Human Rights Complaint In Ontario: Filing a Human Rights Application

Human Rights Complaint In Ontario: Filing Application

Dealing with a human rights complaint in Ontario can be a complicated and stressful process. When experiencing discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”), you can file an Application against the offending party. The application is filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the “HRTO”). The HRTO resolves claims of discrimination and harassment brought under the Code in a fair, just and timely way. Every person has the right to freedom from discrimination in the five areas outlined by the Code. It is important to be able to identify which area your discrimination occurred in.

Human Rights Complaint In Ontario: Freedom From Discrimination

Every person has the right to be free from discrimination under these five areas: services, accommodation, contracts, employment, and vocational association. A human rights complaint in Ontario identifies the area within which an individual faced discrimination. 

Every individual has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities. This means you have the right to access any private service, facility, or goods without facing discrimination or harassment. All persons have a right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation. This means you cannot be discriminated against when renting or buying a place to live. You can also not be discriminated against when seeking temporary accommodations, such as a hotel or Airbnb. 

Every person that has legal capacity has a right to enter into a contract on equal terms. Essentially, anyone of the age of 18 who is legally capable has the right to enter into a contract without discrimination. This includes individuals who are 16 or 17 years old and have withdrawn from parental control. 

Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination, including a record of offences. This means that you cannot be discriminated against under any of the protected grounds throughout your employment. Finally, everyone has a right to equal treatment regarding membership in trade unions, trade or occupational associations or self-governing professions.

When considering filing an Application under any of these five areas, it is important to be aware of the limitation period.

Human Rights Complaint In Ontario: Limitation Period

While it can be difficult to act when you have been discriminated against, it is important to act sooner rather than later. The Code contains time limits for making an application to the HRTO of a human rights complaint in Ontario. Your application must be filed within one year of the alleged discrimination. If you were discriminated against more than once, you must file the application within one year of the last incident. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. The HRTO can hear a late Application if the delay occurred in good faith. The delay must also not cause substantial harm to the other parties to the application.

Parties To An Application

The individual who files an Application with the HRTO of a human rights complaint in Ontario is called an Applicant. The application must identify the party or parties the Applicant believes is responsible for the discrimination. The party or parties that the application is filed against are called the Respondents; they are allegedly responsible for the discrimination. A Respondent can be either a person or an organization. 

While there can be more than one Respondent, each one needs to be involved in or responsible for the discrimination. You must provide a detailed description of the events that led to your application and explain how each Respondent is responsible. It is important to carefully consider who you want to name as a Respondent. Naming many individuals in addition to an organization can possibly delay your application.


Every person who has been discriminated against under the Code deserves to seek justice. A human rights complaint in Ontario can be addressed by filing an application with the HRTO. In order to file an Application, you must be able to identify the area in which you faced discrimination. It is important to ensure you have not exceeded the limitation period of one year from when the discrimination occurred. While there are some exceptions, the HRTO will not generally hear late Applications as it could cause harm to the other parties. While the application can be filed against more than one Respondent, too many Respondents can delay the process.

Contact Us

If you are an employer or employee needing assistance with filing a human rights complaint in Ontario, our team of experienced workplace 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 will be happy to assist.

If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support with a same-day response, visit our CLO Program page for our strategic solutions.

Disclaimer: The goal of this blog is only educational and to help you understand some of the common and general inquiries we receive. Please do not rely on this as legal advice because legal advice is tricky and dependent on specific situations. Make sure you consult with a lawyer before using this information. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected].