Contents


BC Human Rights Tribunal

Frequently Asked Questions about Human Rights

What are human rights? Why are some protected and not others?

The term “human rights” can mean different things. It can refer to the idea that everyone has basic rights, such as the right to housing, food, clothing and shelter.

Under the BC Human Rights Code, “human rights” refers to the right to be free from discrimination in certain areas of daily life.

The BC government chooses which rights to protect in the Human Rights Code.

In BC, there are five main areas of daily life where people are protected from discrimination. These areas are employment, housing, services, membership in unions and associations, and publications. In each area, people are protected from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics, such as race and sex.

Learn more about your human rights and duties on the My human rights and duties page.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms offers protection for freedom of conscience, thought, belief, opinion and expression.  Why are these not covered by the BC Human Rights Code?

The BC Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics, such as race and sex.

The BC government chooses which personal characteristics are protected.

In BC, you are protected from discrimination based on your political beliefs in the areas of employment and membership in a union or association.

I’m being bullied. Do I have a human rights complaint?

Maybe. If you are being bullied based on a protected personal characteristic in an area of daily life protected under the BC Human Rights Code, you have a human rights complaint.

For example, if you are being bullied in your employment based on sexual orientation, you have a human rights complaint.

Bullying that is not connected to a protected personal characteristic is not covered under the BC Human Rights Code.

Learn more on the My human rights and duties page.

How do I know if I have a human rights complaint against a person or a company?

Usually a company or organization is responsible for discrimination and is named as the respondent in a human rights complaint.

For example, an employer is responsible for discrimination against its employees.

In some cases, a person is also responsible and may be named as a respondent in a human rights complaint. A person can be responsible if they made the decision that affects you.

For example, a building manager who refuses to rent an apartment to someone because of their race would be responsible for the discrimination.

If you are complaining about harassment, you can name the person who harassed you if they have some authority over you.

For example, you can name a supervisor who sexually harasses you at work.