Disability and the Ontario Human Rights Code
Persons with disabilities may face challenges because of the physical or mental limitations. But the attitudes of other people may also create barriers. Understanding this social aspect of disability is essential.
The Ontario Human Rights Code protects the rights of persons with disabilities to equal treatment in employment, housing, goods, services, facilities, contracts and membership in trades or vocational associations. The Code provides a basic definition of “handicap” to include conditions that have developed over time, those that result from an accident, or have been present from birth. It includes physical, mental, and learning disabilities and it does not matter whether the condition is visible. For example, persons with mental disorders, sensory disabilities (such as hearing or vision limitations) and epilepsy are all protected under the Code.
Protection for persons with mental disabilities deserves special attention. These persons have the same rights as persons with any other kind of disability. They may, however, have trouble expressing themselves or even identifying that they have a disability.
The Code protects people from the unequal effects of discrimination. For example, a person may not actually have a disability, but may be perceived to have one. The Code will protect a person who is the victim of discrimination because another thinks that the person has a disability.
(This information is provided as a public service by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.)