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Disability Legislation

Ontario Human Rights Code

The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific areas such as jobs, housing and services. The Code’s goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, colour, sex, handicap and age, to name some of the sixteen grounds.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission administers and enforces the Code. Since June 2012, hearings under the Human Rights Act are conducted exclusively by the Labour and Employment Board. They are called Labour and Employment Board hearings.

For a plain language explanation of the Code, please see the OHRC’s Guide to the Human Rights Code.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was developed out of recognition of the history of discrimination against people with disabilities. The AODA has a dual purpose to:

  • Benefit Ontarians by “developing, implementing, and enforcing accessibility standards [to] achieve accessibility for people with disabilities [in] goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025, and
  • Provide for the involvement of people with disabilities, the Government of Ontario and representatives of economic sectors and industries in the process of developing the accessibility standards.

The AODA applies to both the public and private sectors, and will eventually replace the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA), which applies to only the public sector. Although the ODA will eventually be repealed, it remains in effect during the implementation of the AODA.

It is important to note that the AODA names “mental disorders” under the definition of “disability,” and that the legislation is therefore intended to reduce barriers for persons with mental health disabilities.

The Ontario Disability Support Program Act

The Ontario Disability Support Program Act establishes an income support program for people with disabilities who are unable to work.

Related Resources

The Ontario Disability Program was created in 1998 to help people with disabilities to become more independent. The program is managed and delivered by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Contact your local ODSP office for more information.

Mental Health Works is a CMHA Ontario initiative that helps organizations to manage their duty to accommodate employees experiencing mental disabilities such as depression or anxiety in the workplace.

Ontario’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council advises government on improving accessibility for people with disabilities.