Completing and Filing a Human Rights Application in Ontario – Basic Steps [video]

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This lecture explains the basic steps regarding the completion of a human rights application in Ontario, its filing and post-filing steps.

This lecture is taught by Amer Mushtaq, LL.B., M. Engineering , B.Sc. (Hons.), who is the Principal and Founder of Formative LLP.   Through his YouTube channel, YouCounsel, Amer shares practical advice from his years of legal experience to help anyone access justice and achieve their goals.  Subscribe today to learn more.

Show Notes:

To download the application form, click here:

Lecture Slides:


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Machine Transcription:

Welcome everyone, this is Amer Mushtaq from You Counsel. In our previous lecture on Human Rights we had provided you with an overview of the Human Rights application process in Ontario, today we’ll talk about how do you complete the application form, the Human Rights application form, and once it’s completed what do you do with it, and what happens once you have filed that application form.

We begin with a disclaimer that this course is not legal advice, so if you have any specific questions you must contact a lawyer or a paralegal.

So let’s go through some of the basic steps. Your first step is really to find the application form, download it, complete it, you can actually complete it online and file it online. Or you can download it, complete it, and then send it out. Then we’ll talk about completing the form, I’ll take you to the form, I’ll go over the form briefly to highlight some of the sections and what you should expect to write in those sections. Then we’ll talk about filing of the form with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and then you get some confirmation that you have actually filed the form. And then we’ll talk about some of the post filing steps so you understand what happens next.

Okay so application form is available online for free. You have to go to Human Rights Tribunal’s website. So let’s go to Google, type in “Human Rights Tribunal forms”, and it will take you to Human Rights Tribunal’s website. Let’s go there and you will see forms and filing, and all kinds of forms are available. You will notice that Human Rights Tribunal has smart forms, which are forms that you can complete online. So let’s say if you want to complete the form online, and then file it directly, then you click here, this is the smart from the application. I generally, my approach is not to use the smart form, I would rather download the form, complete it, make sure that it’s complete in every way and then send that completed form to Human Rights Tribunal. But you have that option and whatever your preference, is you can follow that.

You will notice here all of the tribunal forms are listed here, they’re available for downloading. What I want you to see is this applicant’s guide. If you click on that this is a very detailed guide that gives you good information about when you can file for Human Rights application and what circumstances you shouldn’t, whether your case has jurisdiction in the tribunals or not, so these kind of things are all there, you must read. If you have not filed an application form before, make sure you download the applicant’s guide and you read it.

But the actual application form is Form 1. Let’s click on it and I’ll show you what this form looks like, and then we’ll talk about it in a little bit more detail.

So the first two pages are really a lot of information that some of it we have already covered in our previous topic, other we haven’t. And so we’re going to talk about that form again. I’m going to go in the area where we can talk about how you complete the form. You scroll down, I think it’s about the third page or something, where you start providing information. So the very first section, it’s divided into certain sections, let’s see if I can expand it a bit. The first section is personal contact information, that’s your information, the applicant’s information, you want to put your first name, last name, all the information, your contact information, your address. And what you want to notice further down, what is the best way to send the information to you? And the best way to do that is, if you prefer mail, then Human Rights Tribunal will use mail. If you want email, then you check that box, and if you want fax, then there’s a box for fax. Let me see if I can make this a bit smaller.

Okay, so you complete that information, your information, then you have an option in Section 2 to provide alternative contact information, so if you’re not comfortable receiving all this correspondence from Human Rights Tribunal at your address, then you can have an alternative contact information, you can provide that here. And then finally if you have a representative, a lawyer or a paralegal or legal support center, if any of those organizations are representing you then this action needs to be filled out, and you must authorize that person to represent you. So their information comes in this section and further down their full address, if it’s if the law firm you provide the law firm’s name, if it’s an individual you provide that and this information is filled out.

Next comes the respondent’s information and depending upon how many respondents you have you add all of the respondents in the section. Whether it’s an organization respondent then you provide that information, if it’s an individual check this box and provide the individual respondent’s information. You want to make sure that at this stage you don’t miss out on any respondents, so for instance if it’s a discrimination issue at employment, and you believe that a colleague, or a supervisor, or a superior has discriminated against you then you can bring a complaint, bring an application against that individual, but you should also name the company as one of the respondents too. Because you know a lot of conduct of an employee, the company may be found liable for that conduct, for not ensuring that Human Rights were looked after for you in that organization. So if there are more than one respondent you want to make sure that you list all of those respondents in here. And you can notice here that if there are more respondents to check this box and you will see that you will have space to add more respondents.

