Ontario's newly streamlined human rights watchdog is swamped with allegations of sex, race and disability discrimination, the Star has found.
"We are really overwhelmed by our volume of cases now," said Katherine Laird, the senior official whose job it is to support people who say they are victims. "Our phones are ringing off the hook."Let's see: prior to the new "streamlining," there was only a trickle of complaints. Now, all of a sudden, there's a deluge.
The Ontario Attorney General created a new human rights system nearly two years ago, making it easier for people with claims to get a hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
Laird's office, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, helps claimants going before the tribunal, but its telephones are so jammed that staff answered just 57 per cent of the 38,579 calls it received in the year ending March 31.
Ontario Human Rights Commission chair Barbara Hall believes only a small number of cases are ever reported. "This is the tip of the iceberg," she says.
It is too soon to determine whether discrimination is on the rise or if this deluge is the effect of public awareness campaigns for the new system. But the Star's examination of at least 50 public cases and dozens of normally private mediated ones gives a stark picture of rampant racism and discrimination...
Yup, we must be really, really "racist". Selma, Alabama, circa 1960 racist. Jo-burg, S.A. apartheid-era "racist". And if Babs and her intrepid anti-prejudice warriors hadn't "streamlined" things and held up that societal mirror for all to see, however would we have known how truly awful we are?
That ought to keep Babs and the other commissars busy for years.