2. Find out if human rights laws apply to your situation

If you can’t make other childcare arrangements, find out if your situation falls under the Ontario human rights law’s “Family Status” protections.

Human rights laws in Ontario say that employers cannot treat employees differently because of “Family Status.” But if you can’t follow a workplace rule because of your Family Status, employers may have to change how the rule or requirement applies to you.

 “Family status” responsibilities can include:

  • dropping your child off or picking your child up from daycare or school
  • taking your child to medical appointments
  • caring for your child’s health
  • caring for an elderly or aging parent

To qualify for family status protections, there must be a specific relationship between you and the child you are caring for. You must be the child’s:

  • biological parent
  • non-biological gay or lesbian parent
  • adoptive parent
  • step-parent
  • foster parent, or
  • legal guardian

If your relationship isn’t on this list, you might still qualify for family status protections if you have a parent and child “type” relationship with the person you are caring for. This includes adult children caring for an elderly or aging parent.

Federal Laws

Most employers in Ontario must follow the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario deals with claims against these employers.

But some industries are covered by federal laws. These are laws made by the government of Canada and they apply throughout the country. These industries include banks, airlines, some trucking businesses, and broadcasting. The government of Canada website has a more complete list.

Employers in these industries must follow the Canada Labour Code. The Canadian Human Rights Commission deals with complaints against these employers.

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