Next comes the grounds for discrimination and all of the grounds are listed here from Human Rights Code. Your goal is to check as many boxes as you believe apply. Further down you want to talk about areas of discrimination. There are five areas of discrimination under Human Rights Code, employment, housing, good services and facilities, contracts, membership in a vocational association. So depending upon what area applies to your case you check that box here, and if it has more than one area then you check that box. So you have the option to check more boxes by clicking “yes” here, and then adding more boxes.

Coming down to facts that support your application, this is an important section, you want to make sure that you get it right. Whether the discrimination you’re talking about happened in Ontario, in what city/town, dates of the last event, and date of the last event is important. If it’s a single incident then you put the date of that incident, if it was a series of events that occurred that you believe all contributed to discrimination then you put the last event and its date. And it’s important because for Human Rights application to be heard by the Tribunal you have one year, so the statute of limitations is one year, not two years as it happens in many of the court cases. So it’s one year from the date that the last event occurred. So if there’s a series of events, they may have spanned for two, three, four, five years in some cases, but you are limitation period starts from the last event so that that date is important, so you want to keep that in mind.

And if you have exceeded the one year limitation period then you need to explain why you believe your application should be heard, and the tribunal will then decide whether they want to hear your application or not, or the circumstances justify that the limitations period be waived in your case.

Sections eight and nine deal with actually what happens. Eight is what happened and the nine is the effects on you. What you can do is, and it says, you know, what happened, who was involved, when did it happen, and where it happened. And you can start typing in here, “on such and such date, you know, so and so person discriminated against me.” So you can type in here whatever your contents are, whatever your dispute is, but my suggestion and the way the lawyers most of the lawyers I know do, is that rather than typing in here they actually attach a schedule and then put all of that information in that schedule. So you type in here, “see attached schedule ‘A’” and then you put all the information about what happened in that section. It looks a bit cleaner that’s what I like, because you’re telling a narrative, a story. It looks better if it’s in one document contained separately, and similarly the facts you want to type in here “please see attached schedule ‘A’.” And you put that information in there and that’s fine, the tribunal is okay with that, just you want to make sure that those documents are attached. But if you want to fill out this form and put all the information in here you can do you that too. But you have limited formatting options here so I my recommendation is to do it on a separate document.

Okay scrolling down, you will explain what kind of remedy you’re looking for. First of the monetary compensation you put the total amount here, and then you explain how you got to that number. Is it loss of income, is that pain and suffering, is it injury to your dignity, feelings of self-worth? You know all of those categories are categories for seeking damages so you seek that. Then you can talk about non-monetary remedy, if you want to apology letter or something else, which is not based on money you can indicate that here. And then in the third section you can talk about public interest remedies, meaning you can ask the tribunals to make the respondent to take a Human Rights course or have a Human Rights audit of the workplace. Whatever you believe is an appropriate remedy so that such discrimination does not happen again for other employees or other people, you can you can provide some remedies, you can ask for certain remedies here, and the tribunal will decide whether those remedies are appropriate or not.

Now this section is about mediation. Mediation is optional, if you want to go and attend mediation to see if you can resolve it you check this box, “yes”. If you don’t want to mediation and you want this matter to go straight to the hearing then you don’t need to check this box. Tribunal, at least Tribunal in Ontario, has this common practice that if you have not checked this box and you don’t want the mediation, they will at least contact you and ask you if that’s still the case. Because a lot of times mediation is a helpful step and it may help parties to resolve the issue. So if you check the mediation the tribunal schedules a mediation. One of the Vice-Chairs from the tribunal attends that mediation, it’s all confidential and then he or she will try to help you settle this case. And if it doesn’t settle, then that person will not be the adjudicator for the hearing.

