Access to Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario vital for both unionized and non-unionized workers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

TORONTO, March 8, 2022 – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) believes that preventing unionized workers from taking claims of discrimination and harassment to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) will strip union members of fundamental rights and undermine work to build more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplaces. Further, the exceptionally short time-frame that the HRTO provided for input on this important decision effectively excluded members of the public, including those members most likely to be impacted by the outcome, from having any input into the Tribunal’s deliberations.

“Access to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination is a fundamental human right,” said Sue Wurtele, President of OCUFA. “The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario should do the right thing and make sure all workers in Ontario, regardless of whether they belong to a union or not, are able to bring claims of mistreatment to the HRTO and put them on the public record.”

If the HRTO decides to exclude union members from being able to bring forward claims of discrimination and harassment, it will set back efforts to address processes, policies, and workplace behaviours that disproportionately harm women; those who are Black, Indigenous, racialized, or LGBTQS+; people with disabilities; and individuals from other marginalized groups. Providing only a week for public input sends the damaging signal that feedback from these communities is not valued.

“The HRTO has a duty to uphold the Human Rights Code of Ontario and combat the systemic discrimination that continues to pollute our workplaces,” said Wurtele. “The Tribunal is more important now than ever and must keep its doors open to all Ontarians.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member associations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at


For more information, contact:
Ben Lewis, Communications Lead at 416-306-6033 or