Sharing Knowledge - What is Discrimination?

The Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and the University of Guelph-Humber (hereafter referred to as “Humber” or “the College”) is committed to fostering a respectful and inclusive culture in which all members of the College community study, work and live free from discrimination and harassment. The College has the right, as well as the legal and moral responsibility, to ensure that all its members are treated fairly, equitably, and respectfully, in order to provide a learning, working and living environment free from discrimination and harassment.

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides protection from discrimination in five social areas: services, housing, contracts, employment, and membership in vocational associations and trade unions. The Code also prohibits discrimination based on 17 grounds: age, ancestry, citizenship, colour, creed, disability, ethnic origin, family status, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, place of origin, race, receipt of public assistance, record of offences, sex, and sexual orientation. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission)

The Code does not provide a definition of discrimination. Instead, the understanding of discrimination has evolved from case law. When filing a human rights-related complaint, the person also referred to as the Complainant making a claim of discrimination must show that:

  1. they have a characteristic protected from discrimination (one or more of the 17 grounds listed above)
  2. they have experienced an adverse impact within a social area protected by the Code, and
  3. the protected characteristic was a factor in the adverse impact.

The responsibility to provide evidence that supports the allegation lies with the Complainant. Therefore, record keeping in the form of notes or emails can be important evidence in an investigation. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission)

If you have questions pertaining to discrimination, please contact Patricia Suleiman, Manager, Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion at   

Thank you for your commitment to ensuring an inclusive environment free from discrimination and harassment.