Public symposium puts Ontario’s Human Rights System under the microscope

Osgoode Hall Law School photograph of the building interior
Osgoode Hall Law School

It was a little over two months ago that independent reviewer Andrew Pinto’s Report of the Ontario Human Rights Review 2012 was released by Ontario’s Attorney General.  The 233-page report assessed the impact of changes made arajOsgoodeto Ontario’s human rights system in 2008 under the McGuinty government’s Bill 107.

Raj Anand

This Friday, Jan.25, Osgoode Hall Law School will host a public symposium at which Pinto, a lawyer with Pinto Wray James LLP, will provide an overview of his report.  Commentators will be lawyer Raj Anand of Weir Foulds LLP, who is one of Osgoode’s McMurtry Visiting Clinical Fellows this term, and Mary Cornish of Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish LLP.

bryderOsgoodeBruce Ryder

In addition, there will be two panel discussions – one focused on the 2006 amendments to the Human Rights Code and the promotion of access to justice, and the other on measuring outcomes after the 2006 amendments.  The symposium will take place in Room 1014 at Osgoode from 8.30am to 3pm. The event poster, a full program and the papers to be presented at the symposium can be found here.

“The Pinto Review and the transformation of the Ontario human rights system represent a significant milestone in the development of human rights protections, and I am looking Faraday_Fayforward to the mix of academic, legal and practical insights at the symposium,” said Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Lorne Sossin, who is also a participant in the symposium.

Fay Faraday

“Osgoode is proud to be hosting this symposium and looks forward to serving as a catalyst for the public debate that these reforms to the human rights system merit,” added Sossin.

In addition to Pinto, Anand, Cornish and Sossin, other speakers will include Osgoode Professors Faisal Bhabha, Sonia Lawrence and Bruce Ryder; York Professor Lesley bfaisalOsgoodeJacobs; sole practitioner Fay Faraday of Faraday Law who is a McMurtry Visiting Clinical Fellow at Osgoode; and Ranjan Agarwal of Bennett Jones LLP.

Faisal Bhabha

The significant reforms to the Ontario human rights system that Pinto looked at included a model of direct access of parties to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, removal of the SoniaLawrence“gatekeeper” function formerly exercised by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the establishment of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre to provide legal assistance to those seeking remedies from the Human Rights Tribunal.

Sonia Lawrence

Pinto concluded that the reforms have been working, but he made 34 recommendations for improving the human rights system.  Visit the Attorney General of Ontario website or click here to download a PDF of the report.