Applicant's Guide to Filing an Application with the HRTO


This Guide provides general information only. It should not be taken as legal advice, a determination of how the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the HRTO) will decide any particular issue or a substitute for the HRTO's Rules of Procedure, Practice Directions, or Policies.

This Guide provides information about how to prepare your Application to the HRTO and general information about the Human Rights Code, the HRTO and how the HRTO will process your Application after it is filed.

Follow the steps in the Guide as you fill out your Application (Form 1) and the supplemental form or forms (Forms 1A-E).

For more detailed information, please consult the HRTO's Rules of Procedure and Practice Directions as well as other guides to the HRTO's process.

This document is available on the internet at sjto.ca/hrto and in various accessible formats. For an alternative format or a paper copy, please contact the HRTO at: 416-326-1312, toll-free: 1-866-598-0322, TTY: 416-326-2027, TTY toll-free: 1-866-607-1240.

Table of Contents:

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS CODE

The Human Rights Code (the "Code") is an Ontario law that says that every person has the right:

The five social areas are:

The grounds of discrimination are:

The Code also prohibits:

When does the Code not apply?

Not all unfair conduct or unequal treatment is discrimination under the Code. The HRTO has the jurisdiction (power) to decide only applications that are within one or more of the five social areas and involve one or more of the grounds of discrimination identified in the Code.

The Code also includes some exceptions to its protections in certain situations. For example, the Code states that a person cannot be treated differently because of their age, but it allows different insurance rates based on age. The exceptions are found in the section of the Code called "Part II Definitions and Application".

Another exemption occurs in housing. The Code allows an owner to refuse to rent to someone based on their gender or race if:

To find out if your situation falls within an exemption, consult the Code, contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, or seek legal advice.

The HRTO cannot hear applications about organizations that fall under federal jurisdiction. Organizations or activities that generally fall under federal jurisdiction include:

If your Application is directed at the federal government or an organization which is under federal jurisdiction contact:

Canadian Human Rights Commission
344 Slater Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, ON K1A 1E1
Website: http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca
Phone: 613-995-1151
Toll-free: 1-888-214-1090
TTY: 1-888-643-3304
Fax: 613-996-9661

Note: just because a corporation is federally "incorporated" does not mean that it is a federal work or undertaking. [See the Canadian government's list of federal departments and agencies].

Human Rights and Other Proceedings

Human rights claims can also be raised in other legal proceedings such as a civil action in the courts, grievance arbitration or proceeding before another board or tribunal such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal or the Landlord and Tenant Board. For more information about how this could affect an application filed with the HRTO, see the sections in this guide on Other Legal Proceedings.

Learn more about rights and responsibilities under the Code

If you want general information about discrimination and the Code, visit the Ontario Human Rights Commission's website

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL OF ONTARIO

The HRTO is responsible for resolving applications filed by individuals, or filed on behalf of another individual, which claim discrimination or harassment under the Code. References to "discrimination" in the rest of this Guide include "harassment."

If the parties agree, the HRTO will try to help both sides reach an agreement that settles the application. This is done through a process called mediation.

If an application cannot be settled, the HRTO will hold a hearing to decide whether discrimination took place. If the HRTO finds that the applicant experienced discrimination, the HRTO can make an order to address the discrimination. This can include ordering the individual or organization responding to the application (the respondent) to pay financial compensation to the applicant and/or making orders to prevent further human rights violations. If the HRTO finds that discrimination did not occur, it will dismiss the application.

The HRTO's Rules and procedures are designed to deal with all applications fairly and expeditiously, in a way that allows parties to understand and fully participate in the HRTO's processes.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO FILING A HUMAN RIGHTS APPLICATION

If you believe you have experienced discrimination on one of the grounds protected by the Code, you have the right to apply to the HRTO. You will be called the applicant.

On the Application (Form 1), you must name the organization(s) and any individuals you believe are responsible for the discrimination. These are called respondents. For more information on who should be included as a respondent, please read the HRTO's Practice Direction on Naming Respondents.

Follow this Guide to fill out your Application (Form 1) and the relevant supplemental form(s). Each of the questions on the Application Form is numbered. The numbers used in the Guide correspond to the numbers used on the Application Form.

