Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services?

The Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services provides advice, consultation, information and educational forums on the following:

  • Anti-Racism
  • Human Rights
  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Freedom of Information
  • Access and Privacy
  • Employment Equity
  • Diversity Awareness

In matters of discrimination and harassment, your rights are protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code and by the George Brown College Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

Is your office just for students?

The Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services assists all students, staff, faculty and administration that study and work at the college.

Where do I go for issues that are not really human rights related?

The Student Association & Student Services have people available to assist students with non-Human Rights issues.

What are Human Rights?

The term 'human rights' covers many different fundamental rights and freedoms. These are all based on the recognition that all people are equal in dignity. They are essential for everyone's enjoyment of life. They are designed to safeguard human integrity, freedom and equality.

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the "Code") is for everyone. It is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific areas such as jobs, housing and services. The Code's goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, colour, sex, disability and age, to name some of the sixteen grounds.

The Code was one of the first laws of its kind in Canada. Before 1962, various laws dealt with different kinds of discrimination. The Code brought them together into one law and added some new protections. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the "Commission") administers and enforces the Code. However, an independent body separate from the Commission, called a Board of Inquiry, makes the ultimate decision in a complaint.

Does everyone have the same human rights?

All GBC college students, staff, faculty, management, administrators, contractors and visitors to the college are covered by the College’s The Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment Policy which adheres to the Ontario Human Rights.

Can my rights be taken away from me?

A person's human rights cannot be taken away as they are law in Ontario. However, this doesn't mean that abuses and violations of human rights don't occur. This is why having a complaints process in place and ongoing Human Rights education is essential.

What does Equity mean?

Equity refers to fairness, or principles of justice, aimed to redress inequalities in opportunity experienced by some students. Equity does not mean treating everyone in the same way but means treating people in a fair and flexible way, recognizing that all people have different needs and that some groups experience disadvantage, which impedes the educational progress.

How do I make a complaint?

You can make a formal complaint to a Chair or Manager of a department or any other appropriate administrator depending on the nature of the complaint and the identity of the people involved. Complaints may also be made to an Advisor in Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services, who will help you through the process.

What types of complaints can I make?

Complaints about human rights discrimination and harassment can be made under any of the prohibited grounds covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code and GBC's Human Rights, Discrimination & Harassment Policy, which are:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Class (not covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code)
  • Ethnic origin (including culture, language, dialect, accent or custom)
  • Place of origin
  • Creed (religion),
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation

To learn more, access

Can I make an anonymous complaint?

Anyone can make an anonymous complaint however it must be acknowledged that anonymous complaints are very difficult to act upon since there is no identifiable complainant. All formal complaints require a written submission of the complaint which will be shared with the respondent in the case.

Will it cost me anything to make a complaint?

The college’s process is free to all students, staff, faculty, administrators and visitors to the college.

Who will represent me?

The college does not provide legal representation to any parties. You can bring a support person or representative to any meetings. We offer a confidential safe place to discuss your concern or complaint. We will show you options and the steps to deal with the issue.

What happens if I decide I do not want to continue with my complaint?

People sometimes change their mind about continuing with their complaint or they may negotiate an outcome with the respondent before their complaint is closed. You can withdraw your complaint at any time during the process without penalty. You should write and advise the Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services that you do not want to continue with the complaint or contact the advisor or administrator handling your complaint and inform them in writing that you do not wish to continue.

I’m here on a student visa. Does it still apply to me?

Yes, the Human Rights, Discrimination & Harassment Policy at the college applies to all students, staff and administration at the college.

I’m a Con-Ed student. Who do I see for assistance?

You can take your concerns to a Chair or manager of the department in the Con-Ed area or any other appropriate administrator depending on the nature of the complaint and the identity of the people involved.

If I work for the Student Association, can I still go to your office for assistance?

Yes, our services are open for all GBC students, staff, faculty, and administrators.

Can a professor fail me if I make a complaint? Will making a complaint affect my marks?

Making a complaint should not affect your marks. It is the responsibility of the administrator handling the complaint to ensure that reprisal does not occur. The Human Rights, Discrimination & Harassment Policy has clear language protecting you from reprisal.

Can you come into my classroom and do a presentation?

Frequently, faculty invites us to their classes to present on issues concerning anti-racism, equity and human rights. If you are interested in us coming to your class, please ask your professor to invite us to facilitate a session.

Who should I talk to if my disability is not being accommodated in a class?

You may speak to your Accessible Learning Services Consultant, the Chair of your program, or contact an Advisor in the Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Human Rights Services.

Where are the accessible washrooms?

Visit campus locations and detailed floor plans showing accessibility features, department and services guide.