On February 16, ARPA Canada delivered submissions to the Ontario Human Rights Review on our perceptions and experiences with the Human Rights process. Hamilton ARPA has also produced a stellar written submission (it’s very impressive, reasonable, well-researched!) and have applied to make an oral presentation as well. Both submissions are attached to this article.
The recommendations made by ARPA Canada’s legal counsel focused on religious employment rights and addressed fundamental and structural flaws in the Human Rights Code. The submissions by Hamilton ARPA focussed on the unequal access to legal assistance for respondants in a human rights complaint.
The Reviewer felt that some of the recommendations fell outside of his mandate. However, the mandate did include this directive: “Where appropriate, the Reviewer will offer advice to the government regarding any best practices that should be supported and any advice for enhancing the effectiveness of Ontario’s human rights system.” We felt that our submissions were thus reasonable and hope that the Reviewer will give them due consideration.
It is hard to gauge how effective this process has been. However, the Reviewer has heard our reasoned arguments. Perhaps he will reassess his perceptions of the effectiveness and appropriateness of some of the Code sections and critically analyse the human rights system.