Dismissal applications

DA1: Complaint involves a federally-regulated matter

Last updated: January 30, 2024

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Legal test: section 27(1)(a) of the Human Rights Code

Section 27(1)(a) of the Human Rights Code says the Tribunal can dismiss a complaint if “the complaint … is not within the jurisdiction of the tribunal”

The respondent must show that the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the complaint.

Information about “jurisdiction”

Jurisdiction means power to deal with a legal dispute. The Tribunal will dismiss a complaint if it decides that it does not have the power to deal with it.

The BC government created the Human Rights Code. The Code gives the Tribunal power to deal with complaints. But the Code does not apply to all complaints of discrimination:

  1. The Code only applies to conduct that BC’s provincial government can regulate. It does not apply to conduct that only Canada’s federal government can regulate. Read this page for more information.
  2. The Human Rights Code only applies to conduct connected to British Columbia. See DA2: Complaint about conduct outside BC.

Legal test: federal regulation

Regulate means to make laws about.

There is no single test about what the federal government regulates. Instead, there is a list of matters that the federal government regulates.

The list is in Canada’s constitution. The constitution divides power between the federal and provincial governments.
Some federal matters are:

  • 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

The Federal government has a list of federally regulated industries and workplaces.

The Canadian Human Rights Act applies to federal matters. 

The BC Human Rights Code applies to provincial matters. It applies to most businesses in BC.

Note: It does not matter if a business:

  • incorporates under federal law, or
  • operates in more than one province.

The BC Human Rights Code may still apply to the business.

What to include if you apply

Evidence showing the organization is on the federal list.

Sample argument

“The respondent is a trucking business. The business started in 2005. Since then, the business operates in other provinces and in the United States. About ¼ of the business is outside of BC. See my affidavit at paragraphs 5-8.

I attach the following documents to my affidavit: [list]. These documents show that the business operates in the US.

I rely on Chaudhary v. Smoother Movers, 2009 BCHRT 111 at para. 8. The main factor is whether the business “continuously and regularly” operates outside of BC.

The evidence shows that:

  • our business operates outside of BC
  • this is a regular and ongoing part of its business.”


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