The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has released a new policy that aims to provide user-friendly guidance on how to define, assess, handle and resolve human rights issues related to mental health and addiction disabilities.

It says the Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions will help the OHRC be proactive and avoid human rights complaints.

In Ontario, organizations have a legal duty to prevent and respond to violations of the Human Rights Code. Employers, housing providers and service providers must make sure they respect the human rights of people with mental health or addiction disabilities by maintaining accessible and inclusive environments that are free from discrimination and harassment.

The policy addresses the following:

  • different forms of discrimination;
  • rights at work, in rental housing and when receiving services;
  • organizations’ responsibilities to prevent and eliminate discrimination;
  • how to create environments that are inclusive and free from discrimination; and
  • how the duty to accommodate applies to people with mental health or addiction disabilities.

“Fear, ignorance and a lack of understanding have led to unequal access to opportunities for people with mental health or addiction disabilities in our society,” says Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the OHRC. “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.”

The policy is available on the OHRC’s website.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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