How to File a Complaint
If you believe you have experienced discrimination, you may be able to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
What We Need to Know
- The specific ground(s) of discrimination (race, sex, disability, religion, etc.)
- A detailed description of what happened (how were you discriminated against)
- The negative effect this act or treatment has had on you.
What You Need to Know
- You should file a complaint within 12 months of the act or treatment that you are complaining about. The Commission does make exceptions.
- You can file a complaint on behalf of others as long as you have their consent.
- You don’t need to pay a fee to file a complaint.
- You don't need to hire a lawyer or get other legal assistance. However, if you decide to hire legal help, you are responsible for paying the associated costs.
- You can call the Commission and ask for help.
- The Commission is impartial and it does not take your side or the respondent's.
What Happens Next?
We aim to contact you within 20 days of having received your complaint. If your complaint is accepted, you will be notified and the Commission will send a copy of your complaint to the organization that your complaint is against (the respondent). It is at that point that the respondent will find out about your complaint.
If you have questions about your complaint, contact us at:
- Toll-free: 1-888-214-1090
- TTY: 1-888-643-3304
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the end of the Complaint Form, you will be asked to authorize the Commission to collect your personal information. This is necessary in order for the Commission to be able to process your complaint. You may also choose to allow the Commission to use your complaint information for research and education purposes. The Privacy notice provides you the legal information on how your personal information will be protected, stored and used.
How will the Commission protect and store your personal information?
If you do not allow the Commission to collect your personal information, the Commission will not be able to process your complaint.
Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Commission is allowed to collect complaint information, such as the content of a person’s Complaint Form, in order to process people’s human rights complaints. Some of your complaint information is personal information. The Commission will ensure this information is protected under the Privacy Act and will only use and disclose it:
- to deal with the complaint (e.g. sharing it with the respondent for their comments);
- if there is a legal reason (e.g. if there is a need to disclose the information under the rules of a court or tribunal); or
- if section 8(2) of the Privacy Act allows it (e.g. if it is in your best interests).
The Commission securely stores complaint information until it sends it to the Library and Archives of Canada or destroys it.
Who will see my personal information?
At various points in time in the process, various people may have access to your complaint and/or your personal information:
- Commission staff or contractors working on your complaint.
- Respondents (the person or organization you are complaining about)
- Members of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal or other courts, as needed.
The Commission, the Tribunal or another court may make the details of your complaint public during a hearing, in a ruling or during a judicial review of your complaint.
Consent to use your personal information for policy, research and public education
The Commission sometimes develops policies and guides, and prepares reports or other statistical information for policy, research and public education purposes in support of its mandate under section 27 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
To help the Commission promote and protect human rights in Canada, you may choose to allow the use of your personal complaint information for this type of work. Commission reports will never include your personal information or information that would identify you. Also, the Commission will continue to protect all your information according to the requirements of the Privacy Act.
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