Human Rights By-Law – Background Information

CHFC Appendix C to the Human Rights By-Law

This  Attachment  contains  background  information  relating  to  the  Model  Human Rights  By-law.  It  does  not  form  part  of  the  By-law  itself.

This  Attachment  may  be  updated  from  time  to  time.  The  CHF  Canada  website should  be  checked  for  the  most  recent  version.

GENERAL  INFORMATION

1.    Why  have  a  Human  Rights  By-law?

The  Model  Human  Rights  By-law  does  two  things.

•    First,  it  states  the  co-op’s  commitment  to  the  Ontario  Human  Rights
Code.

•    Second,  it  states  a  procedure  for  dealing  with  human  rights
problems  at  the  co-op.

2.    What  is  the  Ontario  Human  Rights  Code?

The  Ontario  Human  Rights  Code  is  a  basic  law  of  the  Province  of  Ontario.
It  states  detailed  rules  and  definitions  on  the  human  rights  that  are
protected  in  Ontario.  It  states  procedures  on  how  those  rights  can  be
enforced.

The  rules  in  the  Human  Rights  Code  are  explained  by  decisions  of  courts and  tribunals  on  what  the  Code  means  and  by  policy  statements  and  other materials  issued  by  the  Ontario  Human  Rights  Commission.

3.    Does  the  Human  Rights  By-law  state  the  human  rights  that  are
protected?

No.  People’s  human  rights  are  part  of  the  law  of  the  Province,  not  things that  the  co-op  adopts  in  a  by-law.

The  basic  commitment  to  human  rights  is  a  simple  and  straightforward
principle,  but  working  it  out  according  to  law  is  complicated.  Therefore,
the  basic  commitment  is  in  the  By-law,  but  not  the  detailed  legal  rules.

4.    What  are  the  human  rights  guaranteed  by  the  Human  Rights  Code?

The  Human  Rights  Code  states  that  people  have  a  right  not  be
discriminated  against  or  harassed  on  certain  specific  grounds.  It  is  only
discrimination  on  those  grounds  that  is  illegal.

5.    What  are  the  prohibited  grounds  of  discrimination  in  housing?

The  prohibited  grounds  of  discrimination  in  housing  are:

•    race,
•    ancestry,
•    place  of  origin,
•    colour,
•    ethnic  origin,
•    citizenship,
•    creed,
•    sex,
•    sexual  orientation,
•    age,
•    marital  status,
•    family  status,
•    disability,
•    the  receipt  of  public  assistance,
•    gender  identity,
•    gender  expression.

6.    What  are  the  prohibited  grounds  of  discrimination  in  employment?

Co-ops  are  employers  as  well  as  housing  providers.  The  prohibited  grounds of  discrimination  in  employment  are  the  same  as  in  housing  except:

•    An  employer  cannot  discriminate  based  on  record  of  offences.  A
housing  provider  can  take  record  of  offences  into  consideration.

•    A  housing  provider  cannot  discriminate  based  on  receipt  of  public
assistance.  This  is  not  in  the  list  of  prohibited  grounds  for
employment.

7.    Should  we  change  the  list  for  our  co-op?

This  is  not  recommended.
•    The  list  in  the  Code  is  accompanied  by  definitions  and  other  sections which  explain  and  qualify  the  obligations.  It  is  important  that  these apply.
•    Experience  shows  that  when  co-ops  adjust  the  list,  they  are  basically covering  the  same  things  in  different  words.  But  there  may  be  a slightly  different  meaning  that  is  hard  to  predict.

•    Co-op  by-laws  are  legally  operative  documents.  It  is  important  to  be
accurate  and  consistent  so  that  co-ops  do  not  have  unexpected
liabilities.

HARASSMENT

8.    What  is  harassment?

Harassment  is  inappropriate  comment  or  conduct  that  is  known  or
should  be  known  to  be  unwelcome.  It  is  illegal  if  it  is  on  a  ground  stated in  the  Human  Rights  Code.  The  prohibited  grounds  of  harassment  are substantially  similar  to  the  prohibited  grounds  of  discrimination.

Some  examples  of  harassment  when  based  on  a  prohibited  ground  are:

•    epithets,  slurs  or  jokes;
•    name  calling  or  nicknames;
•    jokes,  cartoons  or  graffiti;
•    verbal  abuse;
•    displaying  offensive  or  derogatory  images;
•    practical  jokes  causing  awkwardness  or  embarrassment;
•    condescending  or  patronizing  behaviour  undermining  a  person’s  self-
respect.

9.    What  is  sexual  harassment?

Sexual  harassment  is  harassment  because  of  sex,  sexual  orientation,
gender  identity  or  gender  expression.  Some  examples  are:

•    gender-related  comments  about  an  individual's  physical
characteristics  or  mannerisms;
•    unwelcome  physical  contact,  patting  or  pinching;
•    suggestive  or  offensive  remarks  or  innuendoes  about  members  of  a
specific  gender;
•    propositions  of  physical  intimacy;
•    gender-related  verbal  abuse,  threats,  or  taunting;
•    leering  or  inappropriate  staring;
•    bragging  about  sexual  prowess;
•    demands  for  dates  or  sexual  favours;
•    offensive  jokes  or  comments  of  a  sexual  nature  about  a  person;
•    display  of  sexually  offensive  pictures,  graffiti,  or  other  materials;
•    questions  or  discussions  about  sexual  activities;
•    paternalism  based  on  gender  which  a  person  feels  undermines  his  or her  self-respect  or  position  of  responsibility;
•    rough  and  vulgar  humour  or  language  related  to  gender.

10.    Are  there  other  kinds  of  sexual  harassment?

Yes.  In  addition,  sexual  harassment  is  any  kind  of  sexual  advance  made by  someone  who  is  in  a  position  to  grant  or  deny  a  benefit  or
advancement  such  as  someone’s  employer  or  superior.  It  is  also  any
reprisal  by  such  a  person  for  rejection  of  a  sexual  advance.

