Fonds 82-001 - Thomas H.B. Symons. Ontario Human Rights Commission fonds

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Thomas H.B. Symons. Ontario Human Rights Commission fonds

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  • 1975-1978 (Creation)
    Symons, Thomas H.B.

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3 m of textual records

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Thomas H.B. Symons was born at Toronto, Ontario 30 May 1929, son of Harry Lutz Symons and Dorothy Sarah Bull. He was educated at Upper Canada College, University of Toronto (B.A. 1951), and Oxford University (B.A. 1953, M.A. 1957). He married Christine Ryerson 17 August 1963 and with her had three children: Mary, Ryerson and Jeffery. Professor Symons held many posts as an educator, including Assistant Dean of Men, Trinity College and Instructor of History, University of Toronto 1953-1955; and Dean, Devonshire House, University of Toronto 1955-63. His most notable post, however, was as the founding President and Vice-Chancellor of Trent University, 1961-1972. Symons also held many presidencies, chairmanships and memberships in various organizations, mainly dealing with the topics of education, Canadian studies, Indigenous rights and human rights. From 1971 to 1973, Symons was the President of the Canadian Association in Support of Native Peoples. He was the author of several reports and articles and contributed chapters to many books including: "Political Education in Canada" 1988; "Archives Libraries and the Canadian Heritage" 1983; "A Century of Canada's Arctic Islands, 1880-1980" 1981; "A History of Peel County" 1967; and "Native Rights in Canada" 1970. Professor Symons resided in Peterborough, Ontario until his death 1 January 2021. (Taken in part from: Canadian Who's Who, 1993. Toronto: University of Toronto Press Incorporated, 1993.)

Custodial history

This fonds was created by Professor Thomas H.B Symons and was in his custody until it was donated to the Trent University Archives.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of the records and personal papers collected by Professor Thomas H.B. Symons as Chairman of the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1975-1978. The fonds includes: minutes, reports, publications, press clippings, and requests for exemptions for the Ontario Human Rights Commission; information on hate literature, racism, language rights, native rights, pension rights, the physically handicapped, police relations, public education, race relations, religion, sexual orientation, women's rights, and sex discrimination; and information on provincial Human Rights Commissions and International Human Rights Commissions.

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The fonds was donated by Professor Thomas H.B. Symons


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Associated material regarding the Ontario Human Rights Commission is located at the Archives of Ontario.

For related records see: 81-005 and 87-003

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Box 1


1: Ontario Human Rights Commission (O.H.R.C.):
archives # 1. Miscellaneous correspondence re: Professor Symons' various memberships, appointments and honours. Included are the Order of Canada, the Canadian Conference on Social Development; the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Canada Council, the Canadian and Ontario human Rights Commissions, and assorted materials re: the Robert and Mary Stanford Foundation, and the Second Canadian Conference on Multiculturalism (February 1976).

2: Same as above:
archives # 2. Miscellaneous documents and correspondence re: Amnesty International, Canadian and Ontario Human rights Commissions (including Ontario Code review), convocation address to Laurentian University, May 1977, Stephen Lewis speech, March 1977, and letter from the Honourable R. Basford, Minister of Justice, commenting on resolutions of the 1976 Canadian Conference on Social Development

3: Same as above:
archives # 3. Assorted documents and correspondence regarding the Canadian Conference on Social Development, Toronto, June 1976; the A.C.U. meeting in Malta, 1977; Laurentian University Honours; the Order of Canada; and a project proposal regarding the formation of a "Privacy Project Task Group"

4: Same as above:
archives # 4. Assorted documents and correspondence regarding the "Destiny Canada" conference, 1977, and the "Options" Conference (on future of Canadian federalism), 1977; the A.C.U.; Trent University (reception for members of the first graduating class, 1977); and the Search for a President, University of Prince Edward Island

5: Same as above:
archives # 5: Assorted documents relating to the A.C.U.; Stanford Foundation (minutes, 1977); the Order of Canada; election as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; and a report on Confederation project

