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Human Rights; Damages; Discrimination


The authors present the results of a comprehensive quantitative analysis of general damages awards issued by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario from 2000 to 2015. From the results, the authors argue that general damages awards continue to be too low to reflect the importance of the equality rights protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. While many expected that general damages awards would increase as a result of amendments to the Code that took effect in 2008, the data reveals that the range of the vast majority of general damages awards has remained relatively unchanged following the legislative reforms. After adjusting for inflation, the data reveals that the range has decreased in real terms. The authors consider what steps the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, the courts and the legislature might take to increase the size of general damages awards. The authors also argue that general damages need to be increased to reflect the magnitude of discriminatory harms and to promote a culture of human rights compliance.

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