The Ontario Human Rights Code, Toronto

The Ontario Human Rights Code came into effect on June 15, 1962 and established equal rights and freedom from discrimination as primary elements of provincial law. The first legislation of its kind in Canada, the Code was designed to affirm and uphold the “inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” by providing a legal mechanism to combat discrimination. The Code was inspired by principles of individual liberty and minority rights established in Canadian constitutional traditions, and by international human and civil rights movements that emerged after the Second World War. It consolidated and expanded existing anti-discrimination statutes to reflect the changing attitudes of Ontarians toward race, religion and equality rights. Since 1962, the Code has broadened in scope, establishing Ontario as a national and international leader in human rights promotion and protection. It continues to make Ontario a more just, equitable and inclusive society.