Frequently Asked Questions about the Human Rights Complaint Process

How long does the human rights complaint process take?

It depends. The following times are usual, but the process can take longer.

  • It usually takes about one to two months for the Tribunal to decide if can deal with a complaint.
  • If the parties agree to mediate, this usually takes about four months from the time the Tribunal notifies the respondent about the complaint.
  • If the parties do not settle the complaint, the respondent responds and the parties exchange documents. This usually takes two to three months.
  • If the respondent applies to dismiss the complaint, it usually takes about three months for the Tribunal to decide the application after all the arguments have been made.
  • If there is no application to dismiss the complaint or if the Tribunal denies an application to dismiss, the Tribunal schedules a hearing about four to six months later.
  • After the hearing, it may take the Tribunal about six months to provide its decision about whether the complaint is justified or dismissed.

What happens if someone does not participate in a complaint?

If the complainant does not participate, the Tribunal will dismiss the complaint.

If the respondent does not participate, the Tribunal will hold a hearing without the respondent. If the complaint is proved, the Tribunal will order a remedy against the respondent.

Find out about your role on the My Role in the Process page.

What happens once the respondent is told about the complaint?

The parties can come to a settlement meeting to try to settle the complaint. Otherwise, the respondent makes a written response. The respondent may apply to dismiss the complaint without a hearing. If the complaint is not settled or dismissed, the Tribunal holds a hearing.

What if the respondent ignores my complaint?

If the respondent does not participate, the Tribunal will hold a hearing without the respondent. If the complaint is proved, the Tribunal will order a remedy against the respondent.

What is the difference between a settlement meeting and a hearing?

A settlement meeting is a meeting where the parties try to agree about how to solve a complaint. It is also called a mediation. A mediator helps the parties to find a possible solution. The meeting can be in person or over the phone. It is confidential. What is said cannot be used against you.

A hearing is where the Tribunal decides what happened. The parties present evidence about what happened. A Tribunal member listens to all of the evidence to decide if there was discrimination and, if so, what remedy to order.

What do I have to communicate to the other participants?

After the Tribunal notifies a respondent about a complaint, you must give the other side a copy of everything you send to the Tribunal.

Learn more about delivering communications to the other participants.

If the parties do not settle the complaint early on, you must give the other side a copy of any documents you have that relate to the complaint. This includes documents that hurt your case. You must also tell the other side what documents and witnesses you will have.

The other side is lying. What can I do?

It depends on what part of the process you are in.

If you are trying to settle a complaint, you are trying to find a solution that both sides agree to. This is not about whether someone is lying, but about how to fix the problem.

If you are a respondent, you will give your version of the facts in your response to the complaint. You can consider applying to dismiss the complaint without a hearing. However, if you and the complainant disagree about important facts, a hearing may be needed to decide what happened.

If you are a complainant, and you are responding to an application to dismiss the complaint, you will have a chance to comment on what the respondent says.

At a hearing, both parties have a chance to give their own version of the facts, and to challenge the other side’s version by questioning them. This is called “cross-examination”.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a meeting where the parties try to agree about how to solve a complaint. It is also called a settlement meeting. A mediator helps the parties to find a possible solution. The meeting can be in person or over the phone. It is confidential. What is said cannot be used against you.

Is there a cost to have a mediation?

No, it is free.

Can I participate in a mediation by phone?

Yes, that is possible. Discuss this with your case manager.

How do I get an extension of time?

There are 3 ways:

  • Ask the other side if they agree and tell your case manager.
  • Ask your case manager for an extension.
  • Make an application if your case manager tells you that you need to apply.

Learn more on the Make an Application or Request page.

How to I appeal a Tribunal decision?

You can file a petition for judicial review in the BC Supreme Court. There is a 60 day time limit to do this after a final decision. Learn more on the How do I ask the Court to review a Tribunal decision? page.

I lost my documents, can you send me a copy of my file?

You are responsible for keeping track of your documents. However, if your documents are lost, you can write to the Tribunal and ask for a copy of your file.

Is there a form to respond to an application to dismiss?

No, you can put your response in a letter.