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OHRC Policy on Discrimination and Harassment Because of Sexual Orientation

Policy on Discrimination and Harassment Because of Sexual Orientation by the Ontario Human Rights Commission 

Approved 2000. Revised 2006. Minor revisions 2009. 

 

Contents

Purpose of OHRC Policies....................................................................................2

The context: sexual orientation, human rights protections, case law and 

legislation..............................................................................................................3

Introduction ...........................................................................................................3

Sexual orientation .................................................................................................3

Homophobia and heterosexism ............................................................................4

A further word about terminology..........................................................................4

The purpose and scope of the policy ....................................................................5

International protections........................................................................................5

The Canadian context...........................................................................................6

Sexual orientation in provincial and federal human rights protections ..............6

Recognition of same-sex relationships .............................................................7

A note on balancing rights ................................................................................8

The policy framework............................................................................................9

Discrimination based on sexual orientation...........................................................9

Forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation ..........................................10

Harassment ....................................................................................................11

Poisoned environment....................................................................................12

Confidentiality and sexual orientation .............................................................12

Systemic discrimination ..................................................................................14

Organizational culture.....................................................................................14

Policies, procedures and rules........................................................................15

Reasonable and bona fide requirements........................................................16

Discrimination because of association............................................................17

Discrimination because of perceived sexual orientation .................................17

Comments or conduct need not be explicit.....................................................18

Relationships between sexual orientation and other Code grounds ..................18

Sex .................................................................................................................19

Marital status and family status ......................................................................19

Intersectionality and overlapping grounds ......................................................20

Organizational responsibility ...............................................................................21

Vicarious liability .............................................................................................22

The "organic theory" of corporate responsibility .............................................23

Employment, services, and housing ...................................................................23

Employment....................................................................................................24

Services..........................................................................................................25

Accommodation (housing) ..............................................................................26

Preventing and responding to homophobia and discrimination based on sexual 

orientation ...........................................................................................................27

Protecting confidentiality of information ..........................................................27

Barrier review and removal.............................................................................27

Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies............................................29

Developing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies .........................29

Promoting anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies...........................30

For more information...........................................................................................31