The Human Rights Commissioner's Office (HRCO) is the Board's arms-length office for addressing matters specific to the Human Rights Code and the Board's Human Rights Policy #240.
The two primary goals of the HRCO are:
- To act upon complaints confidentially, fairly and in a timely manner; and
- To support the prevention of discrimination and harassment through education, learning and training opportunities.
An Arms-Length Office
We address all concerns and complaints in an impartial and independent manner. The HRCO operates independently or arms-length from the formal administrative structure and all other areas of YRDSB.
Confidentiality governs all communications with the HRCO. The HRCO is intended to be a safe, neutral and confidential space for all members of the Board community to bring forward concerns related to discrimination and harassment. All communication with the HRCO is deemed private and confidential.
Our Commitment to Human Rights
The HRCO is committed to building learning and working environments that are free from discrimination and harassment. Our responsibilities to the YRDSB community include (but are not limited to):
Receiving and responding to human rights complaints, concerns and/or matters brought forward by a member of the Board community;
Overseeing the Board's compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA);
Supporting preventative actions through developing and delivering human rights and accessibility education, training and outreach;
Managing the Barrier Buster electronic reporting tool that allows members of our Board community to formally communicate any barriers within the learning and/or working environments of YRDSB; and
Advising the Board's senior leadership team on its strategic goals and actions through a human rights and accessibility lens.
The law in Ontario that gives equal rights and opportunities without discrimination is the Human Rights Code (the Code). The goal of the Code is to prevent discrimination and harassment based on the 17 protected grounds (Code grounds) within 5 social areas.
An allegation of discrimination or harassment must be based on at least one Code ground and take place within a social area to be protected. All other Ontario laws must agree with the Code. This means that you must comply with the Code before other laws, unless there is a specific exemption.
The Board's Human Rights Policy #240 aligns with the Code.
The government of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005. The AODA was created in response to a history of barriers and discrimination against people with disabilities in Ontario, and with the following purpose:
"To benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025."
The AODA applies to all private and public sector organizations, including all school boards. The Board's Accessibility Policy #407 aligns with the AODA.
Policy and Procedure #240.0, Human Rights: Code-Related Harassment and Discrimination (Human Rights Policy #240) supports working and learning environments that are free of discrimination and harassment. Policy #240 applies to all members of the Board community, but only to areas of discrimination and harassment under the 17 Code grounds as set out in Ontario's Human Rights Code.
Refer to our Resources page for more information about Human Rights Policy #240 and how it relates to other YRDSB policies.
Policy and Procedure #407.0, Accessibility (Policy #407) is aligned with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in order to carry out the Board’s commitment to accessibility. The Board is committed to providing accessible programs, services and environments for people with and who experiences disabilities.
Policy #407 and its related procedures outline how the Board will address accessibility standards for the identification, removal and prevention of barriers in accordance with the AODA and all other applicable legislation.