The Ontario Human Rights Commission has recently released their Strategic Plan, 2017-2022 entitled Putting People and their Rights at the Centre: Building Human Rights Accountability. The Strategic Plan notes the changing role of the Commission:
It is almost a decade since Ontario shifted to a direct-access system for human rights adjudication and the OHRC received a renewed mandate to focus on systemic discrimination. We have learned a lot since 2008. With that knowledge, we are now well positioned to embark on a bold new vision for our work that will continue to deliver real systemic change to make human rights a practical reality. We are also well positioned to build a robust culture of human rights accountability.
The Commission summarizes its mission as follows:
Our mission is to promote and enforce human rights, to engage in relationships that embody the principles of dignity and respect, and to create a culture of human rights compliance and accountability. We act as a driver for social change based on principles of substantive equality. We accomplish our mission by exposing, challenging and ending entrenched and widespread structures and systems of discrimination through education, policy development, public inquiries and litigation.
As Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission put it:
Through a focus on reconciliation, the criminal justice system, poverty and education, we will address the discriminatory impacts of broader systems of colonialism, state power, resource allocation, and enculturation – which cause nearly all Code-protected groups, especially those with intersectional identities, to be marginalized and to have their disadvantage exacerbated or perpetuated.”
Certainly the Commission has had to reinvent itself since the structural and encompassing amendments to the Code in 2008. They continue to “find their place” and their voice, and the Strategic Plan is continuing a record of that ongoing journey.