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What can I do if I feel harassed or discriminated against?

If you are experiencing problems and feel discriminated against, there are organizations in your area that can help you.

To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

Forms of Discrimination

Actions or words that are unwelcome or hostile, and that are linked to one of the grounds in the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Ontario Human Rights Code, are discrimination or harassment.

Sometimes discrimination takes place within a particular organization or institution and becomes a part of how that organization or institution operates. This is called systemic discrimination.

How to Respond to Discrimination

Even though it is illegal, harassment and discrimination do happen. You can get help if you feel that you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment.

It is not always easy to know exactly what to do. The most important thing is to take action when you feel threatened.

There are many different ways you can address it:

  • If you face immediate danger, call 9-1-1 for help. If you do not feel that there is an immediate threat of violence, you can still call the police for help and guidance, but make sure to call the local police's non-emergency phone number.
  • When possible, confront the person who has harassed you and tell them to stop.
  • If the behaviour continues, keep a written record of what happened, names, dates, times and places. This will help you show that there has been a pattern of discrimination.
  • If the harassment is at work, check if your employer has an anti-harassment policy.
  • Contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) for free legal support about your situation.
  • Make a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission or the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

For More Information

  • Your Guide to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - This easy-to-read guide explains the sections of the Charter and has links to more information about human rights. From the Department of Canadian Heritage.
  • Human Rights Complaints Guides - Easy-to-read guides about how to file a claim, how a claim is processed, how to respond if a complaint is filed against you. From The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
  • The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario - This body investigates complaints of discrimination and harassment based on the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) - This body provides leadership for the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights, and builds partnerships across the human rights system.
  • Justice Ontario - This website has information about Ontario's legal system, including family and criminal law, lawsuits, human rights, wills and estates, and tickets and fines. You can get legal information in over 170 languages.
Last Updated: December 20, 2011
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