Your Application may be delayed if you do not provide all the information asked for in both the Application and the supplemental form or forget to attach required documents. You should ensure that your Application is legible. Please print clearly or type your answers.

This Guide is not legal advice. The Human Rights Legal Support Centre (the "Legal Support Centre") gives free legal assistance throughout Ontario to individuals who believe they have experienced discrimination. The Legal Support Centre may be able to help you fill out your Application and also help you during the HRTO process.

Human Rights Legal Support Centre
180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor Toronto, ON M7A 0A1

Tel (Toronto): 416-597-4900
Tel (toll-free): 1-866-625-5179
TTY (Toronto): 416-597-4903
TTY (toll-free): 1-866-612-8627
Website: www.hrlsc.on.ca

The Legal Support centre's phone lines are open at the followings times:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Thursday: 2 - 6 p.m.

If you wish to hire a lawyer and do not know one, you can use the Law Society of Upper Canada's online Lawyer Referral Service. The service provides the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options.

Legal clinics, including community legal clinics and specialized legal clinics for particular vulnerable communities, provide free legal assistance to people who have low incomes. You can find these legal clinics under "Legal Aid" in the phone book. You can also check Legal Aid Ontario's website or phone them:

Toll-free outside Toronto: 1-800-668-8258
In Toronto: 416-979-1446
Toll-free TTY: 1-866-641-8867
TTY in Toronto: 416-598-8867

Justice Ontario has information on finding a lawyer, paralegal or community legal clinic in 170 different languages: toll-free 1-866-252-0104; TTY (Toronto): 416-326-4012 and online at justiceontario.ca.

Do you need copies of HRTO forms?

You may obtain copies of Forms on the HRTO's website under "Forms and Filing" or you can contact the HRTO at:

Registrar
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
655 Bay St. 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2A3

Tel (Toronto): 416-326-1312
Tel (Toll Free): 1-866-598-0322
TTY (Toronto): 416-326-2027
TTY (Toll Free): 1-866-607-1240
Fax: 416-326-2199
Fax (Toll Free): 1-866-355-6099
Email: HRTO.Registrar@ontario.ca

The HRTO's forms are available in a variety of accessible formats. Please contact the Registrar if you require an alternative format or need some other form of accommodation of a Code-protected ground.

COMPLETING YOUR APPLICATION

Questions 1 to 3: Applicant's Contact information

The HRTO and the other organizations or people involved in your Application will need to send materials to you on a regular basis. For this reason, we need your contact information.

It is very important that you provide the HRTO with up-to-date contact information. If your contact information changes, you must let the HRTO know immediately or you may miss important information or notices about your Application. In some cases, if the HRTO cannot contact you, your Application may be dismissed as abandoned. Please see the Practice Direction on Communicating with the HRTO.

Question 1: Personal Contact Information

This is where you provide your contact information (name, address, telephone etc.). Make sure you give your complete contact information here. This address will be shared with everyone involved in your Application unless you complete question 2.

NOTE: If you provide your email address, you are consenting to the HRTO, the respondent(s) and any other party delivering documents and other information to you by email.

The HRTO will send information to the address you have provided to us. If your contact information changes, you must advise the HRTO and all the parties and their representatives immediately.

Question 2: Alternative Contact Information

If you do not want the HRTO to share your contact information with other persons involved in your Application, or if you believe it will be difficult for the HRTO to contact you at your current address, you may provide contact information for someone else who will receive all correspondence relating to your Application. Make sure that person knows you have made this decision and agrees to be your alternative contact. The alternative contact should understand how important it is that communications about your application are given to you as soon as they are received.

Question 3: Representative Contact Information

If you have a lawyer, paralegal or other person acting as your representative, all communication from the HRTO and the respondent will be sent to that person. You must give us their complete contact information, and you must check the box that authorizes this person to act as your representative. If your representative is not a lawyer or licensed paralegal, please see the Practice Direction on Representation before Social Justice Tribunals Ontario, which explains who may appear as a representative in a proceeding.

