What Are the Protected Grounds in Ontario

Protected Grounds Under Ontario’s Human Rights Code

The terms ‘protected grounds’ and ‘prohibited grounds’ are fundamental to the Ontario Human Rights Code, a cornerstone of anti-discrimination law in Ontario since 1962. This article will guide you through the nuances of these terms, their implications for individuals and organizations, and how they work together to uphold human rights.

What Are Protected Grounds?

Protected grounds are specific characteristics that are legally protected against discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code. These characteristics are essential to an individual’s identity and are safeguarded to ensure equality and prevent discrimination.

The Recognized Protected Grounds Include:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, color, or race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status
  • Gender identity or gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offenses (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation

How to Identify and Challenge Discrimination

If you encounter discrimination, it’s important to recognize whether it falls under a protected or prohibited ground:

  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of the incident, including communications and witness statements.
  • Legal Advice: Consult with a human rights lawyer to understand your rights and the appropriate steps to take.
  • Reporting: Report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO).

Learn About the Human Rights Application Process in Ontario

Gain a thorough understanding of the Human Rights Application Process in Ontario through our exclusive webinar. This 30-minute presentation, including a Q&A session, guides you through the necessary forms and steps to file an HRTO application. It’s an invaluable resource exclusively available on our website.

Proactive Measures to Prevent Discrimination

Organizations should implement proactive strategies to ensure compliance with human rights laws:

  • Develop comprehensive policies that clearly define acceptable behavior and consequences for discrimination.
  • Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees and management on their rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code.


Both protected and prohibited grounds play critical roles in the enforcement of human rights in Ontario. Understanding these terms can empower individuals and organizations to stand against discrimination and promote a fair, inclusive society.

Contact Achkar Law

For further assistance with discrimination issues or to understand more about your rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code, contact Achkar Law.

Phone toll-free at 1 (800) 771-7882 | Email at [email protected]

Protecting Your Human Rights in Ontario

In Ontario, everyone has the right to be free from discrimination and harassment in various spheres of life, including employment, housing, and services. Understanding and asserting your human rights can be challenging, especially when facing discrimination or navigating complex legal processes. If you believe your human rights have been violated, Achkar Law can provide the support and representation you need. Our dedicated team is committed to advocating for your rights, offering expert legal advice to ensure justice and equality are upheld.