Ontario’s government recently released the Report of the Ontario Human Rights Review 2012, authored by Andrew Pinto. The review was mandated by the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006 in order to determine the effectiveness of the changes made to Ontario’s human rights system in June 2008.
The Report includes 34 recommendations with implications for applicants and respondents alike in employment-related discrimination claims.
Some of the key recommendations include:
- The Tribunal’s forms and the means by which the forms are accessed should be reviewed and simplified to reduce unnecessary duplication, length and with a view to increasing accessibility;
- More active steps should be taken by the Tribunal to reduce the inappropriate naming of personal respondents;
- Parties should not have to identify important documents and witnesses on the initial forms filed with the Tribunal. Rather, at the initial stages of the application, they should only be advised that this information will be required later in the proceedings;
- Greater Tribunal resources should be dedicated to mediations and the Tribunal should determine how to schedule mediations soon after a response is filed;
- The Tribunal should compile and publicize information regarding the terms and conditions of settlement, albeit in a manner that ensures the anonymity of the parties;
- The Tribunal should encourage and promote greater active adjudication at its hearings;
- The Tribunal should consider its current approach to general damages in cases where discrimination is proven and significantly increase the monetary range of such awards;
- The Tribunal should update and revise its guidelines to identify and explain the nature of public interest remedies that may be ordered when discrimination is found and provide reasons or explanations in decisions when no public interest remedy is ordered.
The report also highlights a number of recommendations with respect to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
It remains to be seen what recommendations will gain traction. We will keep you updated on future developments.