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Human Rights Complaint: Important Facts To Include

Employers have a duty to provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. In Ontario, the Human Rights Code (the “Code“) prohibits discrimination in various areas including, but not limited to: employment, housing and services. If an employee feels they are experiencing a violation of the Code at their workplace, they can bring a human rights complaint before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

It is important to understand that nuanced acts or microaggressions can be considered discrimination in the workplace. Both employers and employees should be diligent about any reports of harassment, as not every act will be overt and obvious.

My Human Rights Were Violated. How Do I File A Human Rights Complaint?

First, you need to determine if you are employed at a federally regulated workplace. If so, you will need to bring your human rights complaint to a different venue. This is because the Tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to oversee claims against federally regulated entities.

Regardless of what venue you bring your complaint to, you should identify the alleged discrimination and its relation to the Code. These protected grounds can include:

  • Race
  • Ancestry
  • Place of origin
  • Colour
  • Ethnic origin
  • Citizenship
  • Creed
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Disability

Further, it is essential to keep in mind that the human rights complaint you submit is not the subject of another proceeding, whether ongoing or previously settled.

If your matter is not barred for any of the reasons listed, your next step is drafting a Form 1 Application. This is where you would outline in detail your complaint.

What Important Facts Should I Include In My Human Rights Complaint?

Before you begin drafting the application, it is beneficial to organize a timeline relating to your complaint. This will help not only help to organize your complaint but also to make sure you are filing it within the limitation period. It is important to note, that you must bring a human rights complaint forward within one year of the alleged discriminatory incident.

Your application should explain in detail the substance of the complaint. This can include, but is not limited to: 

  • The protected grounds that were violated
  • Time and date of the alleged violations 
  • Individuals who were present or engaged in the violating behaviour
  • Any formal complaints or investigations conducted 
  • How the violation impacted or harmed you and
  • Monetary or non-monetary remedies you may be seeking

According to the Code, the Tribunal can award various remedies to applicants. Among other things, monetary compensation is the most common remedy, but other non-monetary remedies are also available under the Code. For example, an employee can request workshops or training or changes to the employer’s policies. For this reason, you should be clear about the remedy you are seeking.


If you feel you are experiencing discrimination, have any questions about a human rights complaint or other employment law-related inquiries, our team of experienced human rights lawyers at Achkar Law can help.

Contact us by phone toll-free at +1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected], and we would be happy to assist.