11.    Does  the  victim  have  to  object  for  it  to  be  sexual  harassment?

No.  It  is  not  necessary  for  someone  to  object  to  behaviour  for  it  to  be
contrary  to  the  Human  Rights  Code.

RESPONSIBILITIES  OF  CO-OPS

12.    What  are  the  co-op’s  legal  responsibilities?

As  a  housing  provider  the  co-op  has  to  follow  the  Human  Rights  Code  in all  areas  of  its  operations.  This  includes  its  role  as  housing  provider and as  employer.

The  co-op  is  responsible  for  the  acts  of  the  co-op  as  a  corporation.  It
also  can  have  responsibility  for  the  acts  of  its  staff  and  anyone  acting  on its  behalf.  This  can  include  directors,  officers,  committee  members and others.

13.    Is  the  co-op  responsible  for  the  acts  of  individual  members?

If  the  co-op  is  a  place  where  discriminatory  or  harassing  language  or
acts  are  common,  it  is  said  to  have  a  “poisoned  environment”  or
“poisoned  atmosphere”.  Under  the  Human  Rights  Code  the  co-op  could
be  responsible.

The  co-op  has  to  do  what  is  reasonable  to  ensure  that  the  general
atmosphere  at  the  co-op  is  free  of  discrimination  or  harassment  on
human  rights  grounds.  It  cannot  just  ignore  such  conduct.

ACCOMMODATION  OF  DISABILITIES

14.    Does  someone  who  is  disabled  have  to  obey  the  same  rules  as  other co-op  members?

Yes.  But  those  rules  have  to  be  adjusted  to  allow  for  the  person’s
disability  if  it  can  be  done  without  undue  hardship.

15.    Does  the  co-op  have  to  go  to  special  expense  to  fill  the  needs  of
someone  who  is  disabled?
Yes.  The  co-op  has  to  provide  equal  housing  to  everyone,  including  any members  who  are  disabled.  In  order  to  permit  the  disabled  members  to have  equal  housing,  special  measures  may  be  needed,  such  as  automatic door  openers.

The  co-op  and  anyone  else  providing  accommodation  has  to  take  such
measures  if  it  can  be  done  without  undue  hardship.

16.    What  is  undue  hardship?

Undue  hardship  is  not  defined  in  any  exact  way.  However,  it  would
include  cost,  outside  sources  of  funding,  if  any,  and  health  and  safety
requirements.

17.    Doesn’t  it  cost  a  lot  to  accommodate  people  with  disabilities?

No.  The  Human  Rights  Commission  says  that  a  great  many  examples  of accommodation  can  be  done  very  inexpensively.

For  instance,  some  people  are  highly  sensitive  to  certain  chemicals  such as  cleaning  fluids.  Pricing  out  alternatives  that  are  less  offensive  (and maybe  better  for  the  environment)  shows  that  they  only  cost  a  co-op slightly  more.  The  same  is  true  of  a  great  many  other accommodations.

18.    Is  there  a  hard  and  fast  dollar  limit  for  an  accommodation?

No.  The  Human  Rights  Code  does  not  state  a  specific  limit  and  the
explanations  given  in  court  and  tribunal  cases  do  not  lead  to  any
specific  limit.  You  should  consult  your  local  federation  or  lawyer  when
this  issue  comes  up.

INDIRECT  DISCRIMINATION

19.    What  is  indirect  discrimination?

Indirect  discrimination  is  also  called  “constructive”  discrimination.  It
exists  if  there  is  a  requirement  or  factor  that  is  not  discrimination  on  a
prohibited  ground  but  that  results  in  the  exclusion,  restriction  or
preference  of  a  group  of  persons  identified  by  a  prohibited  ground.

An  example  might  be  religious  beliefs.  Co-ops  might  be  scheduling
meeting  times  for  good  reasons  that  have  nothing  to  do  with  any  human rights  issues.  But  if  a  members’  meeting  falls  on  a  holiday  that  affects  a lot  of  the  members,  that  could  be  indirect  discrimination.

20.    Does  the  co-op  have  to  go  to  expense  or  change  its  rules  to  avoid indirect  discrimination?

Yes.  But  the  co-op’s  obligations  are  subject  to  the  same  test  of  undue
hardship  as  for  accommodating  disabilities.

EQUAL  TREATMENT  FOR  ALL  MEMBERS

21.    Does  accommodating  disabilities  and  avoiding  indirect  discrimination
involve  treating  some  members  better  than  others?

No.  This  is  the  biggest  issue  that  bothers  co-op  members.  Co-ops  are
founded  on  the  basis  that  all  members  have  equal  worth.  This  is  not  like other  kinds  of  corporations  where  worth  depends  on  the  number  of
shares  or  the  amount  of  investment.

But  sometimes  people  have  to  be  treated  differently  in  order  to  receive
equal  service.  For  instance,  no  one  would  suggest  that  there  is  anything wrong  with  giving  a  household  of  five  a  larger  unit  than  a  household  of one.  It  is  accepted  that  this  better  fits  their  needs.

In  the  same  way  co-op  services  need  to  be  adjusted  in  a  sensitive  way to  meet  other  specific  needs  of  co-op  members  if  it  will  not  cause
undue  hardship.

22.    Is  the  co-op  entitled  to  proof  of  the  needs?

Yes.  The  co-op  is  entitled  to  reasonable  evidence  if  there  is  any  need
for  accommodation.

However,  the  most  important  thing  to  remember  is  that  the  member
involved  is  entitled  to  be  treated  with  dignity.  People  should  get  away
from  the  mindset  that  there  is  any  kind  of  “special  privilege”.  Instead
recognize  that  whatever  is  being  done  is  being  done  to  give  service  that is  effectively  equal  to  others.

