1. Purpose and Scope
The Complaints Services Branch of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (Commission) is committed to demonstrating fundamental human rights principles in our daily operations. This includes maintaining an accessible complaint process and accommodating people's individual needs. We also recognize a responsibility for ensuring that all people with individual needs receive the accommodation they require to participate fully and equally in the complaint process.
This policy has two purposes:
- To clearly communicate the Commission's commitment to accommodating people with individuals needs in our complaint process; and,
- To outline the process for notifying the Commission when you have individual needs and require accommodation in order to participant fully and equally in the complaint process.
This policy applies to all people who participate in the Commission's complaint process.
- Accommodation process
- — refers to the process by which a Commission employee will gather information, offer accommodation options, and implement agreed-upon accommodation measures, once the Commission has been notified that a person has individual needs and requires accommodation in order to participate fully and equally in the complaint process.
- — refers to anything physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal, that is based on information or communications, or that is the result of a policy or a practice, that hinders the full and equal participation of all people in the complaint process.
- Complaint process
- — means the process used by the Commission, at its discretion, to deal with inquiries and complaints, including mediation, conciliation, complaint assessment, investigation, and the Commission’s decision-making process.
- — means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in the complaint process.
- — refers to the steps the Commission takes to eliminate disadvantage to people resulting from a barrier that has or may have an adverse impact on individuals or groups protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act and participating in the complaint process.
The Canadian Human Rights Act provides for accommodation of peoples' needs, when those needs relate to one of the following 13 grounds of discrimination: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, marital status, genetic characteristics, gender identity or expression, family status, disability or a conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.
- Individual Needs
- — are specific needs related to one of the grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
3. Policy Framework
This policy is pursuant to the principles set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act, with a particular focus on accommodating individual needs.
4. The Accommodation Process: What to Expect
If you are a participant with an individual need that requires accommodation, please take the following steps:
- Notify the Commission
Contact the Commission via email, or speak to the Commission employee who is dealing with your complaint, as soon as possible if you require accommodation in order to participate in the complaints process.
This can be done at any point in the processing of the complaint that you are involved in. However, the earlier in the process that the Commission becomes aware of an individual need, the sooner we will be able to respond to meet that need.
There may also be situations where a Commission employee may inquire if a participant requires accommodation to ensure all participants have full and equal access to the complaint process.
- Cooperate in the Accommodation Process
Commission employees are responsible for gathering relevant information to ensure a common understanding of a participant's individual needs, and to make suggestions for accommodation under the specific circumstances. It is important to provide enough information for the Commission employee to make suggestions for accommodation. You may also provide input and suggestions for how to appropriately address your individual needs.
In some situations, supporting documentation may be needed to assist in the accommodation process. More complex or systemic accommodation measures may also require us to consult with additional third parties. If an accommodation request cannot be met, the Commission will always inform the participant in writing of the reasons why, and try to find a reasonable solution.
Commission employees will work with participants to ensure that their individual needs are met throughout the complaint process, whenever possible, up to the point of undue hardship, subject to principles of procedural fairness and natural justice.
The Commission is committed to communicating with the public in accessible ways, and can provide this policy in alternate formats upon request. We will ensure that an accessible copy of this policy is posted on our internet and intranet sites.
6. Privacy and Confidentiality
The Commission recognizes that people may be sensitive to how and why their personal information, including information related to accommodating individual needs, may be used when they require accommodation. The Commission and its employees, take our responsibilities related to privacy and confidentiality very seriously and will keep all records associated with the accommodation process electronically and in a secure fashion.
The Commission and all of its employees involved in the accommodation process will comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act to protect personal information at all times. Private personal information related to accommodation requests will be not included as part of the official record of a complaint, and will not be disclosed should a complaint file be referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
7. Monitoring and Review
The Commission's Complaint Support Committee will monitor and review the effectiveness of this policy, as well as all related procedures on an annual basis, or as required, to ensure that they continue comply with best practices and the principles of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
This means that the Commission will monitor the application of this policy and collect data to ensure that this policy is not applied in a way that creates barriers for any particular group of participants.
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