Question 4. Respondent Contact Information

You must give the HRTO the name of each organization and any person against whom you are asking the HRTO to make an order. Each organization or person you name will be a respondent in your Application. If an individual was acting in the regular course of his or her employment or duties, you may not need to name the individual as a separate respondent in addition to the organization. You should get legal advice if you have any questions about who the respondent(s) should be. For further information, see the HRTO's Practice Direction on Naming Respondents.

Give complete, correct contact information for each respondent. If you are naming a corporation or organization as a respondent, it is important that you provide the correct legal name. You may want to do a corporate search to confirm the correct legal name of the respondent.

You will also need to identify a contact person for the organization and give contact information for that person. The contact person should be someone (for example the president, the human resources manager or the property manager) who will be able to respond on behalf of the organization. A contact person is not a respondent to the application. If you also want to name the contact personal as a respondent, you must include his or her information in both place places on the form.

Naming an Ontario government ministry or agency as a respondent

The HRTO does hear claims against the Ontario government. When you name a government ministry as a respondent in your Application, you must write it like this:

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario, as represented by the Minister of ___________________ (Put in the name of the ministry)

Remember the Code does not apply to the federal government or federally regulated activities.

Question 5: Grounds of Discrimination Claimed

The Code includes a list of specific grounds of discrimination. These are listed on your Application. Put an x in the box beside each ground that you believe applies to the discrimination you have claimed. The Code provides definitions of some of the grounds. See section 10 of the Code.

You can check off more than one ground. For example, if you believe that you were discriminated against because you are a woman of African descent, you may choose to put an x beside Race, Colour, Ancestry, and Sex. You cannot create a new ground of discrimination and add it to the list or change a listed ground.

Types of Discrimination

Association: An example of discrimination on the basis of association is if you were denied housing because your partner is of a particular race or colour.

Reprisal: Reprisal under the Code means that you believe the respondent intended to punish you for claiming or enforcing your rights under the Code; for instituting or participating in proceedings under the Code; or refusing to infringe the right of another person under the Code. An example of reprisal is if you were denied a promotion in your job because you filed an earlier human rights application. If you select reprisal you must explain how the alleged reprisal is linked to claiming or enforcing your rights under the Code; instituting or participating in proceedings under the Code; or refusing to infringe the right of another person under the Code.

Record of offences: Record of offences has a very special meaning in the Code. If you select record of offences you must explain how you were discriminated against because of a conviction for which you have received a pardon or for an offence under a provincial enactment. It only applies to claims made in the area of employment.

Family status and marital status: Family status and marital status are not the same. Family status means being in a parent and child relationship. Marital status refers to the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside marriage.

The Tribunal does not have the power to deal with Applications that do not relate to one of the grounds set out in question 5. You must explain in your Application how you allege that you were discriminated against based upon the grounds selected.

Question 6: Area of Alleged Discrimination

The Code names five areas in which discrimination is not allowed (also known as social areas). In your Application, put an x in the box for the area where you feel you have experienced discrimination. The Code prohibits discrimination only in these five areas and if your Application does not relate to one of them, it will be dismissed.

If you believe you were discriminated against in more than one area, you should check "yes" to the box that asks, "Does your Application allege discrimination in any other areas?" and identify the other areas.

You also need to complete a special form (supplemental form) for each social area that you check off. If you identify more than one social area, you will need to file more than one supplemental form.

Here are the areas and some examples of situations that would be included in each social area.

Employment: You cannot be discriminated against in getting and keeping a job, a promotion, or a raise. You cannot be discriminated against in your working conditions or in workplace discipline. You have the right to be free of harassment because of a Code ground in the workplace. For example, you cannot be sexually harassed at work. Housing: The Code protects you in your "occupancy of accommodation" - the place where you live or want to live. This means, for example, you cannot be discriminated against in renting your home. You cannot be evicted on discriminatory grounds. You have the right to be free from harassment because of a Code ground by building management or other tenants. For example, a landlord cannot deny you an apartment because you are an Aboriginal person.

Goods, services and facilities: You have the right to be free from discrimination when buying a product or getting a service, or using a building or facility that is open to the public. This includes equal treatment and freedom from harassment in privately-owned services or facilities, such as stores, restaurants and theatres. It includes public services and facilities, such as police services, schools, education, health care, public transit, and government programs. For example, a police officer cannot discriminate against you because you are Muslim.

