...Our work can be defined by three words: educate, empower and act. We worked hard to educate Ontarians about their rights and what to do when these rights are denied. And while we were educating them, they were also educating us – both about the causes and effects of discrimination and how we could assist in eliminating it.
We worked with sectors like education, police and local government to evaluate their operations through a human rights lens and make sure they were inclusive and welcoming to all. Thus empowered, municipal leaders are taking on racism and discrimination and police services are removing bias from within their organizations. Educators are striving to meet the needs of all the children in their communities.
And when education and partnership hasn’t been enough, we have taken other action. Examples include our intervention in the case of a woman who was ordered to remove her niqab before testifying in a sexual assault case, our work to ensure the Province of Ontario’s Special Diet Program does not discriminate, and our applications to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to make public transit across Ontario accessible to people with visual disabilities.
Action is not just about taking a case to a tribunal or court; sometimes it involves speaking out. There is a decline in respectful conversation in our society, especially when it comes to “tough” topics like racism, religion and how we deal with what seems to be a conflict of rights. But we must have those conversations – and the OHRC will continue to both lead them and find safe places in which they can occur.
This annual report offers a brief look at what the OHRC did in 2009/2010 to educate, empower and act..."Empower" is the operative word, alright. Only what's been "empowered" isn't the people. It's the people who have made it their business--their personal crusade--to micromanage the people (giving us "safe places" to "converse"--what bunkum!), and who could only do so under the guise of anti-discrimination, because what churl/"racist" could possibly object to that?
I say it's time to strip the mico-managers of their power and give it back to the people who should really have it--us. In other words: "EMPOWER" TO THE PEOPLE, NOT THE COMMISSARS!