6: O.H.R.C. Minutes, Jan - July 1975

7: O.H.R.C. Conciliation Reports and Summary of Settlement, January - March 1975

8: O.H.R.C. Exemptions: requests for exemptions from certain clauses in the Ontario Human Rights Code, and the decision rendered. Most of the cases relate to sexual and racial discrimination in the labour force

9: O.H.R.C. Community Problem Solving & Affirmative Action Report for all Regions, December 1974 - April 1975

10: O.H.R.C. Boards of Inquiry. A Study of Settlements under the Human Rights Code, by Andrew Struthers and Glen Melhuish, submitted to Prof. W.S. Tarnopolsky. Mainly boards of inquiry relating to particular cases of discrimination

11: O.H.R.C. Management of information systems - a proposal to meet the Commissions needs

Box 2


1: Environmental rights. Consumption of Fuel and Electricity by Ontario Manufacturing Industries, 1972. Newspaper clippings from the Toronto Globe and Mail, concerning racial comments made by Temiskaming Conservative M.P.P. Edward Havrot, May 1975

2: Hate Literature. Correspondence, clippings, press releases and reports concerning racist hate literature. Much on the Western Guard and the Edmund Burke Society, and on "The Bended Elbow", a racist pamphlet derogatory of the natives of the Kenora District

3: Language rights. Transcript of a report by Prof. Symons to the plenary session of the First Canadian Conference on Multiculturalism; Some Notes on the Evolution of Language Policy in Ontario, a paper presented by Professor Symons to the International Symposium, Federalism: The Contemporary Challenge; correspondence regarding French language instruction in Simcoe and Haldimand - Northfolk Counties; Fourth Annual Report, 1973 - 1974, of the Commissioner of Official Language

4: Nationality and human rights. Correspondence, clippings, etc., relating to foreign language tests, and especially to a resolution passed by the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, January 1977; "Citizenship and Nationality", a paper by Prof. W. Tarnopolsky

5: Nationality and the Canadian Football League. Correspondence and cases regarding the CFL's "designated import rule"; and the N.S. Human Rights Commission report on the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union's denial of services and facilities due to national origin

6: Native rights. Correspondence, reports, clippings etc. re: various aspects of native affairs and rights including education, employment (private sector and public service); the Dene declaration and Kenora confrontation at Anisinabe Park

7: Jain report on native employment in the North

8: Pension rights. Correspondence on compulsory retirement of municipal firemen and policeman at age 60; Appointments to Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens; Report (1975) of the Task Force on Employee Benefits under Part X of the Employment Standards Act

9: Physically handicapped. Assorted pamphlets and papers on industrial therapy rehabilitation (cheap labour); rights of mental patients; experimental psychosurgery (shock treatments); First annual Report (1976) of Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped

10: Police relations: Report from the Liaison Committee and Enforcement Agency investigating such matters as police - community relations, police harassment, the Ontario Police College at Aylmer, racial tension at Kenora and the attack of Bromley Armstrong of the OHRC; Pamphlet It Hurts, Man, It Hurts: Seven Dialogues on Police - Minority Relations; A memorandum with supporting documents on Metropolitan Toronto Police - Minority relations; Annual Report, 1976, of the Ontario Solicitor - General

11: Public Education reports, December 1974 - February 1975. UNESCO publication "Some Suggestions on Teaching About Human Rights"; Continuing Federal - Provincial Committee of Officials Responsible for Human Rights; Consideration of Reports Submitted by States parties Under Article 40 of the Convention

12: Race relations - the black community. First draft of a report to the Attorney - General of Ontario; Equal Opportunity and Public Policy - a Report on the Concern of the South Asian Canadian Community Regarding Their Place in the Canadian Mosaic; A.H. Richmond - Black and Asian Immigrants in Britain and Canada: Experience of Prejudice and Discrimination; "Dialogue on Race Relations"; H.C. Jain - Race and Sex Discrimination Legislation in North America and Britain: Some Lessons for Canada

