Frequently Asked Questions
Making a Complaint
No. You may get information from a Tribunal intake officer about the types of situations covered by the Human Rights Code, but you do not need to do so. The Tribunal will only proceed with complaints that set out possible discrimination under the Code.
No. You do not have to ask the Tribunal’s permission to file a complaint.
If you are filing a complaint on behalf of an adult who is capable of filing their own complaint, you will need their written consent.
If you have settled your human rights problem somewhere else, you should not file a human rights complaint.
For example, if you had a union grievance about the human rights problem that got settled, you should not file a complaint.
If you settled a problem about the same situation but did not address the human rights problem, you might be able to file a complaint. This will depend on whether you signed a “release” that includes a human rights complaint. A release says you cannot bring another proceeding about the same situation.
It is always a good idea to settle all the problems arising out of one situation at the same time.
For example, if you settled an Employment Standards problem about severance, you can file a human rights complaint about the end of your employment, as long as you did not sign a release that includes a human rights complaint.
Sometimes people are involved in more than one legal process at the same time. Even if you are trying to address discrimination in another process or by negotiating, this does not change the one year time limit for filing a human rights complaint. File your complaint within one year of the discrimination. Then you can ask the Tribunal to put your complaint on hold.
Some types of proceedings may be able to resolve human rights issues, including:
- grievance arbitrations
- complaints at the Civil Resolution Tribunal
- cases of wrongful dismissal
- complaints against a union at the Labour Relations Board
If parties are involved in another proceeding about the same human rights issue, the Human Rights Tribunal might put its process on hold until the other proceedings are finished. If the other proceedings addressed the human rights problem, then the Tribunal will end the complaint process.
Other types of proceedings cannot resolve any human rights issue, including:
- complaints at the Residential Tenancy Branch
- complaints at the Employment Standards Branch
- claims for workers’ compensation benefits
- claims for Employment Insurance
These types of proceedings will not affect a human rights complaint.
You start a complaint by completing a Tribunal form and sending it to the Tribunal within the time limit.
You cannot start a complaint over the phone. If you need help completing a Tribunal form, there are options.
The Human Rights Clinic provides half-hour appointments for information and summary advice, including assistance with complaint drafting.
You can also contact us.
The person or organization you make the complaint against has a right to know about your complaint. If the Tribunal proceeds with your complaint, it will notify the respondent.
The Tribunal does not have the power to order “costs” to the party who wins their case.
The Tribunal only has the power to order “costs” for improper conduct. Learn more by reading the Application for an Order that Another Party Pay Costs for Improper Conduct information sheet.
Usually within 30 to 60 days. If the Tribunal needs more information from you, it can take longer.