About the Process

We are committed to being transparent and accountable. Our service standard is our commitment to a specific level of service you can expect under normal circumstances.

Not every human rights complaint goes through our process in the same way. Your complaint may go through one or several steps before it is resolved. The order of the steps can vary because every case is unique.

Generally, our complaint process involves three main stages.

Stage 1: Filing your complaint

Once you have confirmed that you have the basis for a human rights complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, you can file your complaint online, or you can request a complaint form by email or phone.

If you file online, you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.

If you send your complaint by mail or fax, a confirmation letter will be sent within 3 business days of receiving it.

Once we receive your complaint, we review it to ensure that it meets all the necessary criteria of a human rights complaint. During this step, we may contact you to get more information and help you make your complaint more complete.

After we have reviewed your complaint, we will decide whether it is admissible. You will be notified either way.

Once we have all the information we need from you, we will contact you within 2 weeks to confirm if we can accept your complaint. If we cannot accept your complaint, we will inform you about other organizations that may be able to assist you.

Stage 2: Informing the Respondent and Arranging Mediation

Many people’s first concern is at what point the person or organization you are complaining about will be told. They are referred to as the respondent, and we inform them in writing about the complaint once we decide to accept your complaint.

It is at this step that we will also recommend that you both participate in mediation, which we will facilitate. Mediation is voluntary and confidential. It gives both sides the opportunity to explain their side of the issue and to try to resolve the concerns that led to the complaint. We will schedule and provide mediation services for you and the respondent at no cost.

If mediation does not work, your complaint may be assigned to a human rights officer for assessment.

We provide 4 months for parties to complete the mediation.

If mediation works, both sides will sign a settlement agreement. This agreement would state what you and the respondent have committed to do to resolve the dispute.

Stage 3: Referral to Human Rights Commissioners

If mediation does not work, or if you or the other party refuse mediation, we will advise you within 5 business days that we will be assessing your complaint further.

During our complaint assessment, a human rights officer will consider whether there is evidence to support the claims you made in your complaint form. To do this, the human rights officer may seek more information related to your complaint. The human rights officer will prepare an assessment report that will be used by the Commissioners to decide what will happen with your complaint. You and the respondent will get a copy of the report.

Once we have all the information we need, we will contact you and the other party, in writing and within 6 months to share a report of our assessment of the situation.

We will ask you and the other party for comments on the report. If something new is raised by either party, we will ask for a response to the new matters raised.

Once we have received requested comments from parties on the report, we will send the report to our Commissioners within 5 business days.

Our Commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor in Council to make decisions on human rights complaints, will review the assessment report and any comments you or the respondent have submitted.

After analyzing the report, the Commissioners will make one of the following decisions:

  • to dismiss your complaint;
  • to send your complaint to conciliation;
  • to defer their decision and request more information and further analysis; or
  • to refer your complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Decisions made by the Commissioners are final.

Our Commissioners will make their decision within 2 weeks.

Next, we will communicate the decision to you and the other party in writing within 10 business days.

Learn More

Service commitments

If you believe you have experienced discrimination, and you have filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, this page outlines our commitments to you during each stage of our process.

Our commitment to you

We are committed to providing you with quality service.

When you request our services, we will:

  • Explain clearly how the complaints process works
  • Tailor our approach to your needs
  • Treat you with courtesy and respect
  • Protect your personal information
  • Respect our service standard

How you can help us serve you better

To help us serve you better, please:

  • Provide all requested information and details as soon as possible after we contact you.
  • Keep a copy of all information related to your complaint, including relevant emails, letters, notices, policies, etc.
  • Let us know of any changes to your situation, such as a change of address.
  • Tell us if you need special assistance.
  • If choose to have someone represent you, tell us their name and contact information.
  • Treat our staff with courtesy and respect.

Read our complaint rules

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