13: Pitman Report on racism in Metro Toronto; press clippings

14: Religion. Clippings of the Rastafarian Brethren; Canadian Society of Muslims Report on the Image of Islam in School Textbooks in the Province of Ontario; Assorted clippings on religious discrimination

15: Sexual orientation. Correspondence, clippings regarding the case of John P. Damien, who was fired from his position of Track Steward by the Ontario Racing Commission because of homosexuality; related material. Private members' Bill #16 (1977), An Act to Amend the Ontario Human rights Code. Hot file: material on the Gay Liberation Movement and documents on sexual orientation

16: Sex discrimination # 1 - Dagg file. Documentation on the case of Dr. Anne Innis Dagg versus Wilfrid Laurier University, in which she charges the University with refusing to hire her for a position for which she was qualified due to her sex

17: Sex discrimination # 2 - General Motors File. A charge by seven women against GM that they were denied work in the Oshawa battery plant because they were child - bearing age and a fetus would be harmed by bad oxide in the batteries. The Commission declined the charge on the grounds that the problem was primarily medical

18: Sex discrimination # 3 - Huntsville Minor Hockey Board. Documents and clippings concerning the Ontario Minor Hockey Associations denial of the right of Gail Cummings to play hockey on an all male team because of her sex; clippings on related cases

Box 3


1: Alberta Human Rights Commission: correspondence and annual reports, 1973 - 1975

2: Association of Professional Placement Agencies and Consultants: correspondence and a brochure "Declaration of Equal Employment Opportunity"

3: Advisory Council on the Status of Women: correspondence and clippings

4: Australian Human Rights Code

5: British Columbia Human Rights Commission: Boards of Inquiry hearings and reports

6: British Race Relations Commission: Peter Evans' pamphlet Publish and be Damned?, concerning Enoch Powell and his anti - immigration influence on the British press; correspondence, periodical issue on race relations, 1976

7: Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies: correspondence, executive committee minutes; Plan for Indexing the Decisions of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

8: Canadian Civil Liberties Association: correspondence on employment agencies surveys, racial discrimination in employment; clippings

9: Canadian Council on Multiculturalism: clipping (Globe and Mail, June 21, 1975), in which Labour Minister John Munro promises his support for non - official languages

10: Canadian Council for Social Development: Canadian Welfare (May/June 1975, Vol. 51 # 3), with articles on legal aid, day care, social service delivery and child abuse

11: Canadian Council of Christians and Jews: brochure and papers regarding the Canada / U.S. "Continental Action Assembly of Christians and Jews", Windsor, June 1975

12: Canadian Human Rights Foundation: reports on Ontario and Federal human rights legislation, 1976 - 1977; paper by G. Gingras, Aging Chronicity: Rehabilitation; and McGill University convocation address by John P. Humphrey, June 1976

13: Canadian Society for the Abolition of the Death Penalty: two letters

14: Le Conseil Consultatif des Affaires Franco - Ontariens: terms of reference and Bulletin 1 juin 1975

15: Franco - Ontarian Commission. Material on costs, recommendations, etc. of the Ministerial Commission on French Language Education in Ontario; First Annual Report (1975 - 1976) of the Advisory Council for Franco - Ontarian Affairs; addresses by Lucien Michaud and T.H.B. Symons to Convocation of Laurentian University, 1977; correspondence and clippings

16: Federal Human Rights Legislation: correspondence, clippings and Bill C-25 (re: discrimination and privacy, 1977)

Box 4


1: Human rights in other countries: material relating to Chile, New Zealand and South Africa

2: International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies: correspondence

3: Manitoba Human Rights Commission: case concerning native and women's rights

4: Metro Social Planning Council: Executive Newspaper, May and June 1975; General Report (1975) of Canadian Council of Social Development

5: Minnesota Human Rights Commission: Rights Review, march/April 1975 and July/October 1976

