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OHRC Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression

OHRC Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression

by the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Approved by the OHRC: January 31, 2014 
Official release date: April 14, 2014
Available in accessible formats on request

Contents 

Summary ..................................................................................................... 3 

1. Introduction ............................................................................................ 5 

2. About this policy .................................................................................... 6 

3. Gender identity and gender expression .............................................. 7 

4. Bias and prejudice ................................................................................. 8

4.1 Stereotyping........................................................................................................... 8

4.2 Transphobia ........................................................................................................... 9

4.3 Cisnormativity ........................................................................................................ 9 

5. Emerging human rights protections .................................................. 10

5.1 Ontario ................................................................................................................. 10

5.2 Other Canadian jurisdictions ................................................................................ 11

5.3 International standards ........................................................................................ 11 

6. Ontario’s Human Rights Code ............................................................ 12

6.1 Protections ........................................................................................................... 12

6.2 Establishing discrimination .................................................................................. 13

6.3 Right to self-identify gender ................................................................................. 14 

7. Forms of discrimination ...................................................................... 14

7.1 Direct, indirect and subtle discrimination ............................................................. 14

7.2 Intersecting grounds ............................................................................................ 15

7.3 Association .......................................................................................................... 16

7.4 Gender-based harassment and sexual harassment ............................................ 17

7.5 Poisoned environment ......................................................................................... 21

7.6 Systemic discrimination ....................................................................................... 22 

8. The duty to accommodate ................................................................... 23

8.1 Procedural and substantive duties ....................................................................... 24

8.2 Principles ............................................................................................................. 24

8.2.1 Respect for dignity ........................................................................................ 24

8.2.2 Individualization ............................................................................................. 25

8.2.3 Integration and full participation .................................................................... 25

8.2.4 Inclusive design ............................................................................................. 25

8.2.5 Appropriate accommodation ......................................................................... 26

8.3 Roles and responsibilities .................................................................................... 27 

9. Reasonable bona fide requirements .................................................. 27 

10. Other limits on the duty to accommodate ....................................... 29

10.1 Failing to participate in the accommodation process ......................................... 29

10.2 Balancing competing rights ................................................................................ 29

10.3 Undue hardship ................................................................................................. 30

11. Complaints and reprisal .................................................................... 32 

12. Corporate liability .............................................................................. 32 

13. Preventing and responding to discrimination ................................. 33

13.1 Organizational reviews, policies and education ................................................. 33

13.2 Transitioning ...................................................................................................... 34

13.3 Identity documents ............................................................................................. 35

13.3.1 Barriers ........................................................................................................ 35

13.3.2 Changing a name or sex designation .......................................................... 36

13.3.3 Recognizing lived gender identity ................................................................ 37

13.4 Washrooms and change rooms ......................................................................... 38

13.4.1 Access based on lived gender identity ........................................................ 38

13.4.2 Accommodation and inclusive design ......................................................... 39

13.5 Dress codes ....................................................................................................... 41

13.6 Shelter services ................................................................................................. 41

13.7 Health care services .......................................................................................... 43

13.8 Education system .............................................................................................. 45

13.9 Law enforcement and justice services ............................................................... 47

13.9.1 Strip searches ............................................................................................. 47

13.9.2 Correctional institutions ............................................................................... 48

13.10 Other services .................................................................................................. 49

13.11 Housing ........................................................................................................... 49

13.12 Employment ..................................................................................................... 50

13.12.1 Hiring ......................................................................................................... 51

13.12.2 Transitioning employees ........................................................................... 51

13.13 Vocational associations ................................................................................... 52 

Appendix A: Purpose of OHRC policies ................................................ 53 

Appendix B: Glossary for understanding gender identity 

 and expression ...................................................................................... 54 

Appendix C: Best practices checklist .................................................... 58