Today is a double-whammy of stupidity from the OHRC. It would be funny if it wasn’t so scary.
First: The OHRC has a list of demands for Ontario when it comes to disability access. In rejecting the Ontario government’s Integrated Accessability Plan, which sets out some ground rules – with already generous compromises – in how far businesses and organizations need to go to satisfy provincial accessibility requirements. Once again, the OHRC proves that it is not only out of touch with the reality with its open-ended demands on small businesses, it also appears to hold contempt for our elected parliament which is tasked with the creation of these ground rules.
To give a few examples, the government mandated that one car of every mass-transit train be equipped to handle the disabled; the OHRC insists that every car be equipped. Volunteer and faith-based organizations are not required to abide by the disability employment regulations; the OHRC wants both to enact the expensive requirements. Small businesses were given a grandfather clause and a timeline to full complaince; the OHRC wants to put many of them out of business by insisting on immediate and total compliance, including “accessible” websites. Furthermore, the OHRC wants to drive small publishing companies into bankruptcy by requiring every published material to also be available in “accessible” formats.
Reality is not exactly the OHRC’s strong point.
Second: A presentation to school boards and teachers by OHRC employee Evadne Macedo is frightening on several levels. First, it stresses that Ontario’s Human Rights Code is supreme over the Education Act; while this is legally true, it’s a thinly veiled threat to the Catholic schools who have demostrated some reticence in implementing the “equity” policy and have often appealed to the Education Act to assert their independence.
But going a little further, it might give you pause in sending your children to a government-regulated school in Ontario. Besides pummeling the teachers with “human rights mitigation factors” with respect to discipline, the OHRC also eviscerates such a notion as a “zero-tolerance policy”. Further, it notes that “accommodation must precede discipline”. In other words, misbehaviour is relative, and suspensions will be frowned upon by the OHRC. Unless the kid is white, able-bodied, and straight.
Even worse, teachers and school boards are required by the OHRC to proactively “address historical disadvantages”, i.e. positive discrimination or affirmative action. I don’t know about you, but giving some kids an advantage over other kids only because of their race or sexual orientation doesn’t exactly seem right.
h/t Catholic Insight
Third: An opinion piece in the Edmonton Sun on the brouhaha over religious symbols:
The Supreme Court has embraced the common sense notion that symbols may have as much or more to do with tradition as they do with religion. In such cases, even if the ultrasensitive find the symbol “offensive,” this discomfort is simply part of the burden of people living together. We must face the fact that, no matter what we do, no matter how we come down on this issue, someone’s sensibilities will be offended.