Veganism Could Be Included in Ontario Human Rights Law
The Human Rights Code of Ontario aims to protect people from discrimination. Discrimination can be based on race, age, gender identity, sex, religion and creed.
While the term creed was not defined in the original legislation, it is now being elaborated on as something different from religion, and ethical veganism could fall under this category.
In 2011, the Ontario Human Rights Commission had begun consultations in order to update the policy on creed, with an important decision being if the term should include non-religious secular, moral, or ethical belief systems.
The animal rights community were active during this consultation process, arguing that ethical veganism should be considered a creed to be protected by law. The inclusion into the Human Rights Code would mean, for example, that vegan meals would have to be provided in government-run spheres such as hospitals, and that students who refuse to take part in dissecting animals in school would not be penalized.
In December, the Commission updated the policy on discrimination based on creed, and did include that it is in fact not limited to religion. The updated policy stated:
“Creed may also include non-religious belief systems that, like religion, substantially influence a person’s identity, worldview and way of life.”
The policy is created in order to provide some guidance to all service providers on ways to respect all types of human rights, and the new inclusion would include ethical veganism.
The final decision on any creed-related claims will ultimately be made by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, which is responsible for hearing and making a ruling on all human rights claims. However, with the creed definition firmly in place, it seems that at the very least, animal rights and veganism will now be protected under law!
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