Therefore,  any  request  should  be  treated  with  respect  and  dignity,  and,
of  course,  complete  confidentiality  on  a  need-to-know  basis.

OTHER  ISSUES

23.    Are  there  other  legal  issues  related  to  the  Human  Rights  Code  and human  rights  at  co-ops?

Yes.  A  lot  of  them.  This  paper  only  skims  the  surface.  It  is  important  to get  legal  advice  when  issues  come  up.

24.    If  a  complaint  is  made  against  the  co-op  to  the  Human  Rights
Tribunal,  what  should  the  co-op  do?

First,  the  co-op  should  report  it  to  the  co-op’s  insurance  company.  The
complaint  might  be  covered  by  the  co-op’s  insurance.

It  is  important  to  do  this  whether  or  not  the  co-op  thinks  there  is  any
merit  in  the  claim.  That  is  because  the  legal  or  other  costs  can  be  very high,  whether  or  not  the  co-op  defeats  any  complaint.  The  insurance company  may  not  provide  coverage  unless  it  is  consulted  from  the beginning.  It  is  a  requirement  of  the  insurance  that  the  co-op  consult  it from  the  beginning.

Second,  the  co-op  should  not  discuss  the  matter  with  the  person
involved  or  their  lawyer  and  no  one  acting  on  the  co-op’s  behalf  should
do  so.

Third,  the  co-op’s  own  lawyer  should  be  notified  in  the  case  the
insurance  company  lawyer  does  not  take  over.

25.    Will  following  the  Human  Rights  By-Law  mean  that  no  claim  can  be made  against  the  co-op?

No.  The  By-law  is  intended  to  be  a  way  to  enhance  human  rights  at  the co-op  and  to  resolve  problems.  However,  anyone  who  is  dissatisfied  or does  not  want  to  use  the  By-law  can  complain  to  the  Human  Rights
Tribunal.

 

Human Rights By-Law #70

WOODSWORTH HOUSING CO-OPERATIVE INC.

By-law No. 70
HUMAN RIGHTS BY-LAW

Passed  by  the  Board  of  Directors  on  March  30,  2016
Confirmed  by  the  members  on  May  17,  2016


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1    Rights,   Principles   and   Obligations

Article  1.1  Statement  of  principles  and  obligations
Article  1.2  Background  information
Article  1.3  Other  rights
Article  1.4  No  reprisals

2    Co-op   Services

Article  2.1  Individual  assessment 
Article  2.2 Members  with  disabilities  
Article  2.3 No  indirect  discrimination  
Article  2.4  Limits   
Article  2.5 Able  to  live  independently    
Article  2.6 Requests  for  accommodation  or  adjustment    
Article  2.7 Authority  to  arrange  for  work   
Article  2.8 Relation  to  Human  Rights  Code    

3    Dealing   with   Problems    

Article  3.1 Investigate  complaints    
Article  3.2 Procedure    
Article  3.3 Complaints  about  co-op    
Article  3.4 Complaints  about  members  of  the  co-op  community    
Article  3.5 Eviction    

4    Relation   to   Other   By-laws    

Article  4.1 Applying  co-op  by-laws    
Article  4.2 Procedures  under  other  laws  or  by-laws  
Article  4.3 Repeal   
Attachment   A   Complaint   and   Investigation   Procedure   
Attachment   B   Humans   Rights   By-law   Complaint   Form 

About  this  By-law:  This  By-law  states  the  commitment  of  Woodsworth Housing Co-operative to  the human  rights  of  the  members  of  the  co-op  community  and  the  co-op’s  rules  for  fulfilling  that commitment.

1. RIGHTS, PRINCIPLES AND OBLIGATIONS

ARTICLE  1.1    Statement  of  principles  and  obligations

(a)  The  co-op  community  is  made  up  of  all  members,  other  residents and  staff.
(b)  Members  of  the  co-op  community  must  respect  the  human  rights  of other  members  of  the  co-op  community  and  of  people  who  deal with  or  visit  the  co-op.
(c)  The  co-op  expects  members  of  the  co-op  community  to  obey  the Ontario  Human  Rights  Code  and  not  to  do  anything  that  would discriminate  against  or  harass  others  in  a  way  that  would  breach  the Human  Rights  Code.
(d)  The  co-op  itself  must  follow  the  requirements  stated  in  paragraphs (b)  and  (c)
(e)  The  co-op  and  members  of  the  co-op  community  should  strive  for  an environment  at  the  co-op  that  is  fair,  inclusive  and  respectful  of people’s  dignity.

1.2    Background  information

Background  information  on  these  rights,  principles  and  obligations  and on  the  Ontario  Human  Rights  Code  is  in  Attachment  C  to  this  By-law.

1.3    Other  rights

The  rights  in  this  By-law  are  in  addition  to  any  other  rights  that  anyone has.  Nothing  in  this  By-law  prevents  anyone  from  exercising  their  legal rights  in  any  way.  The  co-op  encourages  people  to  use  the  procedures  in this  By-law  to  deal  with  human  rights  issues,  since  this  can  help  the co-op  address  any  human  rights  problems  at  the  co-op.

1.4    No  reprisals

Any  reprisal  for  making  a  good  faith  complaint  under  this  By-law  is  a breach  of  this  By-law.

2. CO-OP SERVICES

ARTICLE  2.1    Individual  assessment

The  co-op  will  consider  the  needs  of  each  individual  member  of  the co-op  community  in  conducting  its  operations.  The  co-op  will  take  all reasonable  steps  to  adjust  its  services  and  operations  to  meet  theindividual  needs  of  members  of  the  co-op  community  that  are  related   to a  prohibited  ground  of  discrimination  under  the  Human  Rights  Code.

2.2    Members  with  disabilities

In  providing  its  services  the  co-op  will  take  all  reasonable  steps  to accommodate  the  needs  of  members  of  the  co-op  community  with disabilities.

