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Adopted by the Board of Directors on September 16 2010, to be reviewed in September 2015.

1. Preamble

The purpose of this policy is to cultivate a respectful workplace through the prevention and swift resolution of discriminatory incidents.

2. Statement of Commitment

ICAD will treat all present and prospective employees and clients with respect and will maintain a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination prohibited by The Ontario Human Rights Code.

This policy will apply to all aspects of employment, including, but not limited to: recruitment, selection, placement, training and development, promotion, compensation, benefits, termination, provision of services, and the work environment.

ICAD will not tolerate, nor should its employees tolerate or engage in, any form of discrimination prohibited by The Ontario Human Rights Code.

3. Legal Framework

This policy focuses upon the rights and obligations set out in The Ontario Human Rights Code. It also covers certain anti-harassment obligations set out in The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990.

4. Definitions

  • The Complainant is the person who makes a complaint or brings a discrimination issue to the attention of the employer.
  • The Respondent is the person whose behaviour is being complained about.
  • Discrimination is the harmful treatment of an individual or group, based on certain personal characteristics. The Ontario Human Rights Code establishes which characteristics are covered. They are: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.
  • Discrimination does not need to be intentional to be illegal. For example, a rule or policy may be developed for good business reasons but have an unintended, significant negative effect on a certain group of employees.
  • Harassment is any behaviour that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person.
  • Discriminatory harassment is harassment related to any of the prohibited grounds of The Ontario Human Rights Code. This policy prohibits discriminatory harassment. In addition, it prohibits harassment based on physical size or weight and forms of personal workplace harassment prohibited by The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990. You are responsible for discriminatory behaviour if you know your behaviour is unwelcome to the recipient, or if a reasonable person ought to have known the behaviour is, or could be, unwelcome to the recipient. Harassment can include comments, conduct, or display of materials that directly target an individual or that create a “poisoned” or “unwelcoming” environment where the person feels psychologically or emotionally harmed, offended or intimidated based on any of the prohibited grounds.
  • The Respondent is the person whose behaviour is being complained about.

Discriminatory harassment includes:

  • Unwanted physical contact (touching, grabbing, hitting or pinching)
  • Written or verbal abuse or threats
  • Unwelcome remarks, jokes, slurs, or taunts about a person’s ancestry, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or any other prohibited ground
  • Discrimination does not need to be intentional to be illegal. For example, a rule or policy may be developed for good business reasons but have an unintended, significant negative effect on a certain group of employees.
  • Insulting names or comments
  • Jokes, cartoons, or pictures
  • Practical jokes that embarrass or insult someone
  • Ignoring, isolating, or segregating a person or group
  • Negative treatment because of sex, ancestry, disability or any other prohibited ground of discrimination. s
  • Negative treatment because of sex, ancestry, disability or any other prohibited ground of discrimination.
  • Personal harassment is any unwanted activity or behaviour directed at an individual that creates a negative, hostile, or unwelcoming environment for that individual.
  • Personal harassment is not covered by The Ontario Human Rights Code because it is not connected to one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination. However, this policy also prohibits the kind of personal harassment prohibited by The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990: “forms of personal harassment with respect to any matter or circumstance arising out of the worker’s employment, which includes bullying and abuse of power.”
  • Systemic discrimination occurs when structural barriers or widespread stereotypes and assumptions bar certain groups of people from full participation in activities covered by The Ontario Human Rights Code. These include: employment, education, public services, housing, contracts, trade unions, the purchase of property, publications, and professional trades and associations.
  • Prohibited Grounds are those personal characteristics that are covered by The Ontario Human Rights Code – see the definition of “Discrimination” above. They are called prohibited grounds because discrimination based upon those personal characteristics is prohibited.
  • Accommodation is the process of making changes or adjustments that eliminate discriminatory barriers to equal participation and enjoyment of opportunities in employment, education, public services and other areas covered by The Ontario Human Rights Code. Accommodation means focusing on inclusion and flexibility, rather than on just one way of doing things.
  • The Duty to Accommodate requires employers, service providers, and others covered by The Ontario Human Rights Code to accommodate needs related to a prohibited ground of discrimination, up to the point of undue hardship. This duty extends to both employees and clients. The duty to accommodate is a requirement to integrate diversity into public services and the workplace and may entail changing office space, policies, practices, and/or behaviours.
  • Undue Hardship describes the limit on the duty to accommodate for employers, service providers, and others covered by The Ontario Human Rights Code. Undue hardship can only be defined on a case-by-case basis as its determination relies on the specific facts of each case. The point of undue hardship is only reached when the employer or service provider has done everything possible to accommodate a need. Some factors which courts have considered in their determinations of what constitutes undue hardship include: a threat to health or safety, major economic impact, disruption to a collective bargaining agreement, diminished morale, interchangeability of workforce and facilities and size of workplace. This list is not exhaustive, rather demonstrative. Undue hardship cannot be established by personal preferences based on ancestry, gender or any other of the prohibited grounds under The Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Mediation is a collaborative process of communication and solution-seeking between the employer, employee that leads to the resolution of a matter. This process can also be referred to as early resolution, settlement, conflict resolution, or alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is a consensual process, and should only be undertaken if the parties agree to it.
  • Investigation is a fair and impartial fact-finding process which leads to a decision and action by the employer.

