Code Grounds

Ontario's Human Rights Code, the first in Canada, was enacted in 1962. 

The Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on a protected ground in a protected social area. ​

Grounds of Discrimination in Ontario chart


Ontario's Human Rights Code (the Code) identifies 17 protected grounds (Code grounds) on which discrimination is prohibited:

  1. Age
  2. Ancestry
  3. Citizenship
  4. Colour
  5. Disability
  6. Ethnic Origin
  7. Family Status
  8. Gender Expression
  9. Gender Identity
  10. Marital Status
  11. Place of Origin
  12. Race
  13. Receipts of Public Assistance
  14. Record of Offences
  15. Religion / Creed
  16. Sex
  17. Sexual Orientation

The Code also prohibits discrimination in 5 social areas:

  1. ​Accommodation
  2. Contracts or agreements
  3. Employment
  4. Goods, services and facilities
  5. Membership in unions, trades or professional association

A person may identify with multiple Code grounds because their social identity can overlap and intersect - this is known as intersectionality. When a person is experiencing discrimination and/or harassment, this can be experienced on multiple Code grounds at the same time due to intersectionalities.​