Canadian Human Rights Petitions Against SizeismMonday, December 12, 2016
Discrimination based on appearance, which includes size, are rampant and well documented in virtually all social, educational, and professional settings. Unfortunately, current legislation does not offer individuals who experience with this form of discrimination the same legal protection as it does to people, who are discriminated against due to colour, gender, sexual orientation, or a host of other factors.
Now, there are at least three ongoing public petitions in Canada calling upon the Human Rights commissioners to make size and appearance discrimination illegal (#SizeismSUCKS).
Thus, a recent petition in Ontario has currently garnered over 8,500 signatures – just short of 10,000.
Similar petitions in Alberta, Manitoba, and British Columbia are just beginning to gather momentum.
As Jill Andrews, the initiator of the Ontario petition notes:
“At 14, I was told by another teen that I was ‘as big as a Mack Truck’ and someone would only date me if ‘they put a paper bag over my head.’ I told my teacher and she told me to ‘be strong…it would pass with time.’ At 20, I was denied a job and told, I was ‘so very talented with an infectious personality . . . but just too big for the screen.’ I wasn’t even fat.”
As Jill further points out,
“Appearance-based protection would mean human rights protection against size, weight, height discrimination and other differences such as visible scars, alopecia or facial differences for instance. All too many of us live under a cloud of stereotypes and judgments made about us because of how we look, whether we’re big or small. These judgments often come with real social, mental, physical and economic consequences. Some of us don’t pursue the careers and the lives we want because we are simply too scared of being treated without humanity because of our size. Some of us are even too afraid to go to the doctors when we are sick in fear of further body-shaming. Some of us take our own lives.”
As in other provinces,
“The Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) recognizes this in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation and other necessary protected grounds but body size and physical appearance remains absent.”
You can help change this by supporting the various petitions (especially the one in your province):
To sign the petition in Ontario click here
To sign the petition in Alberta click here
To sign the petition in Manitoba click here
To sign the petition in British Columbia click here
To start a similar petition in your own province click here
You can make a difference!