By Lucy Costa, Advocate with the Empowerment Council
I support the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) policy and in fact, I support any and all avenues that discuss the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities and/or addictions – whether via the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or the CAMH Bill of Client Rights (pdf).
- Rights processes unsettle the status quo, they defeat denial by challenging powerful institutions or practices that entrench prejudice or inequality even in well-meaning individuals and organizations.
- The principle that one cannot be more or less human than any another member of our society is the most unprecedented act of love and equality we can all aspire to.
As limited as legal instruments may be, I believe we shouldn’t succumb to a buffet of opposing arguments for example, that rights are a “hollow hope” or, that rights “have gone too far” in protecting clients from needed treatment. This only succeeds in obscuring the significance and meaning of dialogue that can occur through tribunals, lower and higher courts particularly for people who are otherwise rendered voiceless.