6: National Black Coalition of Canada: correspondence

7: New Brunswick Human Rights Commission: Board of Inquiry report - assorted publications on blacks and human rights, clippings

8: Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission: Newsletter, October 1971; Ombudsman's fifth Report, 1976 (for 1975)

9: Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism: correspondence, annual reports, minutes; D. Gyalley & G. Korey, Multiculturalism and Canadian Unity

10: Ontario Arts Council: correspondence, financial administration material, correspondence, draft Report of Commission on Art History etc., annual report, 1973 - 1974

11: Ontario federation of Labour: correspondence re Timmins conference, 1975; D.G. Hill pamphlet "Human Rights in Canada: A Focus on Racism".

12: Ontario - Quebec Permanent Commission: letter

13: Quebec Human Rights Commission: poster, pamphlet and National Assembly Bill 50 on rights and freedoms

14: Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission: brief to Senate/House of Commons Joint Committee on the Green Paper on Immigration Policy; Summary of Activities, 1972 - 1975

15: Evaluation of Services for Working People (U. of T. School of Social Work); statistical reports

16: U.S. Office of Civil Rights: clippings on civil rights case

17: Summer Students' Programs: reports on Experience' 77 programs in parts of Ontario

18: Professor Symons: correspondence, notes on appointment to OHRC, notes for speeches and defence of costs incurred by the Ministerial Commission on French Language Secondary Education in carrying out its work

19: Rosalie Abella: correspondence and news releases

20: Bromley Armstrong: correspondence, clippings and reports regarding homosexual rights controversy caused by an article published by Armstrong in his paper The Islander, May 26, 1977

21: Dr. Lita - Rose Betcherman: correspondence and review of the book Swastika and the Maple Leaf

22: Jean Marie Bordelau: correspondence and clippings

23: George Brown: Community Tensions and Conflicts Among Youths of Different Ethnic and Racial Backgrounds in Wards 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Downtown Toronto, and Appendix; Newsletter on the National; Association of Human Rights Workers; correspondence, clippings, photo

24: Elsie Chilton: correspondence

25: Walter Currie: correspondence, c.v., material on racial discrimination

26: Brian Groux: correspondence, photos

27: Dr. Dan Hill: correspondence, proposals dealing with establishment of Ombudsman's office and an academic program in human rights and civil liberties at the University of Toronto

28: Ian Hunter: correspondence and United Church Observer, Nov. 1976

29: Valerie Kasurah: correspondence

Box 5


1: The Reverend Bruce McLeod: correspondence re: review of Ontario Human Rights Code

2: Interested M.P.P.'s: correspondence on cases of discrimination and on the OHRC's study of discrimination against blacks in Toronto, The Black Presence in the Canadian Mosaic; drafts of speeches by Attorney - General R. McMurtry

3: Premier's Office: correspondence with and remarks, statements and speeches by Premier Davies

4: Minister's File: correspondence, material on role and function of Ministry of Labour, OHRC minutes May 2, 1975

5: Leader of the Opposition: correspondence and charge of racial discrimination against the OHRC

6: OHRC History: speeches, papers, briefs, submissions relating to human rights development in Ontario; D.E. Jacobs: The Ontario Human Rights Commission History

7: Reconstitution of the Human Rights Commission: correspondence and clippings; material on internal staffing

8: Conference of Human Rights Ministers: Verbation Report of the Conference, Nov. 1974; W.S. Tarnopolsky: The Development of Human Rights Legislation and Activity in Canada

9: Management Board material: auditors report, budget estimates, list of government boards and agencies 1973, 1976 77. Paper on a privacy project

10: Possible new appointments: correspondence on personnel affairs; francophone appointments file; Canadian Crossroads International Annual Report, 1974

11: Commission Staff: personnel affairs

12: Western Guard: correspondence, newspaper clippings on racial violence, discrimination and hate propaganda; R.W. McPhee, Race Relations Today (1973) and G. Bancroft, The Intercultural Exchange Committee: an Experimental Workshop Series, 1975; Cases

