmas and Good Friday holidays about why Canada still uses these Christian religious holidays as statutory (public) holidays when they are trying to promote an image of multiculturalism. I am anticipating the same comments as Good Friday approaches…


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Human rights and the Oscars

Something happened at the Academy Awards Sunday night that caught my eye and got me thinking about our current attitudes about equality and racism and human rights in general. I was supposed to write this week about the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act as per my last post. But the Oscars are much more interesting, don’t ya think?


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How to comply with two laws at the same time

Learning the little bit of information contained herein may very well prevent your organization from litigating a very expensive legal action.


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Human Rights Tribunal barred from hearing application: no forum-shopping allowed

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal recently examined an application before it and an earlier statement of claim made in court by the same person, and concluded that the claims were virtually identical. They were based on the same facts, made the same allegations and sought similar remedies…


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Accessibility compliance: is accommodation enough?

I am going to tell you a story that will test your knowledge of your current legal responsibilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code. For those readers who pass the test, congratulations, you are providing all your customers with the respect they deserve and have sufficient knowledge to insulate your organization from legal liability. For those of you who don’t pass, well, we’ll give you another chance and point you in the direction of some helpful resources to help you get on track!


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AODA: Protect your organization through documentation

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service require employers with 20 or more employees to document policies. The Integrated Accessibility Standards require employers to document policies and multi-year accessibility plans if they have 50 or more employees. So smaller organizations might breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they don’t have to document and keep track of their accessibility policies and plans under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).


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New policy regarding sexual and gender-based harassment

On March 8, 2011, just in time for International Women’s Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a new policy regarding sexual and gender-based harassment. It has been noted that although great strides have been made for women in the past hundred years, there is still a long way to go to eliminate the barriers women face. The new policy deals mainly with sexual harassment in employment, housing and education.


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Overt racism in the workplace – it’s still here

I think most people recognize that racism—even overt racism—is still a factor in Canadian culture, but these strategy and news item make it clear: we’ve come a long way and can now openly say that racism exists and is something we want to eliminate; but we have also a long way to go yet before the Canadian dream of a multiculturally diverse society moves beyond mere tolerance toward true acceptance and equality.


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Disclosing persons with a history of violence

The Ontario Occupational Health and safety Act violence and harassment prevention provisions (Bill 168) require employers to provide information, including personal information, about a person with a history of violent behaviour if:


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What are you dressed up as?

Halloween costumes often provoke this question in people and I wonder why. We seem to have a strong need to label or categorize people. We even want to do this on festive occasions when the whole point is to have fun!


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Andrew Lawson is happy to be aboard

I am honoured to have this opportunity to share with you my insights and ideas in the important and ever-changing area of workplace human rights and occupational health & safety. Looking forward to a lively and interactive online exchange!


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