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What are human rights and how do they apply to your everyday life?

Ontarians are governed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Under these regulations, living in a democracy grants us the rights to live, grow, learn and earn in respectful environments. We are allowed to enjoy religious and other rights and freedoms and pursue peaceful goals and objectives.

We have the right to have access to jobs in a fair and equitable manner and have basic legal rights regardless of:

  • Country of origin
  • Racial background
  • Religious beliefs
  • Political beliefs
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Mental of physical ability
  • Family or marital status
  • Receipt of public assistance

Human rights include civil rights, economic rights, social rights and cultural rights.

Civil rights can be further tabulated as:

  • The right to live
  • The right to freedom and liberty
  • The right to take part in political issues
  • The right to express ourselves freely, as long as we do not infringe on the rights of others.

Economic, social and cultural rights are:

  • The right to work
  • The right to have decent shelter, food, clothing, housing, medical care and to be healthy and comfortable
  • The right to get an education
  • The right to enjoy the arts
  • The right to share in scientific advancement and its benefits

Source: Human Rights for Every Woman: A Clear and Simple Guide, 1994: Scarborough Women’s Centre – quoted with permission from the Centre.

This excellent resource was written by the Scarborough Women’s Centre and is pertinent to all Canadian residents.

In subsequent articles, I will examine the importance of human rights being enshrined in our democracy and some problems that may arise when human rights are ignored or violated. We will also look at students’ rights in our schools.          

 – Dr Vicki Bismilla


• Dr Vicki Bismilla is a retired Superintendent of Schools and retired college Vice-President, Academic, and Chief Learning Officer. 

Posted: Aug 2, 2017

April 2019

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

© CanadaBound Immigrant 2016