Indigenous spiritual practices are protected under Ontario's Human Rights Code

June 21, 2018

Information from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC):

What protection does the Ontario Human Rights Code offer?

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. It provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. Indigenous peoples, including status, non-status, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, are included in these protections.

The Code prohibits discrimination and harassment based on 17 personal attributes – called grounds. Creed is one of the protected grounds.

The Code protects your right to have and practice the creed beliefs you choose without discrimination. This right applies in the areas of housing, services (such as education, health care, police, government), employment, contracts and membership in unions or professional associations.

No right under the Code is absolute – which means that rights based on creed may be limited if they interfere with other people's rights. Creed practices are not protected if they incite hatred or violence against other people or break criminal laws.

The Code recognizes people's right to come together and form associations for creed-related purposes in certain circumstances, even if that means excluding others who do not share the same creed beliefs.

Read more: Indigenous spiritual practices are protected under Ontario's Human Rights Code