Contracts: The Code protects you from discrimination in both written, oral (spoken) or signed (in the case of sign language) contracts. It covers all types of contracts, such as buying a house or a business. For example, a condo corporation cannot refuse to sell you a condo because you have children.

Membership: Every person has the right to equal treatment in membership in a union, a trade or occupational association, or a self-governing profession. For example, a union cannot refuse you membership because you are a woman.

Completing the supplemental forms

You must fill out a special supplemental form for the area you selected. The forms are:

The Facts that Support Your Application

Question 7: Location and Date

This question has four parts. Please be sure to answer all four parts.

You must tell us where the events happened. If the events did not occur in Ontario, the HRTO may not be able to deal with this Application. In most cases, the Code applies only to discrimination that happened in Ontario.

If the discrimination happened in more than one place, give the name of each place.

If you are applying more than one year after the last discriminatory event, you must tell us why you are applying now.

The date of the last event or incident of discrimination is very important. The HRTO does not have the jurisdiction (power) to accept an application that is filed more than a year after the last event of discrimination unless you provide good faith reasons for the delay. If you do not provide this information, the HRTO may dismiss your application. The Tribunal's cases have generally found that to show good faith, you must have experienced an exceptional situation such as being in the hospital.

You must provide the date of the last event or incident of discrimination or the last of a series of events or incidents of discrimination.

If you say there were a series of incidents, please be sure to explain how the incidents are connected with each other in your answer to Question 8. If there is a gap of more than one year between the incidents in the series, please be sure to explain this gap. The HRTO may ask for more information at a later date.

Question 8: What Happened?

You must tell the HRTO what happened to make you believe that the respondent has discriminated against you based on one of the grounds in the Code. It will be easiest to understand your story if you start from the beginning and end with the last incident of discrimination. Type, print or write clearly and use only one side of the page. A very helpful way to make your story clear is to include only one incident or event in a paragraph and to number the paragraphs so you can refer back to if necessary.

Explain each event and include:

We encourage you to tell your story in chronological order. Start from the beginning and end on the date of the last incident. Be sure to tell us of every incident and explain each one.

It may not be possible for you to raise new incidents of discrimination at the hearing if they are not mentioned in the Application. It is therefore very important to include every incident of discrimination and every fact and issue you wish to speak about in the hearing or the mediation.

Provide enough detail to explain what happened, who was there, and when and where it happened. Also, if the way you were treated is different from the way other people are treated, be sure to explain that as well. You must explain why you believe that the treatment you received was because of the prohibited grounds you identified in question 5.

If your Application is about a policy or practice that has a negative impact on you, be sure to describe the policy or practice and describe how its impact on you is related to a Code ground.

The Effect on You

Question 9: How the Events You Described Affected You

Explain how the discrimination affected you (financial, social, health or other). For example:

The Remedy Sought

Question 10: The Remedy

The Code gives the HRTO powers to make orders and to award remedies. Explain what remedies you want and why.

There are three types of remedies the HRTO can order if it finds discrimination happened:

Monetary Compensation: The HRTO can make an order that the respondent pay you money damages for:

The HRTO can also order the respondent to pay interest on the money that is awarded as damages.

Non-Monetary Remedy: The HRTO can order the respondent to do something that will put you in the position you would have been in if the discrimination had not happened. For example, if you lost your job because of the discrimination, the HRTO could order that you get your job back. Or, if your employer refused to meet your particular Code-related needs, the HRTO could order that the employer meet those needs.

Remedy for Future Compliance with the Code: A remedy for future compliance with the Code is an action that the respondent can be ordered to take to prevent similar discrimination from happening in the future. For example, the HRTO could order the respondent to change hiring practices, develop new policies, or have all staff receive training on a human rights policy.

Mediation

Question 11: Choosing Mediation to Resolve Your Application

The HRTO offers mediation to assist parties in resolving their disputes. It is a less formal process and can achieve a resolution more quickly than a hearing. Mediation is voluntary. Mediation can only happen if the parties agree to it.

