OHRC launches survey on discrimination based on mental health and addiction disabilities

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recently launched a survey to learn more about the human rights issues and barriers people with mental health and addiction disabilities face. The survey kicks off a broader consultation process on human rights and mental health-related issues.

The questions are aimed at learning how discrimination because of a person's mental health issue or addiction may affect their ability to find and keep a job, get an apartment or connect with education and health-related services.

"Mental health is a priority for the OHRC," says Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall. "There are many ways we will add our voice to advancing rights for people living with mental health and addiction issues; the first step is to open this dialogue with the people who know first-hand the lived realities of mental health challenges."

The surveys are part of a broader public consultation that will hear stories from people with mental health disabilities and addictions, their families and friends, employers, service providers and housing providers in a number of communities across Ontario.

The OHRC will apply what it learns to its work in this area, which will include developing an effective, meaningful and relevant policy to help people living with mental health and addiction-related disabilities as well as the people who serve and employ them.

The survey is available online in two different formats, one for people with a mental health disability or addiction, and one for friends and family members. People are invited to fill out the survey online or print it out and mail it to the OHRC before the end of February 2011.

More information is available on the OHRC website at www.ohrc.on.ca, and regular updates will be posted on Facebook and Twitter.