This is a very real and growing concern for those of us who are unable to afford proper legal representation and for Canadians with disabilities living in Ontario; it is real and it is something that is crying out to be addressed.
I personally experienced this very recently when a respondent with deep pockets was allowed to use their financial resources to bully their way out of a situation where they clearly violated the rights of the complainant.
In short: The complainant had no legal means to stand up for their rights. They were forced to accept a financial solution and at the end of the day their rights were completely ignored and unrecognized.
This is what is being allowed to continue right under the noses of Human Rights Ontario; an agency that is supposed to protect the rights of persons with special needs but truth be told, it is not very clear as to why they are not taking the right stance to do so.
The growing perception about Human Rights Ontario is this! They are victims of deep cuts to their budgets and at the same time they seem to be giving out the message that it is better for complainants to accept financial handouts from respondents rather than helping said complainants to stand up for their rights.
The obvious question to be asked here is this: What is the justification for the existence of Human Rights Ontario? If the perception with regard to their present attitude is anywhere accurate then should Ontarians continue to fund an agency that appears to be turning their backs on the very persons that they are supposed to be supporting and helping?
Or here is another perspective to be considered: Are respondents with deep pockets being given more latitude to dictate how complaints are dealt with? Can it be said that the tail is now wagging the dog then? What can we do to start reversing this process?
At the end of the day it appears that there exists in Ontario a Human Rights Commission that is powerless to protect the rights of persons with special needs plus others. An agency that finds it a better solution to strongly encourage complainants to accept financial compensation in exchange for remaining silent.
Score a huge victory for respondents with deep pockets and complainants continue to struggle with precious little opportunity to turn to someone who can help and someone who cares.
Just my two cents for today.
Advocate, Author, Blogger and Accessibility Specialist