In June 2014, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released the Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions, which attempts to resolve human rights issues for those with mental health and addiction disabilities.
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The Purpose of the New Disability Policy
The OHRC’s press release noted that Canadians with mental health and addiction issues often face discrimination, stigma, harassment in the workplace, bias in housing, and adverse treatment when receiving services. This commonplace inequality is the primary reasons the OHRC felt inclined to create a new policy to address these matters.
“Fear, ignorance and a lack of understanding has led to unequal access to opportunities for people with mental health or addiction disabilities in our society. I believe people are now ready to accept that everyone must be treated equitably. I hope that this policy will become a tool for change,” explained Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the OHRC.
Areas Covered in the Human Rights Policy
The new disability policy sets the standards, guidelines, and legal rights and responsibilities for individuals, employers, housing providers, and service providers in order to ensure that all Ontarians have equal opportunity, despite any mental health or addiction disabilities.
Some of the topics the policy addresses include the following.
- Individuals’ rights in the workplace, when renting a home, and when receiving services, such as the right to be free from profiling or harassment based on mental health.
- The duty to accommodate individuals suffering from mental health disabilities or addiction.
- Possible limits on the duty to accommodate.
- Assessing whether the test for undue hardship has been met.
- Balancing the rights of someone with a mental health or addiction issue to be free from discrimination with the rights of others.
- The right to be free from discrimination within programs targeted toward people with psychosocial disabilities.
- Consent and capacity issues and how they related to the issues discussed in the policy.
- The responsibilities organizations have to prevent and eliminate discrimination.
- Ways in which organizations can create environments that don’t discriminate.
Ensuring Your Legal Rights are Upheld
As per the Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions, Ontarians have rights that cannot be infringed upon because of mental health or addictions.
“The ultimate responsibility for maintaining an environment free from discrimination and harassment rests with employers, housing providers, service providers and other responsible parties covered by the Code,” the OHRC explains. “All of society benefits when people with mental health or addiction disabilities are given equal opportunity to take part at all levels.”
If you have experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace, discuss your case with a lawyer. For a free legal consultation, call the Preszler Law Firm in Ontario. Contact us today at 800-JUSTICE® or via our online contact form to schedule a case evaluation and see how we may be of assistance to you.