2.3    No  indirect  discrimination

The  co-op  will  take  all  reasonable  steps  to  adjust  any  restriction, qualification  or  factor  in  the  co-op’s  operations  that  results  in  indirect discrimination  contrary  to  the  Human Rights Code.

2.4    Limits

The  co-op  will  take  the  steps  referred  to  in  sections  2.1,  2.2,  and  2.3  if they  can  be  taken  without  undue  hardship.  In  deciding  what  steps  to take  the  co-op  will  follow  the  definitions   and  be  bound  by  the obligations  under  the  Human  Rights  Code.

Indirect  discrimination  under  section  2.3  does  not  include  rules  and procedures  under  government  or  other  special  programs  to  relieve hardship  or  economic  disadvantage,  to  assist  in  achieving  equal opportunity  or  to  eliminate  infringement  of  rights.

2.5    Able  to  live  independently

The  co-op’s  obligations  do  not  include  providing  any  form  of  care  or assistance  in  the  activities  of  daily  living.  Members  of  the  co-op community  who  need  this  kind  of  assistance  must  arrange  for  it  without depending  on  the  co-op.

2.6    Requests  for  accommodation  or  adjustment

Requests  for  accommodation  or  adjustment  should  initially  be  directed to  the  manager  and  should  be  in  writing,  if  possible.  The  request  will  be dealt  with  promptly  and  with  full  respect  for  the  dignity  of  the  person who  made  the  request.

A  request  should  state  what  is  being  requested  and  why  it  is  needed. The  manager  will  obtain  any  necessary  backup  documentation,  such  as evidence  of  medical  need,  if  necessary.  With  the  approval  of  the  Board, the  manager  will  obtain  advice  from  the  co-op’s  lawyer  if  necessary. The  request  and  all  material  related  to  it  will  be  kept  in  confidence  and only  shown  to  staff  or  others  who  have  a  need  to  know.

2.7    Authority  to  arrange  for  work

If  the  manager  does  not  believe  any  issues  are  raised  that  should  go  to the  board,  the  manager  will  have  authority  to  grant  an  accommodation or  adjustment  by  arranging  for  work  that  is  within  the  manager’s spending  authority  or  would  normally  be  done  by  co-op  staff.  In  any other  case  the  manager  will  report  to  the  board,  which  will  make  the decision  unless  a  budget  change  is  needed.  If  a  by-law  or  budget  change is  needed,  the  board  will  make  an  appropriate  proposal  to  the members.  There  will  be  full  consultation  with  the  person  who  made  the request  to  ensure  that  everyone  understands  the  issues  and  concerns.

2.8    Relation  to  Human  Rights  Code

The  obligations  of  the  co-op  in  this  By-law  are  intended  to  implement its  responsibilities  under  the  Ontario  Human  Rights  Code.  They  should not  be  interpreted  in  any  way  that  is  inconsistent  with  the  Human Rights  Code  or  that  would  give  lesser  or  greater  obligations  to  the co-op.

3. DEALING WITH PROBLEMS

ARTICLE  3.1    Investigate  complaints

The  co-op  will  deal  with  complaints  about  a  breach  of  this  By-law  as stated  in  this  By-law.  The  board  of  directors  will  deal  with  situations that  it  becomes  aware  of  whether  or  not  there  is  a  specific  complaint, but  where  there  are  reasonable  grounds  to  believe  a  breach  of  the  By-law  has  occurred.

3.2    Procedure

The  procedure  for  complaints  and  investigations  is  stated  in  Attachment A.

3.3    Complaints  about  co-op

If  a  complaint  is  established  about  the  conduct  of  the  co-op  itself,  or directors,  officers,  committees  or  others  acting  on  behalf  of  the  co-op, the  board  will  take  appropriate  action  to  correct  the  situation  and  avoid any  repetition.

·    The  action  could  include  such  things  as  one  or  more  of
o    a  letter  of  apology;
o    a  performance  agreement;
o    mediation  or  conflict  resolution  between  the  parties;
o    a  warning  or  reprimand;
o    removal  from  a  committee;
o    proceedings  to  remove  someone  from  the  board  as  stated  in  the Organizational  By-law;
o    development  and  introduction  of  policy  statements  and educational  initiatives  to  avoid  anything  similar  in  the  future;
o    other  actions  referred  to  in  this  By-law.

·    If  the  individual  involved  is  a  staff  member,  the  board  will  consider requirements  under  any  employment  or  property  management contract,  and  other  employment  and  contractual  obligations.  This could  affect  the  method  of  investigation  and  the  action  taken.  The board  will  obtain  legal  advice  in  all  appropriate  circumstances.  The action  taken  could  include  such  things  as  one  or  more  of  the  items stated  in  the  previous  section  and/or

o    employee  education  and  training;
o    oral  reprimand;
o    written  reprimand;
o    suspension;
o    termination  of  employment.

3.4    Complaints  about  members  of  the  co-op  community

If  a  complaint  is  established  about  the  conduct  of  a  member  of  the co-op  community  who  is  not  acting  on  behalf  of  the  co-op,  the  board will  decide  what  action  to  take.  The  board’s  basic  intent  will  be  to resolve  the  situation  amicably  if  possible.  The  action  taken  could involve one  or  more  of  the  items  stated  in  the  preceding  sections.

3.5    Eviction

Breach  of  this  By-law  can  be  grounds  for  eviction  under  the  Occupancy By-law.  In  determining  whether  to  consider  eviction  or  whether  to evict,  the  board  will  consider  such  things  as:

·    the  evidence  available  as  to  what  happened;
·    the  appropriateness  of  eviction  as  a  response,  considering  the seriousness  of  the  breach  and  other  possible  solutions  to  the underlying  situation;
·    the  appropriateness  of  a  performance  agreement  or  other alternative  to  address  the  situation;
·    the  likely  success  or  failure  of  legal  action  to  evict;
·    the  costs  involved  in  evicting  someone.

