Human Rights, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy

Durham District School Board (DDSB) is committed to providing services, employment and learning and working environments that centre Indigenous rights, human rights and equity and are welcoming, respectful, safe, inclusive, equitable, accessible and free from all forms discrimination, harassment, racism, oppression and harm. 

This is in keeping with our responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights CodeAnti-Racism ActAccessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act and Ministry of Education strategies and policy and program directives.

The DDSB’s Human Rights, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy (the “Human Rights Policy") and procedures outline how the DDSB will meet these commitments and responsibilities.

DDSB recognizes that Indigenous rights are distinct. In the exercise of those rights, Indigenous staff and students shall not be subjected to actions with the aim or effect of depriving these distinct rights. For more information about Indigenous rights, visit the Indigenous Education webpage and read the Indigenous Education Policy and Indigenous Education Procedure on Classroom Practices: Teaching and Learning. 

Visit the Equity and Inclusive Education and Accessibility webpages for more information on initiatives underway to support the policy and procedures and how we are putting the policy into practice to promote equitable experiences, opportunities and outcomes for students and employees.

Human rights at the DDSB

The DDSB recognizes that protecting, upholding and promoting human rights are necessary to: 

  • Support students’ and employees’ learning and success. 

  • Foster a culture of care where students and employees can thrive and have a sense of safety, well-being, engagement and belonging.  

As a service provider and an employer, the DDSB is committed to meeting its legal responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code, including the duty to accommodate and to proactively identify, prevent and address potential discrimination and harassment.

Did you know? The Ontario Human Rights Code protects Ontarians from discrimination and harassment in services like school/education and in employment based on prohibited grounds of discrimination: age, ancestry, citizenship, colour, creed/religion, disability, ethnic origin, family status, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, place of origin, race, record of offences (in employment only), sex and sexual orientation.

This means that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to be free from all forms of discrimination in DDSB learning and working environments.  It also means we all have a shared responsibility to treat one another with respect and to not discriminate against anyone because of (or based on) a prohibited ground(s).

What is the DDSB doing?

To meet the DDSB’s commitments and responsibilities, the DDSB will (among other things):

  • Listen to students, families and employees who are discriminated against and centre their voices and experiences.
  • Respect and honour the identities of all community members.
  • Apply human rights, anti-discrimination and anti-racism principles to all decisions and actions and to everything we do in order to identify, prevent and address discrimination.
  • Work together with students, employees and communities to help us understand what’s working, what isn’t and what we need to do differently so that everyone can come to school and work and feel safe, welcome and included. 
  • Continue to learn more about all forms of discrimination in our schools, workplaces and communities.
  • Let everyone know what steps we are taking to support this work.

DDSB wilalso take action to meet the responsibilities outlined in the Human Rights Policy and procedures

This means we will:

  • Provide caring and safe learning and working environments that:
    • Respect and protect human rights.
    • Welcome, value, expect, include, affirm and reflect students’, families’, employees’ and communities’ diverse identities, family structures, lived realities and experiences, perspectives, strengths, abilities, talents, skills, cultures, histories and achievements, and honour and support the expression of their identities.
    • Promote high expectations and achievement.
    • Remove barriers to success.
  • Reflect on, analyze and address systems of power and privilege, and discriminatory and inequitable experiences, opportunities and outcomes.
  • Identify, prevent and address discriminatory barriers, disadvantages, disparities, disproportionalities and harm. 
  • Intentionally address all forms of discrimination (including and not limited to racism, ableism, sexism, faithism/religious discrimination, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and classism) in DDSB learning and working environments.
  • Increase equitable experiences, access, opportunities and outcomes for students and employees. 
  • Consider a student’s or employee’s Human Rights Code related needs on an individual basis, and provide accommodation when required to the point of undue hardship.
  • Have accessible, fair, safe and effective human rights issue and complaint resolution processes. 
  • Take into account individual, systemic and intersectional factors and unique barriers for Indigenous Peoples, Black peoples, racialized peoples, people with disabilities and different abilities, people who identify as members of 2SLGBTQI communities and people who identify as members of groups that are discriminated against, marginalized and minoritized because of creed/religion and all other Human Rights Code protected grounds and socioeconomic status when making decisions that affect them. 
  • Not treat anyone differently because of biases, assumptions or stereotypes associated with a Human Rights Code related ground or combination of grounds (e.g., ancestry, race, ability/disability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, creed/religion, etc.). 
  • Identify and address workplace harassment under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Hold people accountable for upholding human rights and preventing discrimination in DDSB learning and working environments. 
Human Rights, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy, Procedures and Accountability Framework

Following an extensive two-phased18-month community consultation process, the Board of Trustees approved the Human Rights, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy (the “Human Rights Policy”) at the Board Meeting of May 16, 2022.

What do the policy and procedures cover? 

The policy provides direction on how the DDSB will uphold rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code, related legislation and Ministry of Education directives related to human rights.

Three procedures and an accountability framework provide additional guidance on how we will meet the requirements of the policy.

The policy, three procedures and framework are listed below along with a summary of each document and a brief description of what each document is about.

Read the full document and/or summary for more information.

