How To File a Human Rights Complaint
The Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission (Quebec Human Rights Commission):
Navigating the intricacies of Ontario’s complaint process can seem daunting, especially if you feel your rights have been violated. This guide offers an overview of how to file a Human Rights claim in Ontario, detailing the steps of the process from determining eligibility to the possibility of a judicial review. Whether you’re looking to educate yourself or actively seeking justice, the information provided here can serve as a valuable roadmap in your pursuit of equity and justice in Ontario.
Please note: This guide is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or representation. Always consult with a legal professional regarding your specific situation.
Ontario’s human rights system comprises three key agencies:
- Ontario Human Rights Commission:
- Promotes, protects, and advances human rights.
- Conducts research, education, legal action, and policy development.
- Human Rights Legal Support Centre:
- Offers legal assistance to victims of discrimination under the Code.
- Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO):
- Processes and decides on human rights applications.
- The HRTO addresses claims only if:
- They fall within the scope of the Code.
- The Code is applicable to incidents within Ontario. Matters outside this jurisdiction fall under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
- The Tribunal has the legal authority or jurisdiction.
- Discrimination areas covered by the Code are:
- Goods, services, and Facilities
- Membership in trade and vocational associations
- They fall within the scope of the Code.
Applications should be submitted to the HRTO within a year of the alleged discrimination. However, there are provisions for exceptions under specific circumstances.
If you require an accommodation at any stage of the proceeding, inform the HRTO at your earliest opportunity.
Access the Application: Use SmartForm for a streamlined application process.
Documentation: Ensure you have all the necessary forms and supplementary documents.
Share Your Story: This is where you get to tell your story about the discrimination you experienced. You need to explain:
- What happened (Exacerbation of MCS symptomatology)
- When it happened (day/month/year the alleged discrimination occurred)
- Where it happened (location where the alleged exposure occurred)
- How the respondent was responsible (How the actions of the person/organization is responsible for the exacerbation of your symptoms
- How the event affected you (e.g. financial, social, emotional, mental health, or other effect)
Specify the Nature of Discrimination: Highlight the grounds and areas of the alleged discrimination.
Legal Proceedings: Indicate if there are concurrent legal proceedings with the issue you are filing (Workmen’s Compensation, Union, civil proceeding, etc.).
Sought Remedy: Define your desired outcomes from the complaint. The Code gives the HRTO powers to make orders and to award remedies. This section allows you to explain what remedies you want and why.
- Monetary (Financial) Compensation: monetary damages to recoup a loss or injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.
- Non-monetary measures: The HRTO can order the respondent to do something that will put you in the position you would have been in if the discrimination had not happened.
- Measures to promote future compliance with the Code (Public Interest Remedies) : A measure or remedy for future compliance with the Code is an action that the respondent can be ordered to take to prevent similar discrimination from happening in the future
Mediation: You will be asked on the application or response form if you are willing to try mediation. The goal of mediation is to help the parties reach an agreement (settlement) that resolves the issues in the application.
Preparing for a Hearing:
- Consultation: Seek advice from an attorney with expertise in human rights and employment law.
- Documentation: Maintain a comprehensive record of relevant events and communications.
- Engagement: Be proactive in discussing concerns with your employer.
- Medical Documentation: Provide substantial evidence of your condition.
- Filing: Follow OHRT’s guidelines for lodging a complaint.
- If your application is accepted, the OHRT will inform the respondent (the party you’re complaining against) of the complaint. The respondent will then be given an opportunity to file a response.
- OHRT may offer mediation to resolve the complaint before it goes to a formal hearing. This is a voluntary process.
- If the issue isn’t resolved through mediation or if mediation is declined, the case may proceed to a hearing.
During the Hearing:
- Both parties will have an opportunity to present their evidence, call witnesses, and make arguments.
- After considering all evidence and arguments, the OHRT will issue a decision.
If the OHRT determines that discrimination occurred, it can order remedies, including monetary compensation, non-monetary measures, or measures promoting future compliance with the Code.
While challenges persist in presenting a compelling case, it’s essential to understand the processes and potential hurdles. Seek legal advice and be well-prepared to navigate the human rights system in Ontario.
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
15 Grosvenor Street, Ground Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2G6
For application & related documents: HRTO.Efile@ontario.ca
For other queries: HRTO.Registrar@ontario.ca
Support & Resources:
Should you require additional legal guidance:
Human Rights Legal Support Centre
180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 0A1
Or, consider hiring your own legal representative for a more personalized approach.