4. RELATION TO OTHER BY-LAWS

ARTICLE  4.1    Applying  co-op  by-laws

The  co-op  must  comply  with  the  Human  Rights  Code  when  applying co-op  by-laws  and  other  co-op  rules  and  decisions.  If  any  by-law,  rule  or practice  conflicts  with  the  Human  Rights  Code,  then  it  has  to  be changed.  If  the  manager  becomes  aware  of  any  need  for  changes,  the manager  will  report  it  to  the  board.  The  board  will  make  all  changes that  are  needed  and  are  within  the  board’s  authority.  If  a  by-law  or budget  change  is  needed,  the  board  will  make  an  appropriate  proposal to  the  members.

If  any  change  to  comply  with  the  Human  Rights  Code  is  needed  urgently and  cannot  wait  for  a  members’  decision,  the  board  will  make  any decisions  that  are  needed  even  if  they  conflict  with  the  by-laws.  The board  will  only  do  this  after  receiving  a  written  opinion  from  the co-op’s  lawyer.  The  issue  will  be  reported  at  a  members’  meeting, either  specifically  or  as  part  of  a  proposal  for  a  by-law  change.

4.2    Procedures  under  other  laws  or  by-laws

Someone  may  have  a  right  of  appeal  or  review  under  another  law  or  by- law,  such  as  if  the  board  decides  to  evict  someone  or  if  a  membership application  is  refused.  If  the  member  or  applicant  feels  that  the  original decision  was  in  breach  of  the  Human  Rights  Code,  the  member  or applicant  may  file  a  complaint  under  this  By-law.  However,  the  member or  applicant  should  also  file  an  appeal  or  request  for  review  (as applicable).  The  board  can  decide  to  deal  with  the  complaint  and  the appeal  or  review  at  the  same  time  or  to  hold  action  on  one  until  the other  is  decided.

 

ATTACHMENT A

Complaint and Investigation Procedure

1.    Object:  The  objective  of  this  procedure  is  to

•  have  a  fair,  prompt  and  effective  investigation  and  resolution of  complaints;

•  avoid  unnecessary  cost,  inconvenience  or  hardship  on  any party;

•  have  due  regard  to  the  dignity  and  the  rights  of  persons  who may  have  a  complaint  or  may  be  complained  about.

2.    Complaints  officer:  The  complaints  officer  is  the  person  who  is  dealing with  a  specific  complaint  on  behalf  of  the  co-op.  The  complaints  officer will  be  designated  by  the  board  after  a  complaint  is  reported  to  it.  The complaints  officer  may  or  may  not  be  a  director  or  a  staff  member,  or  an elected  member  of  the  Reconciliation  Committee  or  PIPED,  but  should  be someone  respected  within  the  co-op  community  who  does  not  have  any conflict  of  interest  relating  to  the  complaint.

3.    The  complaints  officer  will  take  the  lead  role  in  dealing  with  the complaint  and  making  sure  that  the  procedures  in  this  Attachment  are followed  in  a  timely  way.  In  some  cases  the  complaints  officer  will  handle the  investigation  of  the  complaint.  In  other  situations  an  outside investigator  will  be  appointed  to  work  with  the  complaints  officer  as stated  in  this  Attachment.

4.    Mediation:  If  the  parties  to  the  complaint  are  prepared  to  mediate  their differences,  the  co-op  will  arrange  for  mediation.  This  can  happen  at  any time  during  the  investigation  process  and  the  process  will  be  suspended until  the  mediation  is  complete.  The  complaints  officer  can  suggest mediation  to  the  parties.  The  cost  of  the  mediator  will  be  paid  by  the co-op.

MAKING  COMPLAINTS

5.    Making  a  complaint:  Members,  residents,  staff  of  the  co-op,  applicants for  membership  and  persons  who  visit  the  co-op  property  can  make  a complaint  about  a  violation  of  the  Human  Rights  By-law.

6.    A  complaint  can  be  about  something  that  happened  to  the  complainant  or another  person  or  that  calls  the  co-op’s  attention  to  a  situation  or problem.

7.    In  writing:  A  complaint  must  be  in  writing  and  signed  by  the  person making  the  complaint.  It  should  be  delivered  to  the  co-op  manager.  If  the complaint  is  about  the  manager,  it  can  be  delivered  to  the  President.  If  it is  about  both  the  manager  and  the  President,  it  can  be  delivered  to  any director.

8.    If  someone  has  difficulty  putting  their  complaint  in  writing,  the  person who  receives  the  complaint  should  help  them  to  do  this.  In  doing  this  they should  make  sure  to  write  out  the  person’s  complaint  and  not  to  change the  complaint  or  put  words  in  the  person’s  mouth.

9.    Complaint  Form:  Attachment  B  is  a  Form  that  can  be  used  for  complaints.

10.    Confidentiality  and  disclosure:  The  person  who  receives  the  complaint will  explain  the  confidentiality  and  disclosure  provisions  in  Attachment  B to  the  person  who  submits  it.

11.    A  complaint  will  be  accepted  if  not  on  Attachment  B,  but  the  person  who submits  it  will  be  asked  to  sign  a  document  stating  they  understand  the confidentiality  and  disclosure  rules.  The  document  may  use  the  relevant wording  from  Attachment  B.

12.    Time  Limit:  Unless  there  are  special  circumstances,  a  complaint  should be  filed  within  six  months  from  the  time  when  the  violation  took  place,  or if  it  took  place  over  a  period  of  time,  six  months  from  the  last  incident

DEALING  WITH  COMPLAINTS

13.    Informal  resolution:  Depending  on  the  nature  of  the  complaint,  the person  who  receives  it  may  try  to  resolve  the  situation  informally,  such  as by  consulting  with  the  parties  involved  and  assisting  them  to  come  to agreement  on  the  issue.