An HRTO adjudicator will be assigned to mediate your Application. The parties must sign a mediation agreement agreeing to, among other things, keep what is said in the mediation confidential. The adjudicator will meet with all the parties to talk about the Application and to try and work out a solution that all parties can accept. If a settlement is reached, the parties will sign a written agreement. Any party can come back to the HRTO if the agreement is broken. This is done by a new application to the HRTO using a Form 18.

If mediation does not settle all the issues, a hearing will still take place and another adjudicator will decide the Application. What is said during the mediation by the mediator or by any party cannot be mentioned at the hearing unless both parties agree.

At the hearing, if the parties consent, the adjudicator may attempt to settle the Application in a process called mediation-adjudication.

If you want to try mediation, put an x in the "Yes" box on the Application form. The HRTO encourages you to try mediation.

An adjudicator may contact parties who do not agree to mediation in the application and response to discuss the possibility of mediation.

Other Legal Proceedings

The Application asks whether you are or have been involved with other legal proceedings related to the same facts or issues that are raised in your Application. You must answer "yes" or "no" to all the questions in this section or your Application may be treated as incomplete, and the HRTO will not be able to process it.

Question 12: Civil Court Action

If you have made a claim in a court that is related to the events in your Application, you must include a copy of the statement of claim with your Application. The HRTO may not process your Application without a copy of the Statement of Claim.

The Code does not let you have both an HRTO Application and a court claim based on the same facts if you are also asking the court to provide a remedy for the human rights violation.

If you withdraw your court claim before the court makes a decision, you will not be barred from filing an application with the HRTO because of the court claim.

If you are not asking the court to give you a remedy for the human rights violation but your action is based on some or all of the same facts, the HRTO may defer (postpone) dealing with your Application until the court claim is over. Please tell us whether or not you would like the HRTO to defer processing of your Application. The respondent will also be asked for its position on deferral.

Question 13: Complaint Filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission

You must tell us whether you previously filed a complaint with the Commission based on the same or substantially the same facts as your Application.

If so, you will need to include a copy of the complaint. The HRTO will not process your Application until it receives a copy of the Commission complaint.

Questions 14 and 15: Other Proceedings

The issues in your Application may also be part of another proceeding such as:

If this is the case:

  1. You must inform the HRTO about the other proceeding and include a copy of the document that started the other proceeding with your application. The HRTO may not process your application until it receives this document.
  2. If the other proceeding is still going on, the HRTO may decide to defer (postpone) your Application. You and the respondent will be asked for your position on deferral. You or the respondent can also request a deferral.
  3. If the other proceeding is completed, the HRTO may dismiss your Application in whole or in part if it finds that the other proceeding has appropriately dealt with the substance of your Application. You will have an opportunity to explain why you believe the other proceeding did not appropriately deal with the substance of your Application.

Documents That Support This Application

List the most important documents that you believe will support your Application.

Question 16: Important Documents You Have

Please list the important documents that you have. Be sure to indicate if you are claiming that any of the documents are "privileged" and will not be disclosed. Privilege is a legal term and only applies in rare circumstances. If you have questions about whether a document may be privileged, please ask a legal advisor.

Do not send copies of the documents listed in Question 16 with your Application. The HRTO does not need these documents until it is closer to the time for the hearing. Please understand that any documents you do send with your Application will be shared with the respondent when the HRTO delivers your Application to a responding party.

Question 17: Important Documents the Respondent Has

Please list the important documents that you do not have, but that you believe the respondent has.

Question 18: Important Documents Another Person or Organization Has

Please list the important documents that you believe someone else has that you do not have.

When your Application is scheduled for a hearing, the HRTO will send you and the respondent a Notice of Confirmation of Hearing. Once you get the Confirmation of Hearing notice, you and the respondent have 21 days to exchange all documents that are arguably relevant to your Application. The Tribunal generally will not decide requests for production of documents prior to this date.

For more information about exchanging documents prior to a hearing, see the Guide to Preparing for a Hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Confidential List of Witnesses

Question 19: Witnesses

List the names of witnesses who have important information that will support your Application. Explain why their information is important.

This part of your Application will be kept confidential by the HRTO. We will not send this section of your Application to the respondent when we deliver the Application. Once your Application is scheduled for a hearing, you and the respondent must exchange witness lists and statements.