5. Rights and Responsibilities
5.1 Employer:

  • ICAD will not discriminate against any present or prospective employee, patron, client, contractor or volunteer, nor will ICAD tolerate discriminatory practices within the workplace, including systemic discrimination.
  • ICAD will take all complaints seriously, investigate them, and promptly correct actions or practices determined to be discriminatory.
  • ICAD will maintain the confidentiality of employee records and investigation of complaints to the extent possible.

5.2 Managers and Supervisors

  • Managers and supervisors of ICAD are expected to lead by example and to act respectfully in dealings with employees, clients and patrons.
  • Managers and supervisors will ensure that employees are aware of this policy and will
  • Promote the policy at all times.

5.3 Employees

  • Employees have a right to a discrimination-free working environment. Employees have an obligation not to participate in or encourage discriminatory practices.

5.4 Clients/Patrons

  • Clients and patrons have the right to receive non-discriminatory service(s).
  • ICAD values its employees’ rights and in cases where clients or patrons do not treat employees with respect, ICAD will take steps to protect its employees from discrimination.

6. Undertakings
6.1 Freedom from Discrimination

  • ICAD undertakes to provide a discrimination-free environment for people to work and conduct business in, and will take complaints of discrimination seriously if and when they arise.

6.2 Freedom from Discriminatory Harassment

  • ICAD undertakes to protect employees, clients and patrons from acts of discriminatory harassment pursuant to The Ontario Human Rights Code and harassment pursuant to The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993.
  • ICAD will take such complaints of harassment seriously if and when they arise.

6.3 Freedom from Systemic Discrimination

  • ICAD undertakes to make every effort to review its practices and procedures in order to identify and eliminate systemic discriminatory practices or procedures that exist.
  • ICAD undertakes to monitor its organizational practices and procedures on an ongoing basis, in order to prevent systemic discrimination.

6.4 Accommodation

  • ICAD undertakes to assess and address the accommodation requests of its employees up to the point of undue hardship, where accommodation needs are based on one of the prohibited grounds of The Ontario Human Rights Code.

6.5 The Accommodation Process

  • ICAD undertakes to discuss the accommodation request with the person whose needs are being addressed, and to work co-operatively to determine the best and most appropriate accommodation possible, respecting the privacy of the parties.

7. Application of Policy
7.1 Who does the policy apply to?

  • This policy applies to Board members, all employees at all levels, applicants and candidates for employment.

7.2 When and where does the policy apply?

  • Discrimination will not be tolerated in any workplace setting or practice. Work-related conferences, business trips, social functions, contract sites, and job interviews are all examples of when this policy applies.
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990 states that workplace harassment can arise outside of a worker’s place of employment. It includes harassment directed at a worker at home or away from home if the harassment occurs with respect to any matter or circumstance arising out of the worker’s employment.

