Protection of Human Rights Policy
Definitions and Responsibilities
Prohibited Grounds (Ontario Human Rights Code)
Every person has a right to freedom from discrimination in the areas of:
- services, goods and facilities
- the occupancy of accommodation contracts
- membership in vocational associations and trade unions
On the grounds of:
- place of origin
- ethnic origin
- creed (religion)
- sexual orientation
- handicap (disability)
- age (18‑65 years in employment, 16 years and over in accommodation; 18 years and over in the other areas)
- marital status (includes cohabitation, widowhood, separation)
- family status (parent‑child relationship)
- same sex partnership status
- the receipt of public assistance (in accommodation only)
- record of offences (provincial offences, pardoned federal offences ‑ in employment only)
Action(s) or behaviour(s) that results in the unfavourable or adverse treatment or preferential treatment related to the prohibited grounds. Discrimination can be direct (by a person acting on his or her own behalf), indirect (carried out through another person), constructive (systemic discrimination) or by association.
A course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. For the purpose of this policy, harassment may include comment or conduct linked to the prohibited grounds initiated by one person towards another, which cause humiliation, offence or embarrassment. Single acts of sufficient severity may constitute harassment.
- Harassment is a form of discrimination. It is prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Code. It is against the law.
- Harassment is concerned with the impact of behaviour, not the intent.
- Harassment is offensive, degrading and threatening. In its most extreme forms (sexual touching, for example), harassment can be an offence under Canada's Criminal Code.
- There are times when a person causing the harassment is unaware of the impact of his or her behaviour. If you are able to make that person aware of your discomfort, he or she should cease acting in that manner.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to:
- inappropriate or insulting remarks, gestures, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about a person's racial or ethnic background, colour, place of birth, citizenship, ancestry, creed, or disability
- unwanted questions or comments about an employee's or a student's private life
- posting or display of materials, including by electronic means, articles, or graffiti, etc. which may cause humiliation, offence or embarrassment on Code prohibited grounds
- One or a series of comments or conduct of a gender‑related or sexual nature that is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile, or inappropriate.
- Examples include gestures, remarks, jokes, slurs, taunting, innuendo, threats, unwanted physical or sexual contact, invitations, leering, the display of sexually offensive material, solicitation, demands, penalties related to sexual orientation, marital or family status, unwanted attention, implied or expressed promise of reward or benefit in return for sexual favours, implied or expressed threat or act of reprisal if sexual favours are not given.
Hostile or Poisoned Environment
Any action or behaviour such as insults, jokes or posting/displaying of offensive material, including by electronic means, relating to one of the prohibited grounds, though not necessarily directed at anyone in particular, that has the effect of creating or maintaining an offensive, or intimidating climate to work or study. Examples include posting offensive cartoons or signs or distribution of materials on the internet.
Policies, practices, procedures, actions or inactions, that appear neutral but have an adverse impact associated with one of the prohibited grounds.
All members of the college community share responsibility for creating and maintaining a working and learning environment free from discrimination and harassment. This means not engaging in, allowing, condoning or ignoring behaviour contrary to this policy. This policy is not meant to interfere with mutually acceptable social interactions that are an important part of a comfortable working and education environment.
The Ontario Human Rights Code provides that a person (such as a manager *) who has the authority to prevent or discourage harassment and discrimination may be held responsible for failing to do so. All managers therefore have a particular duty to act to deal with such incidents when they ought reasonably to have known that there is an issue to address. This duty includes the obligation to be familiar with and uphold this policy and its procedures. Please see the specific responsibilities of managers section.
* In academic institutions, faculty and technologists are in a position of authority and are considered to have the same responsibility to prevent or discourage harassment and discrimination.