OHRC Power Point Presentation October 22 2014 handout

Policy on preventing discrimination based on
Mental health disabilities
and addictions
Ontario Human Rights Commission
» From 2009 – 2011, the OHRC conducted
province-wide mental health consultation
» In 2012, OHRC released consultation report,
Minds that Matter
» We committed to developing a policy on
mental health and addictions
Introduction (cont’d)
» We heard about a range of barriers faced
by people with mental health disabilities
and/or addictions
– The policy focuses on employment, housing
and services
» Policy describes in detail how Code applies
to mental health and addictions issues
Ableism, negative attitudes,
stereotypes and stigma
» Can lead to inaccurate assessments and
unfair practices
» Extreme stigma may result in people being afraid
to disclose their disabilities to others and failing
to get the support they need
» Where ableism, negative attitudes, stereotypes
and stigma result in discrimination, they will
contravene the Code
Legal framework
» Ontario Human Rights Code
» Charter of Rights and Freedoms
» Accessibility for Ontarians with
Disabilities Act
» Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities
Intersecting grounds
» Discrimination may be unique when it
occurs based on two or more Code grounds
» Organizations must take intersectionality
into account when designing their
programs, policies and environments
Forms of discrimination
» May be direct, indirect, subtle, “adverse effect,”
» May include:
Profiling based on mental health
Poisoned environment
Systemic discrimination
Mental health and addictions
programs, laws and policies
» Subject to the Code
» Selection process and criteria are open
to scrutiny
– e.g. under-inclusive criteria
» Must ensure equality, respond to individual
needs, uphold dignity
» Same applies to special programs
Duty to accommodate
» Three principles of accommodation:
1. Respect for dignity
2. Individualization
3. Integration and full participation
» Inclusive design
Duties and responsibilities in
accommodation process
» Duties of accommodation seeker
– Make needs known to the best of their ability
– Participate in process
– Answer relevant questions
» Responsibilities of organizations
– Accept request in good faith
– Take an active role
– Get expert advice
Duty to inquire about
accommodation needs
» People may not be able to identify needs
» They may be reluctant to disclose needs
due to extreme stigma around psychosocial
» Organizations have a duty to inquire about
accommodation needs
– Offer assistance and accommodation
– Before discipline
Medical information to be provided
» Impacts on privacy of accommodation
» Some medical information is necessary
to facilitate accommodation
» Information should be the least intrusive
of person’s privacy
Undue hardship
Three considerations:
» Cost
» Outside sources of funding, if any
» Health and safety requirements, if any
– high probability of substantial harm to anyone
will amount to undue hardship
– dignity of person with accommodation needs must
be considered
– least intrusive means to address risk should be used
Consent and capacity
» Complex legal framework dealing with
consent and capacity issues
– Code has primacy
» Relevant human rights principles:
inclusive design
individualized assessment
respect for dignity, autonomy, confidentiality
opting for the least intrusive and restrictive
options, wherever possible
– integration and full participation, wherever possible
Preventing and responding
to discrimination
Ultimate responsibility rests with employers,
housing providers, service providers and
other organizations covered by Code
Policy outlines:
Barrier prevention, review and removal
Data collection and monitoring
Developing human rights policies and procedures
Education and training

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