8. Complaint Process and Procedures
8.1 How to make a complaint
A person wishing to make a complaint of discrimination can consult and file a complaint with the Executive Director. In the event that a complaint is against the Executive Director, the complainant can consult and file with the Chair of the Board of Directors.

8.2.1 Investigation
Once a complaint has been filed an investigation will be undertaken immediately. In instances where there is an alleged respondent, as opposed to alleged systemic discrimination, the respondent will be notified immediately. The complainant and the respondent will both be interviewed along with any individuals who may be able to provide relevant information.

Where the alleged discrimination is an organizational practice or procedure, that practice or procedure will be investigated immediately. Where the investigation finds systemic discrimination within the organization, that practice or procedure will be changed promptly.
8.2.2 Mediation

ICAD supports resolving matters through mediation provided that it is consistent with organizational duties, obligations and needs. Mediation can only be undertaken voluntarily. If both parties agree to participate, matters may be resolved through mediation in the following circumstances.

Once the matter has been investigated and ICAD has determined the facts of the case, ICAD may use meditation to develop appropriate solutions to the complaint; and in instances where the incident is an isolated event and the parties do not dispute the facts, ICAD will act diligently to ensure that matters are dealt with in a manner that ensures the safety and protection of everyone within the organization.
8.2.3 Timelines

ICAD will investigate all complaints immediately and will work towards the prompt resolution and prevention of discriminatory acts and practices.

8.2.4 Fairness

All complaints will be investigated in the same manner with the aim of promoting fairness and equality.

8.2.5 Confidentiality and the Right to Privacy

ICAD will preserve the confidentiality of all individuals involved in a discrimination complaint. The preservation of confidentiality may be affected by the employer’s duty to prevent discrimination in/at ICAD and by the alleged respondent’s right to know the nature of the complaint being made against them and who has made it so that they can respond.

8.2.6 Protection Against Retaliation

Retaliation against any individual who has or may file a complaint, provide information relevant to a complaint, or testify in a proceeding under The Ontario Human Rights Code is against the law and will not be tolerated by ICAD.

8.2.7 Documentation

All meetings, discussions and steps taken in a mediation or investigation with respect to the alleged discrimination will be documented. Documents relating to a complaint will be kept in a secure location.

If the investigation fails to find evidence to support the complaint, no documentation concerning the complaint will be placed on the file of the respondent.

ICAD will retain all documentation for ten (10) years for informational purposes in the event that there is an internal appeal or a complaint filed with an outside agency.

8.2.8 Outcomes and Remedies

ICAD will act swiftly to ensure that the discriminatory practice is stopped as soon as possible and may remedy the situation in a number of ways. Where the investigation determines that discrimination has occurred or the matter has been successfully mediated, outcomes may include moving the respondent to another department, changing the respondent’s job duties, or a letter of apology. Actions taken to remedy a discriminatory situation should not have a negative effect on the complainant. The main concerns of the employer will be to ensure that the discrimination ends and to restore workplace harmony.

8.2.9 Discipline

If the investigation indicates discrimination has occurred, the respondent will be disciplined appropriately.

8.2.10 Reporting Back

ICAD will provide both parties with written confirmation of findings, indicating either that the investigation found evidence to support the complaint and the resultant “next steps,” or that there is no evidence to support the complaint and the matter has been closed.

If the complaint is settled through mediation, the parties will receive written confirmation of the agreed upon terms of settlement and documentation related to the process will be kept on the respondent’s file.

When ICAD determines that systemic discrimination has occurred because of one of its practices or procedures, all members within ICAD will be notified in writing of the finding and the resultant change in practice or procedure.

8.2.11 Appeal Process

Within fourteen (14) days of the findings being reported, either the complainant or the respondent may make a written request that an investigation be reviewed stating which aspect of the investigation is inadequate. The request must be submitted to the Executive Director who will determine if the investigation is to be re-opened in order to address the concerns raised.

8.2.12 Right to File a Complaint with Outside Agency

This policy is meant to provide effective mechanisms for preventing and addressing discrimination in this workplace. However, every employee also has the right to file a complaint with an outside agency such as the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, or the Ontario Ministry of Labour.