Do you think Ontario’s redesigned human rights system works well or is broken? The government’s independent reviewer, Toronto lawyer Andrew Pinto wants to know!
In June 2008, Ontario’s human rights system was overhauled to create a direct access complaint system with new procedures, new approaches to damages and, amongst other changes, a legal support centre to help complainants. Built into the system was the idea that the government would review the effectiveness of the amendments within 3 years.
In August, Attorney General Chris Bentley appointed Toronto lawyer Andrew Pinto, a partner with Pinto Wray James LLP, to conduct an independent review of the implementation and effectiveness of the amendments. Pinto’s review will take place in three stages:
- A Consultation Paper will be released to the public shortly that identifies key issues and points for discussion;
- Public consultations will be held in the Fall of 2011 [dates to be announced on the recently launched website “Ontario Human Rights Review 2011-2012”];
- Pinto will release a report in the Spring/Summer of 2012 summarizing his findings and making recommendations to the government.
Pinto’s Terms of Reference mandate him to consider issues such as:
- whether the redesigned Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) is providing quicker and direct access for applicants, and a fair dispute resolution process for all parties, including respondents.
- whether the new Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) is effective in providing information, support, advice, assistance and legal representation for those seeking a remedy before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO).
- whether the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), in its revised role, is proactively addressing systemic human rights issues through activities such as research and monitoring, policy development, and education and training.
- stakeholder feedback: analyze and qualify perceptions and experiences of key stakeholders, human rights advocates/experts, and the public.
- advice on best practices that should be supported and any advice for enhancing the effectiveness of Ontario’s human rights system.
It is important that Pinto receive input from the employer community regarding the system’s effectiveness and shortcomings. We will keep you apprised of consultation dates as they are announced.