Friday, January 10, 2014

Religion and Human Rights

Link to Human Rights Commission

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, discrimination because of religion (creed) is against the law. Everyone should have access to the same opportunities and benefits, and be treated with equal dignity and respect, regardless of their religion.

Religion includes the practices, beliefs and observances that are part of a faith or religion. It does not include personal moral, ethical or political views. Nor does it include religions that promote violence or hate towards others, or that violate criminal law.

Protection against discrimination applies in the following areas:

Employment, including job applications, interviews, employment benefits, working conditions, and promotions;
Housing, including rental housing, hotels, commercial properties, and buying or selling a house;
Services, goods and facilities, including education, hospitals and health services, stores and restaurants, government programs, and public places and facilities;
Contracts, such as for buying or selling goods or services;
Unions, professional associations, and other vocational associations.
It doesn't matter whether or not discrimination is intentional: it is the effect of the behaviour that is important.

Where a rule conflicts with religious requirements, there is a duty to ensure that individuals are able to observe their religion, unless this would cause undue hardship because of cost, or health and safety reasons. Unlawful discrimination because of religion can include:

Refusing to make an exception to dress codes to recognize religious dress requirements;
Refusing to allow individuals to observe periods of prayer at particular times during the day;
Refusing to permit individuals to take time off to observe a religious holiday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I firmly support freedom of religion and religious expression in Canada. Canadians pride ourselves on our tolerance towards other cultures and any practices their religion requires them to adhere to. We allow Sikhs to proudly wear their Turbans in our police and armed forces. We have excellent affirmative action programs that target racially and culturally disadvantaged person giving them priority over others when seeking employment in private and public sectors. We have allowed Muslims to pray in public schools in Ontario during school hours. We have allowed Sikhs to wear their ceremonial daggers into secure areas such as Alberta courthouses. As you are aware we have made many many exceptions that accommodate the religious and cultural minorities in Canada.
But I fell that we have only done this through mostly “appeasement”. We have become so fearful of offending someone based on their religion or culture and being branded as a racist. You know that if the principle Valley Park Middle School in Don Mills Ontario said “no” to the Muslims regarding their prayer times he would have been tarred and feathered in the media and the Human Rights Commission would have probably pounced on him. Could you imagine what would have happened if we told Baltej Singh Dhillon that he could wear his Turban in the RCMP because it was not conducive with the British heritage that the RCMP was founded on?
As a society we have become conditioned by political correctness and making concessions to religious and cultural minorities in the name of promoting our proud pluralistic nation. It seems that we are no longer Canadians but rather hyphenated Canadians.