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Sexual orientation

It is the emotional, emotional or sexual attraction to someone. For example, being heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

A person cannot discriminate or harass you because of your sexual orientation. The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms prohibits anyone to:

  • treat you differently because of your sexual orientation
  • make offensive and repeated comments to you related to your sexual orientation
  • behave repeatedly in an offensive manner towards you in relation to your sexual orientation
This video presents the topic of sexual orientation in American Sign Language (ASL) 

Do you believe you are being discriminated against or harassed because of your sexual orientation?

The Commission can help you recognize discrimination or harassment and take action to prevent or stop discriminatory behaviour.

Discrimination Harassment Defending your rights

Discriminated against in a shop

Julie is working for a gay rights advocacy group. She goes to a printer to get some flyers printed for a fundraising activity organized by her group. The printer refuses to do business with her because he is “against gays and lesbians”. The printer does not have the right to refuse to do business with Julie because she is a lesbian or because he believes she is a lesbian. This is discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Discrimination because of sexual orientation

Armando and Alexander have been in a relationship for 5 years. This year, they decided to get married, so they made appointments to visit several wedding venues. On their first visit, the manager apologized and told them that he could not do business with them because he was “against gay marriage and against homosexuality.” The manager is not allowed to refuse to do business with them for the reason that they are gay. This is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Did you know?

In 1977, the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms was amended to include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination. Québec then became the first province in Canada to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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Useful links

Find all our publications, training and other resources available on this gound. 

Resources on sexual orientation