Human Rights: What does it mean?

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As mentioned in the introductory article last newsletter, the Ontario Human Rights Code takes priority over other legislation and documents. (Below the federal Criminal Code and the Constitution and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and relevant court rulings, of course.)  This means education of everyone is essential, and that human rights must be considered in every decision such as member selection, occupancy, eviction, hiring, etc.

The Board, Staff and Members of the coop should know the grounds: i.e. what are human rights and what are nice-to-haves?  Consult the Human Rights Code or a lawyer when in doubt.

The Board, Staff and Members of the coop should know how to respond to requests for accommodation:

  • Needs of persons with disabilities must be accommodated in the manner that most respects their dignity, to the point of undue hardship;
  • Taking responsibility and showing willingness to explore solutions is a key part of treating people respectfully and with dignity;
  • Maintain confidentiality;
  • Limit requests for info from requester to nature of limitation or restriction;
  • Bear costs of getting medical info, documents, etc;
  • Grant accommodation in a timely manner;
  • Keep notes on the process – request and action taken.

On the next page are four case studies, like the rest of this series of articles taken from a presentation at CHASEO by Celia Chandler of Iler Campbell LLP in May 2016.  As you read each one, think about what are the human rights issues, and what should the Board do?

(Article for the Fall 2016 newsletter, in case you read this out of context.)