For more information about witnesses, see the Guide to Preparing for a Hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Other Important Information

Question 20: Other information the Tribunal should know

This is your opportunity to tell the HRTO other information that you believe is important but did not fit into any other question on the Application. For example, it may be important to tell the HRTO if you are aware of other similar or related applications filed against the same respondent.

FINAL STEPS BEFORE FILING THE APPLICATION

Checklist of Required Documents

Use this checklist to make sure that you have attached or will send all of the documents you need to complete your Application. You can send the documents together with your Application, or separately by mail, fax or email. If sent separately, you must clearly write your name and the respondent(s) name on each document and send them to the HRTO within five business.

Question 21: Area of Discrimination under the Code

This question reminds you to complete and include the supplemental form that relates to the social area you chose when you answered Question 6.

If you are completing the Application on paper, be sure to attach the supplemental form. If you are completing the Application on-line, the form will attach to your Application automatically.

If you do not send in the supplemental form, your Application will be treated as incomplete and the HRTO will not be able to process it.

Question 22: Documents from questions 12-15

This question reminds you to include the documents related to another legal proceeding if you answered "yes" to one or more of question 12-15. You must include such documents with your Application. If you are filing your Application online, you must remember to send the document to the HRTO right away. If the HRTO does not receive the document, it may not process your Application.

Declaration and Signature

Question 23: Declaration and Signature

Before you sign your Application, carefully read:

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy

The HRTO will use the information you have sent us to deal with your Application and to fulfill our responsibilities under the Code.

The information in your Application, as well as other information about your case, may become public during the HRTO's process. For example, your information will become public at the hearing and in any decisions an adjudicator has to make about your Application.

The Code requires the HRTO to share your Application and any filed Response with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Your information could also become public in response to a request to the HRTO under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. You will be notified of any request and asked to provide your position on it.

If the Application proceeds to a hearing, the hearing will be open to the public.

When an adjudicator makes a decision about your Application, it will be given to you and the other parties, and sent to legal reporting services where they can be accessed by members of the public.

By signing your Application, you are declaring that you understand your information can become public in these ways.

Signing your Application

When you sign your Application, you declare that your Application is as complete and accurate as you can make it. Do not sign until you are sure that you can declare this.

If you are filing your Application electronically, clicking the box in the Declaration section represents your legal signature.

OTHER INFORMATION ON THE APPLICATION FORM

Do You Require Accommodation?

The HRTO will accommodate your Code-related needs in accordance with the SJTO Accessibility and Accommodation Policy. You can contact the HRTO to send you a copy.

If you require accommodation of your Code-related needs to participate in the HRTO processes contact the Registrar at:

Registrar
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
655 Bay St. 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2A3

Tel (Toronto): 416-326-1312
Tel (Toll Free): 1-866-598-0322
TTY (Toronto): 416-326-2027
TTY (Toll Free): 1-866-607-1240
Fax: 416-326-2199
Fax (Toll Free): 1-866-355-6099
Email: HRTO.Registrar@ontario.ca

How to Send Your Application to the HRTO

If you are completing your Application on-line, you will have sent the HRTO your Application when you press "submit."

You can also send your Application by mail to:

Registrar
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
655 Bay St. 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2A3

Or you can send your Application by email at Email: HRTO.Registrar@ontario.ca

Or you can send your Application by fax to 416-326-2199 or Toll Free: 1-866-355-6099.

Note: Please submit/send your Application only once. If the HRTO receives this Application more than once, we will only accept the first Application received.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

After you file your application

For more detailed information on the process for resolving applications before the HRTO, see the Application and Hearing Process and the Guide to Preparing for a Hearing Before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

APPLICATION FILE NUMBER

We will assign a file number to your Application. You must use this number in all future communications with the HRTO about your Application.

Completeness Review

HRTO staff will review your Application to make sure that it is legible and complete. If you have not answered a question, have not included a supplemental form or have answered "yes" to Questions 12, 13, 14 or 15 and did not send the required document, the HRTO will write to you explaining how your Application is incomplete and asking for the missing information or document. The HRTO will not accept your Application for processing until we consider it complete.

If you do not respond or you do not provide all the missing information, the HRTO will not process your Application and will administratively close your file.