14.    Initial  report  to  board:  Whoever  receives  a  complaint  will  report  the complaint  to  the  board.  In  sensitive  situations  the  initial  report  to  the board  may  leave  out  the  names  and  identifying  features  of  one  or  more  of the  parties  involved,  unless  the  board  decides  that  it  needs  to  know  that information.  If  the  complaint  is  about  a  director,  the  director  will  be told only that  there  has  been  a  complaint  and  told  not  to  be  present  at  the board  meeting  when  it  is  discussed.  This  rule  will  not  apply  if  it  would prevent  the  board  from  having  a  quorum.  The  director  will  be  given  more information  about  the  complaint  later,  as  part  of  the  investigation process.

15.    Board  action:  When  a  complaint  is  reported  to  the  board,  the  board  will decide  what  steps  to  take.  In  most  cases  the  board  will  appoint  a complaints  officer  or  decide  that  the  manager  should  be  the  complaints officer.

16.    Depending  on  the  nature  and  urgency  of  the  complaint  the  board  may  also do  such  things  as:
•    seek  legal  advice;
•    ask  the  local  co-operative  housing  federation  or  another  sector body  to  advise  the  board  on  how  to  deal  with  the  situation;
•    take  emergency  steps  to  protect  members,  residents  or  staff;
•    take  action  under  an  employment  or  other  contract  if appropriate.

17.    Outside  investigator:  In  some  cases,  such  as  specialized  or  exceedingly serious  complaints,  the  board  may  decide  to  appoint  an  investigator  from outside  the  co-op  with  expertise  in  that  type  of  investigation.  The investigator  will  work  with  the  complaints  officer  to  try  to  establish  what happened  and  evaluate  the  situation  and  report  to  the  board.

18.    Lawyer:  The  complaints  officer  may  be  authorized  to  consult  the  co-op lawyer  or  the  lawyer  may  be  instructed  to  be  the  outside  investigator  or be  present  at  interviews  conducted  by  the  complaints  officer  or  outside investigator.  Where  there  is  a  possible  legal  liability  on  the  part  of  the co-op,  the  co-op  lawyer  will  be  consulted  before  proceeding  further.

19.    Employment  matters:  The  procedure  in  this  Attachment  may  not  be appropriate  for  some  employment-related  complaints.  The  board  will decide  on  the  procedure  for  employment-related  complaints.  The  board will  consult  the  co-op’s  lawyer.  The  board  will  consider  any  procedure stated  in  a  staff  contract.

20.    Provisions  in  this  Attachment  and  the  Human  Rights  By-law  relating  to staff  will  apply  to  co-op  staff  employed  by  a  management  company  with any  adjustments  that  may  be  necessary.

21.    Insurance  company:  The  board  may  refer  any  complaint  to  the  co-op’s insurance  company  before  or  at  the  same  time  as  the  investigation  of  the complaint.

22.    No  admission  of  liability:  The  complaints  officer  and  outside  investigator are  not  authorized  to  make  any  admission  of  liability  on  the  part  of  the co-op.  The  co-op  lawyer  and  the  insurance  company  will  be  consulted  in advance  in  cases  where  an  admission  of  liability  by  the  co-op  may  result from  the  investigation.

23.    Other  procedures:  The  board  can  decide  to  follow  a  procedure  other than  the  one  stated  in  this  Attachment.

24.    When  board  can  refuse  to  consider  a  complaint:  The  board  can  decide not  to  consider  a  complaint  or  take  any  action  on  a  complaint.  This  could be  because  it  is  clear  that  the  complaint  is  without  merit,  trivial, frivolous,  made  in  bad  faith  or  it  could  be  for  other  reasons.  The  decision must  be  made  by  motion  appearing  in  the  confidential  minutes  of  a  board meeting.

25.    Interim  Action:  While  a  complaint  is  being  considered,  the  board  can decide  to  take  immediate  action  until  the  investigation  is  complete.

Depending  on  the  circumstances  this  could  include  such  things  as:

•    try  to  limit  contact  between  the  complainant  and  the  person complained  of; 
•    provide  extra  security,  if  appropriate;
•    arrange  for  counselling  or  other  help,  if  appropriate;
 •    consider  giving  staff  a  leave  of  absence;
•    removal  of  someone  from  the  On-call  or  other  committees.

INVESTIGATION  PROCESS

26.    Investigation  and  report:  After  the  initial  report  to  the  board,  then unless  the  board  has  decided  something  else,  the  complaint  will  be investigated  and  a  report  prepared  for  the  board.  The  investigation  will be  conducted  by  the  complaints  officer  or  an  outside  investigator  with the  involvement  of  the  complaints  officer.  This  part  of  the  Attachment refers  to  the  complaints  officer,  but  the  duties  and  activities  could  be performed  partly  by  an  outside  investigator.

27.    Disclosure  of  Complaint:  The  complaints  officer  will  show  the  complaint to  the  party  complained  about.  The  complaints  officer  may  decide  to  give that  person  a  copy.  This  is  subject  to  the  next  paragraph.

28.    Reprisals:  Where  reprisals  are  an  issue,  the  board  may  decide  to  withhold the  name  or  identifying  details  of  the  person  who  complained.  The  other party  may  only  be  provided  with  a  summary  of  the  complaint  in  order  to prevent  identification.  This  should  only  be  done  in  the  most  extreme circumstances.

29.    Representation:  The  party  who  complained  and  the  party  complained about  can  have  a  lawyer  or  other  representative  present  at  any  interview or  to  represent  that  party  generally.

30.    Interviews  and  review  of  files:  The  complaints  officer  will  be  entitled  to interview  persons  and  review  co-op  files  and  inspect  parts  of  the  co-op property,  as  necessary  for  the  investigation.  This  will  be  subject  to applicable  laws.