Policy development and consultation process  

The policy development and consultation process is now closedLearn more about the policy development and consultation process, including the approach, consultation plan, FAQs, etc.: 

We sincerely thank students, parents/guardians, employees, affinity groups, stakeholders, partners and community members for their valuable input throughout the two-phased consultation process between October 2020 and January 2022. All feedback was carefully considered and helped to shape the Human Rights Policy. We sincerely appreciated all suggestions and comments! 

Board of Trustees review and approval 

The Board of Trustees approved the Human Rights, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy at the Board Meeting of May 16, 2022.

Prior to approval, the Board of Trustees carefully reviewed and revised the draft policy at six Governance and Policy Committee meetings held between October 25, 2021 and March 24, 2022.


Where can I find more information about accessibility?
DDSB has responsibilities to address all forms of ableism, provide an equitable and inclusive education environment for all community members, and to uphold the objectives and requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code. For more information about accessibility at the DDSB, please visit the Accessibility page and review the Accessibility Procedure. 
What is accommodation?

Accommodation means adjusting services, programs and practices to remove barriers and better respond to or address individual Human Rights Code related needs. The DDSB has a legal duty to accommodate students’ and employees’ Human Rights Code related needs. This means providing accommodation that:  

  • Respects the student’s or employee’s dignity and individual needs.

  • Maximizes integration, participation and independence. 

The accommodation process is a shared responsibility and the DDSB will work cooperatively with the student/parent/guardian or employee (and the employee’s union representative, where appropriate) to consider accommodation options and solutions.

Read the Human Rights Inclusive Design and Accommodation Procedure and summary for more information.

How do I request an accommodation?

Tell us. If you need accommodation, we want to know so we can address it. Your request will be handled confidentially and with sensitivity.

DDSB also has resources and staff [educators, support staff, professional services staff, principals, superintendents, Indigenous Education, Equity and Inclusive Education, Positive School Climates, Mental Health and Well Being, Inclusive Student Services, Human Rights and Equity Advisor, People and Culture (Human Resource Services), etc.] to support accommodation needs and to help make learning and working environments more inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

Read the Human Rights Inclusive Design and Accommodation Procedure and summary for more information.
Students, parents/guardians and community members

Contact your teacher, principal or another DDSB employee by phone or email, or use the Student/Family Accommodation Request Form (coming soon). The form will have further information, including where to send the form and who to contact if you need help filling it out.


Contact your manager/supervisor, union/federation representative (if applicable) or People and Culture (Human Resource Services) by phone or email, or use the Employee Accommodation Request Form (coming soon). The form will have further information, including where to send the form and who to contact if you need help filling it out.


How do I raise/report a human rights issue, or make a complaint?

Tell us. If you are experiencing discrimination, we want to know so we can address it. DDSB takes these matters very seriously and handles human rights issues and complaints confidentially and with sensitivity.

DDSB also has resources and staff [educators, support staff, principals, superintendents, Indigenous Education, Equity and Inclusive Education, Positive School Climates, Mental Health and Well Being, Inclusive Student Services, Human Rights and Equity Advisor, People and Culture (Human Resource Services), etc.] to help identify, prevent, addressrespond to and correct discrimination and make learning and working environments more inclusive and welcoming for everyone. 

Did you know?  The DDSB has a Human Rights and Equity Advisor who provides advice to the senior team on systemic human rights issues. The DDSB is also hiring a Human Rights Investigator who will investigate complaints assigned to them. These roles help the DDSB proactively prevent discrimination and effectively respond to and address allegations of discrimination.   

Students, parents/guardians and community members  
  • If you would like to report an incident or raise an issue to be resolved through an informal process, please contact your teacherschool principal or another DDSB employee. The principal will review the issue, consult with DDSB resources/staff and resolve the matter as quickly as possible. This may include a plan for restorative action where appropriate. 

  • If you would like to file a formal complaint, contact your school's Superintendent of Equitable Education by phone or email or submit complaint form coming soonFind the name of the school superintendent on the school’s webpageFind your school here.  

Learn more about your rights as well as options and the steps that can be taken to address your concern:

Note: For student/family human rights issues or complaints involving other students and families, refer to the Code of Conduct. 


For employee human rights complaints involving other employees, please refer to:

Contact your manager/supervisor, your union/federation representative (where appropriate) or People and Culture (Human Resource Services.)

Note: For employee human rights issues or complaints involving non-employee DDSB community members, refer to the Code of Conduct.


The Human Rights Policy and procedures outline responsibilities for students, parent/guardians, employees and community members to uphold human rights and prevent discrimination in DDSB schools and workplaces. The policy also defines policy violations and outlines consequences for violations.

The policy package also includes specific actions for all employees - including the Director of Education (and designates), superintendents, managers, supervisors, system department and corporate services staff, school principals and everyone who works in schools and/or works directly with students and families - to help meet individual and organizational responsibilities and the requirements of the Human Rights Policy.

The DDSB will hold itself accountable to students and to the communities it serves and will show accountability in a variety of ways (for example, through regular data collection and analysis, public reporting, operational strategies and plans, etc.).

Read the Human Rights Roles, Responsibilities and Accountability Framework and summary for more information. 

Additional resources

For more information about human rightsanti-racism and accessibility in Ontario and related Ministry of Education direction, please visit: 

This site continues to be updated and additional materials (such as accommodation request forms, complaint forms and other resources) will be added soon. Check back regularly for updates.