Jurisdiction Review

HRTO staff will review the Application to see if it appears to raise issues that are covered by the Code, and that the HRTO has the power (jurisdiction) to decide. This will include, among other things, checking to see whether the Application appears to have been filed more than one year after the last incident of discrimination, whether the respondent may be a federally regulated business or organization, whether there is an ongoing civil proceeding, and whether your Application makes allegations that fall under a ground and area not covered by the Code.

Notice of Intent to Dismiss

If it appears that your Application raises issues that the HRTO does not have the power to decide, the HRTO may send you a Notice of Intent to Dismiss the Application (NOID). The NOID is not usually sent to the respondent.

The NOID will explain why it was issued and what information the HRTO needs from you. It may also identify certain HRTO decisions that will help you understand the issues better. HRTO decisions are all available free of charge on the Canadian Legal Information Institute website.

You may want to review this website for other decisions that support your position. If you feel that other decisions are helpful, be sure to mention them in your written submissions to the HRTO.

The NOID will ask you to respond to the Registrar in writing by a specific date. If you think you will need more time to respond, you must write to the Registrar and ask for an extension. Unless you are given an extension, you must respond to the HRTO by the date set in the NOID. If you do not, the HRTO may make its decision based only on what is in your Application or may decide that you have abandoned your Application and dismiss it for that reason.

An HRTO adjudicator will review your application and submissions and decide whether, at this very early stage, it is plain and obvious that the HRTO does not have the power to decide your Application. The decision will be sent to you and the other parties named in the Application.

The other parties will be given a copy of the Application and any other materials you filed at the same time as they receive the decision.

If the adjudicator decides that it is not plain and obvious that the Application is outside the HRTO's power to decide, the Application will continue in the HRTO's process.

A decision to continue with the Application is not a final decision on whether the HRTO has the power to deal with the application. The respondent may raise this or other jurisdictional issues in its Response or later.

Notice of Intent to Defer

The HRTO may also determine whether it is appropriate to defer (postpone) dealing with your Application. For example, your Application might be deferred if there is another proceeding in progress, such as a grievance under your workplace collective agreement or court case dealing with the same issues as in your Application.

If it appears appropriate to defer your Application until the other proceeding is over, the HRTO will send a Notice of Intent to Defer to you and the other parties. All parties will be asked for their position on deferral.

The Notice will ask you to respond in writing by a specific date. You must send your response to the Registrar and to all the other parties by that date. If you think you will need more time to respond, you must write to the Registrar and ask for an extension. A copy of your letter must be given to the other parties. Unless you are given an extension, you must respond to the HRTO by the date set in the Notice.

If you do not respond, the HRTO may make its decision based only on what is in your Application and what the other parties say or may dismiss your Application as abandoned.

The respondent is normally not required to file a Response (Form 2) to the Application until the HRTO has received and considered submissions on whether to postpone dealing with the Application.

The HRTO will review the written submissions on deferral and make a decision. All parties will receive a copy of the decision. If the Application is deferred the decision will explain how to reactivate it once the other proceeding is completed.

Review for Summary Hearing

If it appears that the Application is within the HRTO's power to decide but that there may be no reasonable prospect that the Application will succeed, the HRTO may schedule a summary hearing. This review can happen at any time and often occurs before the Response is filed.

Where the HRTO decides to hold a summary hearing, it will send all the parties a Case Assessment Direction (CAD) explaining why it has ordered a summary hearing and providing directions about the summary hearing. Summary hearings usually take half a day and take place by telephone.

The CAD will tell the applicant what the HRTO wishes to have addressed at the summary hearing and whether the HRTO needs any documents to be able to make its decision. The HRTO may not require the respondent to file a Response to the Application but may ask the respondent to provide some information about a particular point to be addressed at the summary hearing.

After considering the parties' submissions, the HRTO will issue a decision either dismissing the Application because there is no reasonable prospect of success or allowing some or all of the Application to proceed.

THE RESPONDENT

Delivering your Application to the Respondent

Once your Application is complete and has been reviewed by HRTO staff, it will be delivered to the respondent. The HRTO will remove the list of witnesses from the copy we send to the respondent.

