Application to Intervene in a Complaint

Information Sheet GA 13

Only the parties to a human rights complaint have the right to participate in the Tribunal process. However, the Tribunal may allow a non-party, or “intervenor” to participate under s. 22.1 of the Human Rights Code whether or not the person would be affected by an order made.

Conditions for intervening in a complaint

  • The proposed intervenor would be affected by an order sought; and/or
  • The proposed intervenor is likely to make a useful contribution to the resolution of the complaint and its intervention will not unduly prejudice the parties.

What to include in an application to intervene

Use a General Application. The application must include:

  • A description of the person or group who wants to intervene
  • How and at what stage of the proceedings the proposed intervenor wants to participate (for example, written submissions, based on the evidence provided by the parties)
  • How the proposed intervenor would be affected by an order sought and/or the interest of the proposed intervenor in the complaint and any expertise regarding the issue they want to address
  • An outline of the proposed submission, how it relates to the complaint, and how it will be useful to the Tribunal
  • Why the intervention will not unduly prejudice the parties

More information about useful contributions

An intervenor may make a useful contribution if it can help the Tribunal in understanding:

  • the context in which the complaint arose
  • the perspectives of individuals and groups other than the parties to the complaint
  • the factual and legal issues raised by the complaint
  • the impact the decision may have on affected individuals or groups

Your application should explain any special expertise or knowledge you have in relation to the issues in the complaint, or the different perspective you would bring. It must explain how this would be useful to the Tribunal in deciding the complaint.

More information about potential unfairness to the parties

Intervenors should not “take the complaint away” from the parties. This means the parties should not have to deal with new issues raised by an intervenor. Usually, an intervenor is limited to making submissions, and is not permitted to produce evidence.  If you want to provide evidence or cross-examine witnesses, you must explain why.

In general, an intervenor should not lengthen the complaint process, and intervenor applications should be made as early as possible.