TORONTO – Details of a Board of Inquiry ruling on racism in Ontario’s correctional facilities will be distributed today to all employees of the Ministry of Public Safety and Security.
The Board of Inquiry, appointed by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), has ordered the Ministry to distribute a summary of two Board rulings, one from 1998 and one from 2002. The rulings relate to human rights complaints by Michael McKinnon, a Correctional Officer of native Canadian ancestry.
“It is extremely unusual for an adjudicator to order a Ministry to distribute a summary of a ruling to every employee,” said Tim Hadwen, General Counsel for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. “I think this reflects the adjudicator’s frustration with the Ministry’s failure to take systemic racism seriously in our correctional facilities.”
In a 1998 decision, the Board of Inquiry found that McKinnon’s workplace, the Toronto East Detention Centre, was “poisoned by racial harassment and discrimination.” The Board ordered the Ministry to compensate McKinnon, provide other remedies, and establish an extensive human rights training program at all correctional facilities. The 2002
decision found that the Ministry had failed to provide a satisfactory program in a timely manner.
Summaries of the 1998 and 2002 Board of Inquiry decisions, and the Ministry's covering letter, are available on the OPSEU web site at http://www.opseu.org/legal/mckinnondecision.htm.
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For more information:
Tim Hadwen, OPSEU General Counsel (416) 443-8888 ext. 230
Veena Verma, Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish (416) 964-5508