Human Rights Violations, Code violation, human rights abuse

What Are Human Rights Violations?

Within Ontario, employees, contractors, and other types of workers are protected from harassment and discrimination on the basis of enumerated grounds covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code (“Code”). 


These enumerated grounds may include but are not limited to the following: 


  • Citizenship
  • Race
  • Place of origin
  • Ethnic origin
  • Colour
  • Ancestry
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Creed
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender expression


The above protection applies to many different scenarios, including but not limited to the employment context, and in the provision of services and even social housing. 


Whenever there is a violation of the Code, the party inflicted with the discrimination and/or harassment may file an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.  


While anyone can file a human rights application, even without legal representation, the success of the application will depend on whether the discrimination and/or harassment can be proven. To assess the strength of a claim, it may be prudent to retain legal counsel. 


What constitutes a Code violation? 


Generally, the Code will be violated when one or more of the protected grounds have been used as a basis to discriminate or harass someone within one or more of the protected social areas. These areas include:


  • Housing
  • Contracts
  • Employment
  • Goods and services
  • Facilities
  • Membership in a union, trade, or professional association


As an example, an individual denied access to a gym because of a disability may constitute discrimination on the basis of disability. 

In order to prove that a Code violation has occurred, there is a burden of proof on every applicant to make their case. 


What is the burden of proof?


In a human rights claim and application, the standard of proof that must be met is the balance of probabilities. For a human rights application to succeed, the applicant must show that it is more likely than not that the human rights abuse being alleged has occurred. 


If an applicant is able to prove that Code violations occurred, then the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario may award the applicant numerous remedies and damages. 


What other alternatives are available for human rights abuse?


Before starting any human rights proceeding, it is always helpful to have a lawyer help you send a demand letter. 


A demand letter may be used to put an employer on notice regarding an incident of human rights abuse. A demand letter is an important first step for claimants who would like to attempt negotiation before a lawsuit.


Before making a human rights application, it may be prudent to first seek legal advice on the strengths or merits of your case. 


Contact us:


If you are unsure about the merits or strength of the case of your human right, our team of experienced employment and human rights lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Please contact us, either by phone at 1-800-771-7882 or by email at [email protected], as we are always happy to assist.

If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support with a same-day response, visit our Chief Legal Officer Program page for our strategic solutions.