Find out whether you may have a complaint of discrimination under the Human Rights Code.
To file a complaint, use the forms on the BC Human Rights Tribunal website.
You can file a complaint for yourself, or for someone else.
You can file a complaint for two or more specific, identifiable individuals.
Example: Three women who work for the same employer and have all experienced sexual harassment on the job.
You can file a complaint for a number of individuals who share certain characteristics.
Example: All residents of Vancouver who are visually impaired and use transit.
You can get information and advice about filing your complaint at our Monday Short Service Clinic. To make an appointment, click here.
If you need help filling out the complaint form, contact Amici Curiae’s Legal Forms Service.
Please also see our list of other agencies and resources that can help.
The Tribunal screens complaints to make sure they allege something the Tribunal can address. They also check to make sure the complaint was filed within the one year limitation period.
The Tribunal may send you a letter asking you questions about your complaint. They may want more information, or submissions on why your complaint should be accepted even though it was filed late.
An Early Settlement Meeting (“ESM”) is an opportunity to see if the parties can resolve the dispute without a hearing. The Tribunal will provide a mediator who will assist the parties to negotiate a settlement.
This is a free service. It is also voluntary; both sides must be willing to participate. All discussions during an ESM are confidential. Many complaints are resolved at the ESM.
The Tribunal has a number of helpful resources for preparing for an ESM on its website.
If the complaint is not resolved at the ESM, or if one or both of the parties do not want to participate in an ESM, then the respondent must file a response to the complaint.
The Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure give respondents 35 days to file their response.
Both parties must disclose all relevant documents to the other side. You must also file a list of your documents with the Tribunal.
You must disclose any documents you have, or which you don’t have but could get, that relate to any of the issues in your complaint. This means that documents that help your case and documents that might hurt your case both have to be disclosed. Any document that might be relevant to the complaint or to the defence must be disclosed.
Failure to disclose relevant documents can seriously hurt your case. It can even lead to a costs award against you.
Documents that might be relevant to a human rights complaint include:
- Emails, texts, or other correspondence
- Meeting minutes or notes
- Your employment contract
- Pay stubs, T4s, or other financial information
- Employer policies
- Medical records
- A WorkSafe complaint
- Documents showing your efforts to mitigate your losses (e.g., work searches, information about income from new employment)
The respondent may make an application to have the complaint dismissed without a hearing. There are a number of reasons why a complaint may be dismissed without a hearing. The Tribunal publishes guides to these applications on its website.
If the respondent makes an application to dismiss your complaint without a hearing, you will have an opportunity to respond and show the Tribunal why your complaint should not be dismissed.
The Tribunal will schedule a telephone case conference to discuss hearing dates with you and the respondent. On this call, you can also ask for any accommodations you may need for the hearing, like interpreters or audio-visual equipment.
The Tribunal will send you a letter telling you when you must file a list of witnesses, a list of the remedies you want, and a list of documents that relate to the remedy.
Prepare to tell your story. Decide what evidence you will rely on to make your case. Prepare a binder of all the documents you will rely on. Make a binder for yourself, the respondent, the Tribunal Member, and the witnesses. Write out the questions you will ask the respondent and their witnesses.
Hearings are generally open to the public. Consider watching another Tribunal hearing to find out more about what to expect.
The Tribunal has some helpful resources and checklists for preparing for a hearing on its website.
Most hearings take place at the BC Human Rights Tribunal office: 605 Robson Street, 12th Floor, in Vancouver. The Tribunal can also hold hearings in other communities, as well as by telephone or video. You should determine the hearing location early on, during the telephone case conference with the Tribunal.
The Tribunal publishes a Guide to Getting Ready for a Hearing on its website.
If you are successful at the hearing, the Tribunal will issue an order. In most cases, the Tribunal will order the respondent to take steps to remedy the discrimination. This may include compensating you for lost wages or injury to your dignity, feelings and self-respect.
Usually, respondents comply with the Tribunal’s order. However, if the respondent does not comply, you may need to take steps to enforce the order.
The Tribunal cannot assist you to enforce the order. Instead, you must go to the BC Supreme Court and begin the enforcement process there. To learn more about enforcing a Tribunal order, please see our step-by-step guide.