Ontario - Filing a Human Rights Complaint

Ontario – Filing a Human Rights Complaint

Instructions, Resources and Help lines

If you have been denied service due to not wearing a mask, business owners could be held liable for a fine (up to $75,000 as it varies in each province) if you file a human rights complaint.

A business is not “private”.  When a business owner obtains a business license, they are open to the “public” and they are not permitted to discriminate against anyone who is exempt from wearing a mask.

Federal Privacy Act: Nobody has the right to request to see an exemption. It is a violation of your privacy rights under the Privacy Act. This is your personal medical information between you and your physician.

What is personal information under the Privacy Act?  Click Here Privacy Act

“The Privacy Act offers protections for personal information, which it defines as any recorded information “about an identifiable individual.”

According to the ONTARIO REGULATION 364/20 From February 16, 2021 you are exempt for the following reasons:

under schedule 1 sec 2

    (4)  The person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area unless the person in the indoor area,

    (a)  is a child who is younger than two years of age;

   (b)  is attending a school or private school within the meaning of the Education Act that is operated in accordance with a return to school direction issued by the Ministry of Education and approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;

    (c)  is attending a child care program at a place that is in compliance with the child care re-opening guidance issued by the Ministry of Education;

   (d)  is receiving residential services and supports in a residence listed in the definition of “residential services and supports” in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008;

    (e)  is in a correctional institution or in a custody and detention program for young persons in conflict with the law;

    (f)  is performing or rehearsing in a film or television production or in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance;

   (g)  has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering;

   (h)  is unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person;

    (i)  needs to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area,

            (i)  to receive services that require the removal of their mask or face covering,

           (ii)  to engage in an athletic or fitness activity,

          (iii)  to consume food or drink, or

          (iv)  as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety;

    (j)  is being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;

   (k)  is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code; or

    (l)  performs work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.


(6)  For greater certainty, it is not necessary for a person to present evidence to the person responsible for a business or place that they are entitled to any of the exceptions set out in subsection (4).

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)

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.

Chief Commissioner Ena Chadha ‘believes society must understand that beyond systemic racism, people often experience discrimination on more than one ground, such as disability, socio-economic status and gender, or some other combination. And she believes society must recognize that these intersections can exacerbate negative experiences in tangible and intangible ways.’

Covid-19 measures must comply with our Constitution, including our Charter, they do not nullify nor supersede them, nor is there any express mention in any such law, statute, regulation, order or Guidance to do so.

Personal health information is private and shall be delt with in a manner that respects the continuing interests of the individuals to whom it relates.

Under the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, S.O. 2004, CHAPTER 3 SCHEDULE A it states;

Sec 1 (a) to establish rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information about individuals that protect the confidentiality of that information and the privacy of individuals with respect to that information, while facilitating the effective provision of health care;

Who Can Help?

Regarding human rights or help filling out your complaint form contact: The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario 416-326-1312 or Toll Free 1-866-598-0322 

Web: tribunalsontario.ca

Email: [email protected]

Free general legal advice:

Pro Bono Ontario:

Pro Bono Ontario is committed to helping Ontarians with their everyday civil legal needs. If you can’t afford a lawyer, call our Free Legal Advice Hotline for up to 30 minutes of free legal advice and assistance

Toll Free: 1-855-255-7256

Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Web: https://www.probonoontario.org/about/

Law Society of Ontario

When you request a lawyer or paralegal referral online, we will give you the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options, provided we have a match available.

Phone: 416-947-3300

Toll-free: 1-800-668-7380

Web: www.findlegalhelp.ca

Email: [email protected]

Disclaimer:  This information is not intended to be used as legal or health advice. We encourage you to do your own research.