Areas and Grounds of Discrimination
Human rights complaints must fall under one of the following areas and relate to one of the grounds listed below.
Areas of Discrimination:
For example: renting an apartment or staying at a hotel or campground
Applying for a job, working on the job, being paid, being dismissed from a job or attending work related activities like conferences or socials.
For example: renting or purchase of property such as land, buildings, or cars. Both residential and commercial property are covered.
Participation in any of the groups listed above, including unions.
For example: publishing or displaying notices, signs or symbols which indicate discrimination or an intent to discriminate. It may also include advertising a job or apartment rental which excludes certain people from applying based on personal characteristics that are also protected grounds.
This area covers a wide range of public and private services such as using public transportation, eating at a restaurant, going to school or accessing a provincial government service.
Applying to volunteer, volunteering, or being asked to step down from a volunteer position.
Grounds of Discrimination:
You should not be denied a job or a service because of your age. The Act does not place a lower or upper limit on the protection against age discrimination.
There are exceptions to this protection such as the requirement to be 16 to get a driver's license or 19 to serve liquor. There are also exceptions in relation to some pension plan provisions.
You cannot be discriminated against because you associate with an individual or a group of individuals that falls under one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination. Association could include members of your family, friends, or others in your social circle.
Society forms ideas of race based on geographical, historical, political, social and cultural factors, as well as physical traits such as skin colour.
Ethnic origin refers to a person's roots or ancestry.
National origin is the country from which a person originates. Being from another province is not a protected ground.
This ground refers to a sincerely held belief which has some connection to an organization or community that professes a shared system of beliefs.
Not all members of the organization have to express their beliefs in exactly the same way.
This ground may not necessarily cover personal, moral, ethical or political views.
Discrimination based on criminal conviction is a protected ground under the Act in relation to the area of employment only.
A person cannot be dismissed or refused employment because they have been convicted of an offence that is unrelated to the position.
Example: A person with a driving conviction may be refused employment as a truck driver but not as an employee at a call centre.
A disability is a previous or existing intellectual, mental or physical condition that may result from an injury, illness, or birth defect. Temporary illnesses such as a cold or flu are not covered. Drug and alcohol addiction are covered under disability.
If you live with a disability, you should have access to the same services and employment opportunities as those without disabilities. Changes may need to be made by employers or service providers to allow you to have equal and meaningful access to a job or service.
Family status relates to an individual's status of being in a parent and child relationship, biologically or through adoption. Marital status is if an individual is married, single, widowed, divorced, separated or, in a common-law relationship.
When and who you tell of your family and marital status is your choice. Potential employers, landlords, volunteer organizations, and service providers are not to ask or imply questions related to your family or marital status. Landlords may ask how many people will live in a unit.
Gender expression is everything we do that expresses or communicates gender. This can include clothing, hairstyle, mannerisms, way of speaking, chosen name, preferred pronouns, etc.
Gender expression may reflect someone's gender identity, but this is not always the case.
Gender identity is who you know yourself to be. That may be a man, woman, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. There are many ways people identify their gender.
Gender identity cannot be observed or measured, only reported by the individual. You have the right to work and receive services using your own gender identity even if it is different from your identifying documents.
This ground offers protection against retaliation to individuals who have filed or assisted anyone with a complaint at the Human Rights Commission. This ground also protects people who have given evidence during an investigation or at a human rights panel hearing.
An example would be that if you assisted in an investigation against a landlord, they or other landlords cannot hold that against you when you apply to rent a property.
Political belief is belief in a particular political ideology or affiliation with a political party registered under Section 24 of the Election Act (i.e. Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green, etc.)
In order to claim discrimination on the ground of political belief, you must show evidence that you are a member, active participant, or contribute to a registered political party.
This ground refers to the classification of people at birth as boy, girl, or intersex, as well as the social characteristics associated with that sex.
This ground also covers discrimination complaints related to sexual harassment or pregnancy.
A person's sexual orientation is how they are attracted emotionally, romantically and sexually to other people.
All sexual orientations are protected, including Two Spirit, homosexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality, pansexuality, and asexuality.
This ground refers to where or how you obtain your income and is not related to the amount or level of income you earn.
For example, being refused a service or accommodation because your main source of income is Financial Assistance is not allowed under the Human Rights Act.
Did you know?
- The PEI Human Rights Commission was established September 11, 1976, under the Minister of Labour.
- Reverend James Kelly was the first Chairperson, and Paul Mullin and Bea Mair were the first Commissioners of the PEI HRC.
- One of the first recommendations the Commission made to Government was a request that the Attorney General legislate accommodation of persons who used "seeing-eye dogs."
- As an employee, your employer must be aware of your needs before they can accommodate them. Open communication with appropriate documentation is important.
- No one has the right to stop you from breastfeeding in public. No one should disturb you or ask you to cover up.
- The only way to learn how someone identifies their gender or sex is to have a conversation. People should be referred to using preferred pronouns, regardless of what their ID or driver’s license says.
- A rule or practice to “treat everyone the same” may have the unintentional effect of discriminating against certain people.