Discriminatory signs and statements

The Human Rights Code prohibits the publication, broadcast, circulation or public display of any “sign, symbol, notice or statement”, that discriminates, or indicates an intention to discriminate, on the basis of a protected characteristic (such as ancestry).  The discriminatory sign or statement must be with respect to an activity or undertaking to which The Human Rights Code applies, such as public services, housing or employment.

For example, if a landlord posted a sign in the window of an apartment building that advertised a suite for rent, but said “No welfare”, this would be a discriminatory sign.  If a business that catered food to business and social gatherings said in its promotional brochure “We do not cater to homosexual organizations or gatherings”, this would be a discriminatory statement.

The Human Rights Code also prohibits the publication, broadcast, circulation or public display of a sign, symbol, notice or statement that “incites, advocates or counsels” discrimination with respect to a protected activity.  For example, someone distributing a flyer that urged employers not to hire members of a religious or ethnic group would be contravening this section.