Posts by Safia Lakhani

The right to refuse work: How does it work during a pandemic?

May 7th, 2020 by Safia Lakhani

Join Safia Lakhani on Wednesday May 13 for her webinar “Considerations for employers during COVID-19” where she will discuss the right to refuse work among other topics.

For those working during the pandemic ‑ and for those who will return to work in the coming weeks and months – the question of work refusals remains front of mind. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act RSO 1990, c. O. 1 (Section 43), a worker in Ontario may refuse work where s/he has reason to believe that:

 (a) any equipment, machine, device or thing the worker is to use or operate is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker;

(b) the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is likely to endanger himself or herself [emphasis added];

(b.1) workplace violence is likely to endanger himself or herself; or

(c) any equipment, machine, device or thing he or she is to use or operate or the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is in contravention of this Act or the regulations and such contravention is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker.  R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 43 (3); 2009, c. 23, s. 4 (2).

Continue reading “The right to refuse work: How does it work during a pandemic?” »

Housing in the time of COVID-19

March 27th, 2020 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

The first cases of COVID-19 are suspected to have occurred in Wuhan, China late last year. A few short months later, it has had far reaching and devastating consequences for economies around the world. Along with the loss of regular social contact and increasing uncertainty in employment, some will be at risk of losing access to housing. While several international treaties recognize housing as a human right, few governments have enacted domestic laws that ensure access to adequate housing for all citizens. In the midst of this global pandemic, calls for social distancing and sheltering in place are meaningless without access to shelter. Continue reading “Housing in the time of COVID-19” »

Human Rights: Can ethical veganism be counted as a creed?

June 5th, 2019 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects individuals from discrimination in various contexts, including employment, accommodation and the provision of goods and services. While most of the 14 grounds enumerated in the code are self-explanatory, the recent case of Adam Knauff, a vegan firefighter who has alleged discrimination on the basis of “creed” for the failure to accommodate his diet raises questions about the intended scope of this protected ground, and whether it may be interpreted to accommodate his claim.   Continue reading “Human Rights: Can ethical veganism be counted as a creed?” »

Ontario rollbacks to sex-ed curriculum prompt legal challenges

December 20th, 2018 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Though the election was only six months ago, the array of changes (or “rollbacks”) ushered in by the Ford regime is dizzying: from backtracking on the cap-and-trade program to cancelling the basic income pilot project, the government has wasted little time in cracking down on the initiatives undertaken by its predecessor. The government’s announcement in July 2018 that the province would be scrapping the modernized sexual education curriculum developed by the Liberal government in 2015 and returning to the 1998 curriculum pending further consultations falls squarely in line with this trend.

The government’s decision to revert back to the 1998 curriculum has prompted considerable backlash from educators, parents, and students, and has also prompted four separate legal challenges.

Continue reading “Ontario rollbacks to sex-ed curriculum prompt legal challenges” »

Legalization of Cannabis: Important Considerations for Housing Providers & Employers

September 14th, 2018 by Safia Lakhani

With the impending legalization of cannabis, we have received requests from a number of housing providers to assist in developing policies that deal with the use and growth of cannabis in units. We have also received requests from employers around policies that prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace. While policies should be crafted to suit a particular workplace or residence, below are a few considerations that employers and housing providers should bear in mind when creating rules around cannabis: Continue reading “Legalization of Cannabis: Important Considerations for Housing Providers & Employers” »

Inquiring into international human rights abuses: To what end?

May 31st, 2018 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

2018 marks 70 years since the establishment of the state of Israel and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in what is known as the “nakba,” or, disaster. This was also the year that the United States decided to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, sparking demonstrations in the occupied territories. On May 14, 2018, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians, killing some 59 individuals and injuring over 2,700 others, including a Canadian medic who was treating protesters. The bloodshed has been described as the most violent in the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict since the war on Gaza in 2014. Two days later, Prime Minister Trudeau called for an independent investigation to thoroughly examine the facts on the ground — including any incitement, violence, and the excessive use of force in Gaza. Continue reading “Inquiring into international human rights abuses: To what end?” »