31.    Comments  in  response  to  complaint:  The  complaints  officer  will  ask  the party  complained  about  for  comments.  These  should  be  in  writing,  but the  complaints  officer  may  accept  oral  comments.

32.    Written  record  of  interviews:  The  complaints  officer  may  prepare  a written  statement  based  on  interviews  and  ask  the  person  interviewed  to sign  the  statement,  with  or  without  changes,  to  verify  the  contents.

33.    Information  on  investigation  progress:  The  complaints  officer  will  keep the  party  who  complained  and  the  party  complained  about  informed  of the  status  of  the  investigation.

34.    Failure  to  co-operate:  The  party  complained  about  may  refuse  to co-operate  with  the  complaints  officer  and  may  refuse  to  answer questions,  whether  oral  or  in  writing.  Failure  to  co-operate  or  answer questions  may  result  in  an  adverse  inference  by  the  complaints  officer.

35.    Right  of  response  to  go  to  board:  The  party  complained  about  will  have the  right  to  respond  to  any  complaint  in  writing  and  to  have  the  written response  form  part  of  the  report  to  the  board.

36.    Complaints  officer’s  report:  The  complaints  officer,  investigator  or  co-op lawyer  will  give  a  written  report  to  the  board.  This  will  be  confidential and  will  not  be  shown  to  either  the  party  who  complained  or  the  party complained  about  unless  the  board  decides  to  show  it  to  them.  The  report should  summarize  the  position  of  the  party  who  complained  and  the  party complained  about,  the  steps  in  the  investigation  process,  the  conclusions of  the  complaints  officer  and  any  recommendations.

37.    Timing:  The  investigation  will  be  completed  as  quickly  as  possible.  It should  not  normally  take  more  than  21  days  and  sometimes  much  less. The  delivery  of  the  report  should  be  timed  in  relation  to  a  board  meeting so  that  the  board  can  take  action  as  soon  as  possible.

BOARD  DECISION

38.    The  board  will  evaluate  the  complaint  and  the  report.  If  the  board determines  that  the  complaint  has  merit,  the  board  can  take  action  as  it considers  appropriate,  including  the  actions  stated  in  the  Human  Rights By-law.

RECORDS  OF  COMPLAINTS

39.    Member’s  file:  If  the  board  determines  that  a  complaint  against  a member  has  merit,  the  complaint,  any  report  and  a  record  of  the  board’s decision  on  it,  and  the  supporting  papers,  will  be  placed  in  the  member’s file,  unless  the  board  decides  not  to  do  this.  This  record  will  be  removed from  the  file  by  the  manager  two  years  after  insertion,  if  no  further meritorious  complaints have  been  made  within  the  two-year  period.

40.    Staff  file:  If  the  board  determines  that  a  complaint  against  staff  has merit,  the  complaint,  any  report  and  a  record  of  the  board’s  decision  on it  and  the  supporting  papers  will  be  placed  in  the  individual  staff member’s  file,  unless  the  board  decides  not  to  do  this.  This  record  will  be removed  from  the  file  by  the  President  two  years  after  insertion,  if  no further meritorious complaints have  been  made  within  the  two-year period.  If  the  board  decided  that  progressive  discipline  at  the  level  of written  reprimand  and/or  warning  or  greater  was  not  warranted,  the  two-year  period  will  be  reduced  to  one  year.

41.    When  no  action  on  complaint:  If  the  board  refuses  to  consider  a complaint  or  determines  that  a  complaint  does  not  have  merit  or  decides not  to  take  action  on  a  complaint,  the  complaint,  any  report  and  other papers  relating  to  it  will  not  be  placed  in  the  employee’s  or  member’s file,  unless  the  board  decides  to  place  them  in  the  file.  They  will  be retained  in  a  separate  file  dealing  with  complaints  and  will  not  be  used for  ordinary  matters,  such  as  letters  of  reference.

42.    After  removal:  After  a  complaint,  report  and  any  other  papers  relating  to it  have  been  removed  from  the  employee’s  or  member’s  file,  or  if  they are  not  placed  in  one  of  these  files,  they  will  be  retained  in  the  separate file  dealing  with  complaints  and  will  not  be  used  for  ordinary  matters, such  as  letters  of  reference.

CONFIDENTIALITY

43.    General:  All  persons  involved  should  at  all  times  be  conscious  of  the sensitivity  of  complaints  and  their  subject  matter  and  should  only  collect information  that  is  relevant  to  the  complaint  and  should  maintain  strict confidentiality  about  that  information  and  avoid  disclosure  except  to persons  who  have  a  need  to  know.  This  includes  information  about  the fact that there  was  a  complaint  and  about  the  investigation.

44.    Information  to  representatives:  The  party  who  filed  the  complaint  and the  party  complained  about  are  not  authorized  to  provide  their  lawyer  (or anyone  else)  with  confidential  or  personal  information  about  the  co-op  or any  employee,  member  or  occupant.  The  complaints  officer  will  provide the  lawyer  or  other  representative  with  all  necessary  information,  but only  if  the  complaints  officer  is  satisfied  that  there  are  adequate safeguards  in  place.  These  safeguards  could  include  such  things  as deleting  the  names  of  persons,  deleting  irrelevant  information  and obtaining  a  confidentiality  agreement  from  the  lawyer  or  other representative.  The  confidentiality  agreement  could  include  such  things as  keeping  the  information  confidential,  limiting  copying  of  the information  and  returning  the  information  when  the  matter  is  completed.

45.    Report  of  investigation:  The  report  of  the  complaints  officer  and  any outside  investigator  should  not  reveal  more  than  is  necessary  to  report  on the  investigation.  It  should  include  a  record  of  all  relevant  information.

46.    Unless  the  board  decides  something  else,  all  other  information  gathered in  connection  with  an  investigation  that  is  not  in  the  report  should  be retained  in  a  confidential  location  in  the  co-op  office  for  thirty  months after  the  board  has  received  the  report  and  then  destroyed.

