Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.—
— Ontario Human Rights Code
In what could be a big win for little people, children under the age of 18 may now be able to complain they are being discriminated against due to their age, according to a ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
"It does have potential to open up a lot of complaints," said Cheryl Milne, a staff lawyer at Justice for Children and Youth, of the ruling made last Friday. Since the tribunal is a quasi-judicial body, the decision is not law unless it is adopted or cited by the courts. But age discrimination could be considered, for example, in cases of teenagers lingering in coffee shops who are asked to leave, or youths who are not allowed to buy items because of their age. "It's a big deal," Milne said. "They've never had any recourse before."
Currently, the Ontario Tribunal is hearing a claim for age discrimination for disabled children but how long before the first teenage files a claim for cigarettes or against the Beer Store? Laugh all you want at Ontario, but know this - this is a trend for the future and it will be coming soon to a Human Rights Tribunal in your province.