Often, our intersecting social identities greatly impact how we interact with the world around us. Sometimes, these identities shape the opportunities we have over the course of our lives that can result in the social advantages and/or the disadvantages we face.

Please take a moment to study the images below and the explanations that follow.

Involves treating people the same based on the assumption that everyone benefits from the same support to meet their needs. This is equal treatment.
Acknowledges individuals’ history, experiences, and needs and recognizes that treating people based upon their needs may be necessary to ensure their equality of access. For instance, making accommodations for people with disabilities is based on the concept of equity and they often can benefit everyone (e.g., availability of elevators).
With social justice, no support or accommodations are needed because the cause of the inequity is addressed. The system is changed. It embodies a vision of an equitable society where all members are physically, socially , and psychologically safe; have our basic economic needs met; and are able to exercise our right to basic human dignity.

Systemic Discrimination

Systemic discrimination represents patterns of policies or practices that are part of the structure of social institutions or organizations, and which create or perpetuate inequality, and inequity towards different social groups and has a broad impact.


  • How does your intersecting social identities impact your lived experiences with regards to equality, equity, and social justice?
  • How does systemic discrimination impact different social identity groups?
  • What are some examples related to equality, equity, and social justice that you’ve experienced or witnessed?

To read more about Systemic Discrimination go to eeoc.gov, or check out the fact sheet at ohrc.on.ca