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Ontario Human Rights Commission Releases New Policy on Gender Identity and Gender Expression

Posted in Accommodation, Discrimination, Human Rights, Policies
Benjamin Aberant

On April 15, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the Commission) published a new comprehensive policy entitled Policy on preventing discrimination because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression. According to the Commission, the policy

is a complete revision and update of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC’s) original Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity first published in 2000.

Its stated purpose is to discuss and promote understanding and awareness about trans people and their rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) and to help employers recognize and meet their legal obligations under the Code not to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

The new policy follows a recent legislative amendment that added gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds under the Code, and was made in consultation with the transgender community. It includes sections on understanding bias and prejudice, forms of discrimination, the duty to accommodate, and preventing and responding to discrimination.

We recommend that human resources personnel review the new policy to gain an understanding of this complicated and constantly evolving area of law. The policy also contains a best practice checklist, which appears to be a very helpful tool in identifying and managing issues related to trans people.