Complaint process

Naming respondents

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What is a respondent?

The respondent is the organization or person you say discriminated against you.

Who do I name as a respondent?

Usually, there is only one respondent. Sometimes, more than one organization is responsible for the discrimination.
The organization is responsible when their employee discriminates.
Name the organization that is responsible, such as your:

  • employer
  • landlord
  • service provider
  • union

Only name an individual if they are responsible for the discrimination. For example:

  • name a person who harassed you based on your protected characteristic (and name the organization)
  • do not name a person who only handed you a letter firing you (instead, only name the employer that fired you)

An organization may apply to the Tribunal to remove an individual if:

  • the organization agrees that it is responsible for the person’s conduct
  • the organization will fulfil any remedy
  • there is no need for a personal remedy against the individual to fulfil the purposes of the Human Rights Code

Why does the correct legal name matter?

If the name is wrong, you may not get a remedy. If you win your case, the Tribunal will order a remedy against the Respondent. If the Respondent does not comply, you may enforce the order in court. You can only enforce the order against the person or organization named in the order. If the name is wrong, you will not be able to enforce the order.
If you do not name an organization that is responsible for the discrimination, the Tribunal cannot order a remedy against it.
The wrong name may also delay the process.

How do I find the correct legal name for a respondent?

Naming a BC Government Ministry

Name the provincial government like this:

His Majesty the King in the Right of the Province of British Columbia as represented by the Ministry of [insert the name of the responsible Ministry].

Naming a respondent in a complaint about a school

Name the respondent like this:

Board of Education of School District No. [insert number] (Insert location)

Example: Board of Education of School District No. 44 (North Vancouver)

Naming a respondent in a complaint about a hospital

Name the respondent like this:

[Name of Health Authority] operating as [Name of hospital]

Example: Vancouver Island Health Authority operating as Royal Jubilee Hospital

Naming a strata

Use the strata plan number, like this:

The Owners, Strata Plan [insert number] (insert name if applicable)
Example: The Owners, Strata Plan ABC123 (Green Acres)

Give the email and mailing address for the strata management company.

Example: ABC Property Management Ltd. (email and address)

Naming a business or society

Look for the legal name on:

  • record of employment or T4 slip
  • pay stub
  • business card
  • letterhead
  • contract
  • website
  • local telephone directory
  • advertisement

Contact the business and ask for its legal name.

Contact the municipal office where the business operates:

  • ask for the licensing department
  • give them the information you have such as:
    • business name
    • address or phone number
  • ask for the legal name of the business and its address 

Consider if the business is incorporated or not. An incorporated company’s name usually ends with Limited (Ltd.),  Corporation (Corp.), or Incorporated (Inc.).

If the business is not incorporated, name the owner and the business. For example:

Armand St. Pierre doing business as ASP Roofing, or
Armand St. Pierre dba ASP Roofing

If the organization is incorporated, you can do a corporate search. There is a fee to do a corporate search. For information:

Naming individuals

Try to find the individual’s name. If you cannot find their name, see “I am having trouble finding the name of the respondent” below.

Use the person’s first name and last name.

Do not use titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Mx., or Dr.

If possible, look up the spelling of the name and the address:

  • in the telephone directory
  • on the internet, for example:
    • at a website for their workplace
    • LinkedIn profile

Usually, you can use a person’s work address and contact information.

I am having trouble finding the name of the respondent 

If you need help, look at Who Can Help on the Tribunal’s website.

You have one year to file a complaint about discrimination.

You can file a complaint without the name.

For example, use “Jane Doe” or “John [last name unknown]”. Once you file, you must keep trying to find the correct name.

When you find the name, file a Form 3 – Amendment.

After you file your complaint, you can ask the Tribunal to order another respondent to:

  • give you the name and contact information for the individual
  • give you the correct legal name of the organization.

You can also apply to add a respondent to the complaint. File within one year of the discrimination or as soon as you can. If the complaint against them is late, you must explain the delay.

Find out if the BC Human Rights Code applies to a respondent

The BC Human Rights Code applies to most business in BC.

The BC Human Rights Code does not apply to matters or organizations in “federal jurisdiction”. See the list below for matters or organizations in “federal jurisdiction”.

If your complaint is about a matter on this list, make your complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission:

  • Government of Canada departments
  • Federal crown corporations
  • RCMP
  • Air transportation
  • Road transportation that crosses provincial or international boundaries
  • Telephone and cable
  • Radio and television
  • Banks
  • Ports
  • First Nations, Band Councils, and some services on reserve
  • Organizations on the federal government’s List of federally regulated industries and workplaces.

For more information about federal human rights complaints, contact:
Canadian Human Rights Commission
344 Slater Street, 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1E1
Phone: (613) 995-1151
Toll-free: 1-888-214-1090
TTY: 1-888-643-3304
Fax: (613) 996-9661