13: Women's rights #1: Ontario Status of Women Council Annual reports, 1974, 1976 - 77; Working With Film: Experiences with a Group of Films about Working Mothers; correspondence, clippings, briefs, articles, brochures, case studies relating to all aspects of women's rights

14: Women's rights #2: Papers and documents on law and Ontario Women; affirmative action guidelines; women in the labour force; statement by Premier Davies, Sept. 1976; correspondence etc., as per folder 13

Box 6


1: Women's rights #3: Guidelines on Affirmative Action for Women Crown Employees, April 1977 - March 1980; case studies and correspondence

2: Violence: W.A. Head, The Black Presence in the Canadian Mosaic; H. Schilst, Coping with Community Crisis: New Rules, New Roles for Conflict Resolution; Index of and Proposals For Native Peoples; Violence in the Toronto Transit Commission

3: OHRC budget #1: Estimates, 1975 - 1976 and 1976 - 1977; OHRC reorganization, accounts and expenses

Box 7


1: OHRC budget #2: Estimates, 1976 - 1977; Ontario Financial Report, 1975; accounts, expenses, personnel matters

2: OHRC budget #3: Estimates, 1976 - 1977 (draft 2); Estimates, 1977 - 1978; Budget Analysis, 1977 - 1978; accounts, expenses

3: Office correspondence: case records, personnel matters, Major Community Relations Projects, 1975 - 1976

Box 8


1: OHRC complaint forms

2: OHRC press releases

3: Human rights publications and mailings

4: Code review #3: clippings on human rights

5: Life Together. Two working copies of a draft of Life Together: A Review of the Human Rights Needs in Ontario, noted as an introduction to the proposed revision of the Ontario Human Rights Code, March 1977

6: Response to Life Together, #1: Amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code; correspondence, clippings, cases (much on discrimination against the disabled)

7: Response to Life Together, #2: newspaper responses

8: Other government agencies and commissions: correspondence, clippings, list of government agencies etc. 1974; and Financial Administrator Position Paper for Ontario Arts Council, April 1975

9: Honoraria: correspondence and clippings dealing with extraordinary expenses incurred by members of government or by individuals called upon to carry out special duties for government: muckraking material

10: Peterborough office #1: correspondence, cases, forms

11: Peterborough office #2: As per folder 10, plus clippings and "Dreaming the Impossible Dream", Legion July 1972

12: Community involvement program: descriptive paper

13: Peterborough office - cases: Report of the Federal - Provincial Working Group on Human Rights Legislation and Employee Benefits

Box 9


1: Annual Report of Ontario Ombudsman, 1975 - 1976 (with cases investigated)

2: Public education and public hearing: "Human Rights in Universities", UNESCO, 1973; correspondence and clippings

3: Textbook bias evaluation, relating to perceptions of Islamic religion and culture in Ontario school textbooks

4: Training manual

5: Role of the Code: correspondence, clippings

6: Commission Placement: Ontario Ministry of Labour, Annual Report, 1976 - 1977, including Explanatory Material for 1976 -1977 Estimates, and Descriptive Summaries by Program and Activity as of March 31, 1976; correspondence

Box 10


1: Code review #2: early drafts of Life Together

2: Same as above: ancillary documents re: Life Together, drafts 4, 5

3: Same as above: press response #1: clippings, etc.

4: Same as above: press response #2: newspaper clippings

5: Same as above: press response #3: thematic clippings

6: Same as above: Public hearings on code review; correspondence, briefs, minutes of public hearings

7: Same as above: Revised drafts of the recommendations relating to Life Together #1

8: Same as above: #2

9: Same as above: #3

Box 11


1: Response to Code review #1: correspondence, news releases and clippings; assorted related material, 1976 - 1977

2: Response to Code review #2: correspondence, clippings

Box 12


1: Arrangements for start of Code review #1: planning documents and preliminary materials

