1. Find out if Ontario’s human rights laws apply

Most employers, landlords, representatives, and providers in Ontario must follow the Ontario Human Rights Code. To make a claim to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, you must show that:


  1. You have a protected personal characteristic that is listed in the Code. There are 17 protected personal characteristics. Some examples are:  
  • race, colour, or ethnic background
  • citizenship or the country you are from
  • religion
  • age
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • physical or mental , including an addiction
  • marital status, for example, married, divorced, single, or living common-law


  1. You were treated differently, or you were treated the same but had a negative experience, within a social area listed in the Code. For example:
  • at work by your employer
  • at work by your union or professional organization
  • at home by your landlord
  • by a service provider like a store employee, restaurant, or school

The Code does not apply to members of the public. For example, it does not apply if a stranger insults you on the street by making a racist comment, because this did not happen in a specific social area such as at your job or at a restaurant. An employer, landlord or service provider does have a duty to prevent and address .


  1. The protected personal characteristic was a factor in how you were treated. For example, the Code does not apply if:
  • you were treated differently in your job due to a personality conflict with your manager
  • a medical treatment decision was based on professional judgment

To be discrimination, the treatment must be related to a protected personal characteristic.


There are some situations where some or all of the Code does not apply. Here are some examples:

  • Some industries are covered by federal laws made by the Government of Canada. These laws apply throughout the country. These industries include banks, airlines, some trucking businesses, and broadcasting. Employers in these industries must follow the Canadian Human Rights Code.
  • Some companies have a special hiring program to try to make their workforce more diverse by including more people from a variety of racial communities.
  • Some housing providers have facilities designed to help people protected by the Human Rights Code (for example, people with certain kinds of disabilities).

Some housing providers have facilities that are just for seniors. 

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