This past December the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a new and comprehensive 173 page Updated Policy on Preventing Discrimination based on Creed to replace its earlier Policy that was first published in 1996. The Commission stated that given the significant demographic changes in Ontario, it has been working on a new policy since 2012. The aim of the policy is to highlight how discrimination on the basis of Creed can be avoided in broader Ontario society which is increasingly more diverse.
Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of Religious Observances
A small vegetable and herb business in Ontario recently ran afoul of the Ontario Human Rights Code (“Code”) because it blindly adhered to its attendance policy and failed to consider any alternatives to an employee’s request for a day off work to observe a religious holiday because it interfered with its business demands. The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal’s (“OHRT”) decision in H.T. v. ES Holdings Inc. o/a Country Herbs, 2015 HRTO 1067, is a reminder to small and large business alike to use a thoughtful analysis in meeting both the “procedural” and “substantive” duty to accommodate the legitimate religious needs of their employees.
In this case, Country Herbs operated a small vegetable and herb business that supplied vegetables and herbs to customers in Toronto. Country Herbs busiest days were Monday to replenish stock from the prior weekend and Thursdays to stock for the upcoming weekend. Country Herbs has 23 … Continue reading “HRTO concludes teenage Mennonites discriminated against when fired for observing a religious holiday”
The Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a release recently to notify the public about an upcoming update to its policy on creed and accommodation of religious observances. The policy was created 15 years ago and is now due to be reviewed and amended to reflect the current demographics in Ontario. Public feedback is being collected to inform the new policy - yes, this means you.