Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Claims
Have you been discriminated against in the workplace? Has someone denied you service based on something you cannot control? If so, you may benefit from the legal experience of our team to make things right.
Human rights issues are some of the most basic and fundamental protections that Canadians are entitled to. You have the right to be free from discrimination and harassment. In Ottawa, and across Ontario, these rights are primarily protected by the Human Rights Code.
We assist our clients with discrimination and harassment in the five protected areas listed below. If you feel you have been discriminated against in any one of these areas, our team of Ottawa lawyers and paralegals at SG Injury Law can help you navigate any potential legal actions that are available to you.
- Procurement of goods, services, and facilities
- Membership in trade and vocational associations
What are my Human Rights?
Discrimination occurs when an individual has been treated less than equally by another because of a protected class; often for something they cannot control. Harassment is a form of discrimination in which someone engages in a pattern of vexatious comments or conduct that they should know is unwelcome. These behaviours are a violation of your human rights.
The protected classes are set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code, the laws that dictate what discrimination means and what the options are for those who have been discriminated against. In Ontario, you cannot be discriminated against for your race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed (or religion), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, disability, or receipt of public assistance.
You also have the right to accommodations for your needs if you are disabled in relation to the five key areas. Your employer, the store, or your landlord has a duty to accommodate your needs. This duty is up until the point of “undue hardship”, where the accommodation becomes too much in comparison to the benefits of the accommodation.
When does the Code not apply?
There are circumstances where your rights are not protected by the Code. If your issue is not listed in the protected classes, if the other party is subject to Federal laws instead of Ontario law, if you’ve commenced a legal action already for the issue, or if the Code indicates that discrimination is permitted. For example, it is not discrimination to refuse to serve alcohol to minors, even though that is discrimination on the grounds of age per the definition. The Code outlines the circumstances in which Ontarians are permitted to discriminate as these are often for good reasons that protect public interests.
What can I do if I’ve been discriminated against?
If you have been discriminated against for your membership of a protected class, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) is there to help settle the dispute or to preside over a hearing if you are unable to settle. If your situation meets the requirements for discrimination, you can submit an application to the HRTO to hear your case. The tribunal will then determine whether your human rights have been infringed or broken and can grant a wide range of remedies if you are successful.
This process can be challenging to navigate and is often overwhelming. SG Injury Law can represent you in these proceedings and help you determine if you would be successful and what you can be awarded if you are. A legal professional is the best way to ensure that you can fight for your rights.
When should I act if I’ve been discriminated against?
If your case falls under the Human Rights Code, you have one year from the time the discrimination happens to file an application with the HRTO. It is important to act as early as possible to determine if you have a case and if so, how best to navigate it. It is important to write down everything you can remember about the discrimination and to keep all documents that you have in relation to the issue.
What can happen if I am successful at the HRTO?
The HRTO has broad powers in Ontario to grant awards to parties where it determines that discrimination or harassment have occurred.
- They may award money as compensation. This can include money you lost or were forced to spend as result, increased rent or moving expenses, and general injury to your human dignity and feelings.
- They may order the other party to take an action. This can include giving you your job back if you were fired or order the other party to do something they failed to do such as accommodate your needs. If you would like this option, it’s something you need to think of prior to commencing an action.
- They may order a public interest remedy. This is to ensure that the discrimination does not happen again to someone else. This can be changing hiring practices, creating new policies, training staff on human rights, and more.
While monetary awards are the most common, it’s important to think of what outcome you would like to see from this process.
If you have been the victim of discrimination and/or harassment, we have the skills, experience and compassion to help you through this difficult time. For assistance with your Human Rights Tribunal Claim in Ottawa and across Eastern Ontario, contact our dedicated lawyers and paralegals at SG Injury Law today. Complete our quick contact form or call our law firm at (613) 518-2416 to schedule your free consultation.