Status of Women and Human Rights (SWHR)

The Ontario Human Rights Code

Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the first in Canada, was enacted in 1962. The Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on a protected ground in a protected social area. Protected grounds are:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation.

Protected social areas are:

  • Accommodation (housing)
  • Contracts
  • Employment
  • Goods, services and facilities
  • Membership in unions, trade or professional associations.

Human Rights in Canada

In Canada, human rights are protected by federal, provincial and territorial laws. The Canadian Human Rights Act protects people in Canada from discrimination when they are employed by or receive services from the federal government, First Nations governments, or private companies that are regulated by the federal government. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of Canada’s Constitution and protects every Canadian’s right to be treated equally under the law.

CEDAW – Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

Articles of Interest

January 27 2021 The Guardian Global Dispatch Editor’s Note When Home is Not a Safe Place

Committee Reports

SWHR Report for March 2022

Gender Based Violence Takes Many Forms

SWHR Report for January/February 2022

In the January/February SWHR report read about issues of note for SWHR in Ontario:

  1. 2021 Human Rights Watch published and Canada fares poorly–again
  2. Social contracts regarding risk
  3. Gender Based Violence
  4. Human Trafficking
  5. Ontario Human Rights Commission statement regarding disproportionately affected groups and COVID (January 2022)
  6. Indigenous Peoples’ right to clean water

SWHR Strategic Plan

SWHR Report for February 2021

In the February SWHR report read about:

  1. Battered Woman Syndrome Used as Defence in Nunavut – Inadequate Shelters for Women Fleeing Abuse
  2. A Silent Challenge for Canadian Women During COVID – Reproductive Health
  3. Impact of COVID on Mental Health of Women
  4. Sex Workers’ Rights
  5. General – Canadian Women’s Foundation Facts
  6. Should Vaccination Against COVID (SARS COV-2) Be Mandated for Healthcare Workers? [US Data]
  7. What Does It Take to Make a Sweat Shop?  Canada Goose!
  8. Child Labour – Warning: Your Groceries may Contain Child Labour
  9. Human Rights Watch Canada – Report 2021 (covering 2020)
  10. Disability Discrimination in Hidden Places
  11. Terrorist Groups in Canada
  12. Animal Rights
  13. New Measures for Economic Prosperity – Bringing in the Environment as a Component in the Measure of Prosperity
  14. Significant Dates for Status of Women and Human Rights in Canada

SWHR Report for January 2021

SWHR Report for November 2020


Speakers Series Event 2 – Paulette Senior Precis of Presentation

Paulette Senior, CEO and President of the Canadian Women’s Foundation1, opened our second event in the 2020/2021 CFUW Ontario Council Speakers Series with a riveting presentation on gender based violence (GBV) in the time of COVID-19.  The numbers are grim.  All families are struggling with job losses and reduced income, food insecurity, issues related to childcare and education, fears about contracting the virus, exacerbated mental health issues, disrupted family routines, and reduced access to services and resources but for those trapped with an abuser, the consequences of each one of these stressors is exacerbated putting women and children at additional risk, said Paulette. Read more …

SWHR Report for October 2020


Karen’s presentation, entitled Long Term Care: The Past, The Present/COVID-19 and The Future, shone a bright light on key issues in long term care.  It should be noted that, as Ms. Henderson pointed out, these issues are longstanding:  it is the impact of the COVID pandemic on LTC problems which has caught the public’s attention … read more.

SWHR Report for September 2020

Terms of Reference

The mandate of this Committee is to be a forum for Ontario Council members involved with advocacy issues related to the Status of Women and Human Rights (SWHR), in Ontario. This committee, together with the Advocacy Committee, is responsible for the development and communication of CFUW OC SWHR related policies … read more.

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