This is an important section: Other Legal Proceedings. If there is a Civil Court Action or Human Rights complaint, or, you know, a Union Complaint, a Grievance Process, any other proceeding that deals with the same or similar subject matter, similar facts, then you need to provide that information here. If it’s a Union Grievance, a claim with another board or tribunal, or a court action or something like that, any legal proceeding if you have commenced, you need to explain that. Because in my previous lecture, as you may have noticed that, you cannot have multiple proceedings with different bodies at the same time. So the tribunal will then decide whether it’s appropriate to proceed with your application or defer your application until the other proceeding has been resolved in any way. So you’ll have to provide all that information here and then you will provide in the next section supporting documents with respect to your application.

So first section is documents that you have, you list the name of the document, the date, why it is important to your application, you briefly explain it. Important documents that the respondents may have, if you have knowledge of that, you list the document’s name, why it is important, and which respondent has that document. Then if any other organization has documents that may be helpful to your case, then you list those documents here. Because at a later stage you can have an order from the Tribunal to compel that organization to produce those documents, because they are relevant to this hearing. You also provide confidential lists of your witnesses if there are any. This witness list at this stage is not shared with the respondents. It’s confidential, it’s for Tribunal’s knowledge, and so you provide that information.

Any other important information that you want to share with Tribunal, you provide that here, and then all the documents that you have attached you check this box and depending upon what documents you’re providing and these are relating to any other proceeding that you may have on the same topic, you can plead that out. And then the last action is declaration and signature, you put the date here if you click on it you can actually choose a date – that’s the 22nd of February 2017, which is today. And then if you want to file this electronically, you check this box, which represents your signature. So once this is done, you save this document in your computer and you can send it to Human Rights Tribunal by email, this is the email address of the registrar. You can send it by fax and we’ll talk about how you send the documents.

So this is about filling out the form and I think some of the tips that I mentioned was that you want to make sure that you cover as many respondents as you can, you cover as many areas of discrimination as you believe were relevant, and then you want to use the Schedule ‘A’ to provide an effective narrative of what happened, a compelling story so that can help your case.

Okay, so you can file the form with the Tribunal by email, you can send it by fax, you can go in person, you can send it by mail or courier, and you may want to know that there are no fees for filing a Human Rights application, there are fees for filing court documents but no fees for Human Rights application.

Okay once the application is filed you want to make sure that you have some confirmation. If you send it by email, generally speaking any email that you sent to Human Rights Tribunal, you will get an automatic response stating that your document or email has been received and the Tribunal will review it at a later stage. You want to make sure that you keep that email for your records because if you need to prove at a later stage that you have actually filed your application then that will be helpful. If you file it in person you want to make sure you have some confirmation, and if you use another means like courier or registered mail you want to make sure that you have some confirmation of the filing of your application form.

Okay so what happens after you’ve filed? The Tribunal will review your application to make sure it’s complete, it’s proper, and that it’s something that is within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. If it’s not, the Tribunal will contact you and advise you that your application has certain deficiencies and provide you the reasons why the application cannot be heard. But if everything is okay then the Tribunal will issue a file number and then will send you a letter confirming that your application is issued, and the Tribunal will send out the application to the respondents. It’s Tribunal’s role to serve the application on the respondents, you don’t have to serve it. So once the Tribunal will serve the application on the respondents, and they have a specific timeline to complete their response and file it with the Tribunal, and the Tribunal will send you their response, and then you will have an option to file a reply and we’ll talk about those further steps in our future lecture, but the idea of this lecture was to for you to see where the forms are, how do you download them, how do you generally complete those forms. We haven’t talked about the contents because you can have all kinds of discrimination issues and we have not discussed that in this lecture, we’ll cover that probably in other lectures. But the idea is you complete the form, you file it, you want to make sure that you keep records of the filing. And then once the Tribunal has reviewed your application, they will issue the application by issuing a file number and then serving it on the respondent.

Hopefully that was helpful for you to understand how the actual application is completed and filled out. On that Tribunal forms page there’s an applicant’s guide that I mentioned there also Rules of Tribunals procedure – you want to make sure that you read those rules on it to better understand what is the process at the Tribunal in terms of advancing your application. We’ll continue to add more topics and more lectures on the Human Rights matter, but if there’s anything you want to share with us, any topics that you want us to cover specifically, please let us know and we’ll be happy to add that in our future lectures. Thank you for watching.

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