2: Arrangements for start of Code review #2: form letters

3: Arrangements for start of Code review #3: press releases and material on Ministerial Commission on French Language Education

4: Arrangements for start of Code review #4: correspondence, memorandum of agreement, legal counsel

5: Code review #1: press release

6: Same: Preface of Life Together, final text, drafts and revisions

7: Same: Preliminary drafts on Life Together, #1

8: Same, #2

9: Code review #4: draft 4, Life Together

10: Same: draft 5 and final draft, Life Together

11: Same: potential recommendations for Life Together

12: Same: drafts 1 & 2, recommendations for Life Together

13: Same: Final draft recommendations for Life Together

14: Same: drafts 1, 2, 3, recommendations for Life Together

15: Same: notification of release of Life Together

16: Same: release of Life Together; Chairman's Office; Civil Actions for Discrimination

17: Same: Biographical notes on Commissioners for release of Life Together

18: Lecture on Human Rights to Canadian Studies 220, at Trent University, March 6, 1978; correspondence

19: Correspondence relating to retirement of the Chairman

20: Retirement dinner for Chairman and members, OHRC; correspondence, menu

21: Press response re: completion of term as Chairman of OHRC; correspondence, clippings; material on incoming Chairman, Dr. D. Crittendon

22: Continued press response to Life Together, correspondence, clippings

23: OHRC budget, 1978 - 1979

24: OHRC estimates, 1978 - 1979

Box 13


1: Commission archives re: general issues; correspondence, clippings, cases; Provincial Auditor's Report, (year ending 31 March 1977)

2: Commission archives re: Key concerns #1; Manitoba Human Rights Commission, Annual Report, 1972; Women for Non - Sexist Education, Confronting the stereotypes: A Handbook on Bias at the Primary Level. Multiculturalism: Unity with Diversity; Walter Pitman Report, Now is Not Too Late

3: Commission archives re: Key concerns #2; correspondence; Amnesty International; Human Rights Education: A Resource Booklet

4: Commission archives re: Key concerns #3; The Ubale report: Equal Opportunity and Public Policy; Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped, Second Annual Report, 1977; correspondence

Box 14


1: OHRC correspondence and documents: 1975, mostly good wishes on appointment, suggestions for OHRC work and material on Intercultural Exchanges; current press clippings

2: Same: 1975, general correspondence, clippings, press releases on a variety of human rights issues, including Federal Human Rights Act, racism, and Ontario code revisions

3: Same: 1975, correspondence, clippings, press releases on a variety of human rights issues including employment discrimination, civil liberties associations, sex discrimination and provincial ombudsman

4: Same: 1975 - 1976, same as above including provincial human rights commission, Amnesty International, Franco - Ontarian affairs, sex and employment discrimination and human rights conferences

5: Same: 1975, same as above including status of women, civil liberties, ministry reorganization

6: Same: 1977 - 1978, same as above, especially regarding Life Together: A Report on Human Rights in Ontario, sex discrimination and related human rights topics

7: Same: 1977, same as above and reference to specific human rights cases and racism

8: Same, 1976, same as above especially related to code revision, racism, employment discrimination and inter - agency relationships

9: Same: 1976, same as above, including OHRC budget and expenses, human rights violations, and the Canadian Conference on Social development

10: Same: 1976 - 1977, same as above, particularly regarding cases of violation of human rights in the workplace

11: Same as above: related to budget expenses, racism and hate of East Indians, French - English relations

Box 15


1: Documents and papers from the Federal - Provincial Conference on Human Rights: 27 - 28 October 1975

2: Same as above: 27 - 28 October and 10 - 12 December 1975

Box 16


1: Same as above: 10 - 12 December 1975

2: Same as above 3:Brief on Human Rights and Education, 1976: documents and papers

4: Ratification of the United Nations Covenants on Human Rights, 1977

5: Federal - Provincial Continuing Committee of Officials Responsible for Human Rights: correspondence and notes, 1977

6: Same as above: conference materials, May - November 1977

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