47.    Board  action:  The  board  should  limit  what  is  disclosed  about  the  report and  the  board’s  action  for  the  protection  of  both  the  complainant  and  the party  complained  about.  This  is  true  even  when  a  complaint  has  been substantiated.

48.    Part  of  the  board’s  decision  will  be  what  information  about  the  action taken  by  the  board  will  be  given  to  the  party  who  complained.  That  party should  be  given  a  reasonable  explanation  of  what  the  board  has  done. However,  it  may  not  be  possible  to  give  that  person  all  the  information, such  as  if  it  involves  personal  health  information  about  the  other  party.

49.    Confidentiality  of  records  of  complaints:  The  materials  placed  in  a member’s  or  employee’s  file  under  this  Attachment  will  be  in  a confidential  part  of  the  file  and  will  not  be  available  to  the  member  or employee  unless  the  board  decides  something  else.  The  separate  file dealing  with  complaints  referred  to  in  this  Attachment  will  be confidential  and  will  not  be  available  except  to  staff  and  directors  with  a need  to  know.

 

ATTACHMENT B

WOODSWORTH  HOUSING  CO-OPERATIVE  INC.


Human Rights By-law Complaint Form


Please  print  or  type.  Add  additional  pages  if  needed.

Name  of  member  or
person  making  complaint:  _____________________________________________

Address:    __________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________

The  undersigned  is  making  a  complaint  to  the  co-op  about  a  violation  of  the  co-op’s
Human  Rights  By-law.

1.    Person  or  persons  complained  about  ____________________________________

2.    Date  or  approximate  date  of  incidents  ___________________________________

3.    What  was  done  that  broke  the  Human  Rights  By-law?

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.    I  am  enclosing  the  following  documents  or  papers,  if  any:

 

 

 

This  form  is  continued  on  the  next  page.  Add  additional  pages  if  needed.

5.    The  following  are  people  who  know  something  about  this.  I  understand
the  co-op  may  wish  to  contact  them:

 


6.    I  understand  that  this  complaint  may  be  shown  to  the  person  complained
about  and  that  person  may  be  given  a  copy.

7.    I  understand  that  where  reprisals  are  an  issue,  the  board  of  directors  may
decide  to  withhold  my  name  or  identifying  details  and  only  give  the  other
party  a  summary  of  the  complaint  in  order  to  prevent  identification.  I
understand  that  the  board  does  this  only  in  the  most  extreme
circumstances.

8.    I  request  the  board  to  withhold  my  name  or  identifying  details  and  only
give  the  person  complained  about  a  summary  of  the  complaint  as  stated
above.

Note:  Complainant  must  initial  here  if  making  this  request:  Initials  ________

Note:  The  board  will  only  consider  a  request  if  the  complainant’s  initials
are  above.  The  board  may  decide  not  to  agree  to  the  request.

9.    The  reasons  for  this  request  are:

 

10.    I  understand  that  the  Human  Rights  By-law  contains  other  rules  about confidentiality  of  information,  including  that

•    My  file  may  be  reviewed  as  part  of  the  investigation.

•    I  may  not  provide  confidential  information  about  the  co-op  or anyone  else  to  my  lawyer  or  representative  except  through  a complaints  officer  chosen  by  the  board  of  directors.

•    The  report  of  the  investigation  will  be  confidential  and  the  board may  decide  that  it  will  not  be  shown  to  me.

•    The  action  taken  by  the  board  may  be  confidential  and  I  may  be given  only  limited  information  about  it.

I  acknowledge  that  I  have  received  a  copy  of  the  Human  Rights  By-law  and I  have  had  an  opportunity  to  read  it  before  signing  this  complaint.  I consent  to  the  confidentiality  and  other  rules  in  the  Human  Rights  By-law.

The  information  in  this  complaint  is  accurate  and  complete  to  the  best  of
my  knowledge.

Date:  _____________________    Signature:  ____________________________________
Print  Name:

 

Downloadable PDF of the by-law:

For background information about this by-law, see http://www.woodsworthcoop.ca/index.php/by-laws/background-information-human-rights-law/
This  Attachment  contains  background  information  relating  to  the  Model  Human Rights  By-law.  It  does  not  form  part  of  the  By-law  itself. This  Attachment  may  be  updated  from  time  to  time.  The  CHF  Canada  website should  be  checked  for  the  most  recent  version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Duty to Accommodate in Housing Co-ops in Ontario

At the request of the Board of Directors, two members, John and Jennifer gave Woodsworth members an overview of the duty to accommodate under the Ontario Human Rights code. The focus was on how it applied to housing.
Here are the PowerPoint slides as presented at the November 12, 2014 meeting.

Co-ops and the Duty to Accommodate – a info session (2014)

Wednesday, November 12, 7 pm

Woodsworth strives to be an inclusive community, accessible to people of all ages and abilities. What role does the Ontario Human Rights Code play in ensuring co-ops, such as Woodsworth, respond to the needs of members with disabilities?

Woodsworth’s board of directors is pleased to sponsor Co-ops and the Duty to Accommodate under Ontario’s Human Rights Code, a presentation by our own John Fraser. Everyone is welcome, but we would strongly suggest that anyone on a core committee attend, or anyone who is thinking of running for the board or a committee. This is going to be a hot topic as members are aging. Please join us on Wednesday, November 12 @ 7:00 in the penthouse.

Update:
Missed the meeting? The presentation is on our website – The Duty to Accommodate in Housing Co-ops in Ontario

Strategies For Staying (S4S) Information Sources

A brief list of websites for services and legislation for members with disabilities, seniors and others living in Woodsworth Housing Coop in Toronto, Ontario.

211 Toronto
When you don't know where to turn – find community services in Toronto.

City of Toronto Seniors – services by category
Accommodation, transportation, health, library services, safety and more.

Continue reading “Strategies For Staying (S4S) Information Sources”