The Ontario Human Rights Commission has released (Announcement) its new Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination along with a number of other documents:
- Racial Discrimination, Race and Racism
- Examples of Racial Discrimination
- Systemic Discrimination
- Data Collection
- Organizational Responsibility
- Racial Harassment and Poisoned Environments
According to the Policy, between 30 and 40 per cent of complaints filed annually list race and related grounds. Most of the cases arise in employment.
The Globe and Mail has an article (Racism remains real in Ontario: rights commissioner).
According to the Policy:
A solid organizational anti-racism program will contain the following components:
- a comprehensive anti-racism vision statement and policy (there is one included in the Policy);
- proactive, ongoing monitoring;
- implementation strategies; and
The Policy goes on to note that:
Organizations have a responsibility to take proactive steps to ensure that they are not engaging in, condoning or allowing racial discrimination or harassment to occur. Obligations in this regard range from collecting numerical data in appropriate circumstances, accounting for historical disadvantage, reviewing policies, practices and decision-making processes for adverse impact, and having in place and enforcing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and education programs, to name just a few.
The Commission stresses the need for organizations to be proactive, rather than reactive, with a view to addressing racial discrimination that is often of a "systemic" nature.
When was the last time your company conducted an audit of its employment policies, procedures and practices? When was the last time your employees received human rights training?
If the answer is "never" or "not recently", you might want to revisit the matter now, rather than when a complaint is filed.