The Response

The respondent must complete a Response (Form 2) and deliver it to the HRTO within 35 days of being provided with the Application. HRTO staff will review the Response to ensure it is complete. A complete Response must include the information requested on the Response form, respond to each allegation in your Application, and include any additional facts and allegations on which the respondent relies. If the Response is complete, it will be delivered to you.

If the respondent does not respond by the deadline, and there are no concerns with the contact information you provided for the respondent, the HRTO will issue a No Response decision directing the respondent to file its Response and explain why it is late. If the respondent fails to respond to this direction, the HRTO may proceed with your Application without further notice to the respondent.

Filing a Reply

If a respondent has raised any new matters in its Response, you will have the opportunity to comment on these new matters in a Reply (Form 3). If you disagree with the way the facts are described in the Response, you must set out your version of the facts in your Reply, if your version is not already contained in the Application.

Communicating with the HRTO

The HRTO is responsible only for delivering the Application and Response. The parties are responsible for delivering all other communications with the HRTO, including the Reply, to each other.

All written communications with the HRTO must be addressed to the Registrar. Any document, including emails, must be copied to the other parties. The HRTO cannot accept any materials unless you confirm that they have been copied to the other parties.

For more information, see the HRTO's Practice Direction on Communicating with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Scheduling Mediation

If both you and the respondent have agreed to try mediation, we will schedule a mediation session with an HRTO adjudicator. Mediations are usually scheduled for a half day at the HRTO regional hearing centre that is closest to where the events described in the Application took place.

Where one of the parties has raised a preliminary issue, the HRTO may schedule mediation either before or after it determines the preliminary issue.

You will receive a Notice of Mediation giving you the details of the mediation and how to prepare.

For more information on where mediations are scheduled and how to reschedule a date, see the HRTO's Practice Direction on Regional Hearing Centres and the HRTO's Practice Direction on Scheduling of Hearings and Mediations, Rescheduling Requests, and Requests for Adjournments.

Attendance at a scheduled mediation is mandatory, unless it has been rescheduled as set out in the HRTO's practice direction (above). If something urgent comes up and you cannot attend, you must advise the HRTO and the respondent immediately, as required by the Tribunal's practice direction.

At the mediation, the HRTO adjudicator who is experienced in human rights will help both sides to consider an appropriate settlement. If you are able to settle the Application, the parties will complete a Confirmation of Settlement (Form 25) that will be submitted to the HRTO and your file will be closed. If you settle the Application after the mediation, you must still file a Form 25 with the HRTO.

If you resolve your Application without the assistance of the HRTO, you may use a Form 25 or a Request to Withdraw (Form 9) to let the HRTO know that your dispute has been resolved and you will not be proceeding with your Application.

Requests for Order during Proceedings and Preliminary Issues

At any time during the HRTO process, a party may ask the HRTO to make an order about an issue in the case. This is done by filing a Request for an Order during Proceedings (Form 10). Other parties or persons affected by the Request can deliver and file a Response to a Request for an Order during Proceedings (Form 11). The Form 11 must be filed within 14 days of being provided with the Form 10.

A decision may be made based on the information in the Forms 10 and 11, so you must include all the information in support of your position that you consider necessary. If you don't respond to a Request for Order, a decision may be made without considering your position. In some situations the HRTO may ask the parties for more written submissions or require oral submissions before it makes a decision about the Request.

The HRTO may also identify issues that may need to be decided before the Application moves forward. The HRTO may issue a letter, a Case Assessment Direction or an Interim Decision directing the parties to make written or oral submissions on an issue. In some situations the HRTO will identify relevant decisions to the parties and ask for their positions on how those decisions apply to the issue it needs to decide.

All of the HRTO's decisions are available free of charge on the Canadian Legal Information Institute website. You may also want to review other decisions which have issues similar to the ones raised by your Application and refer to any cases you believe support your arguments. Before you respond to a request for submissions, you may want to contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre or obtain legal advice.

Hearings

If the parties do not agree to try mediation, or if mediation does not result in a settlement, the HRTO will schedule a hearing and issue a Confirmation of Hearing Notice. Please see the HRTO's Guide to Preparing for a Hearing Before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for a description of what to expect at the hearing.

CONTACTS

To contact the HRTO

Registrar
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
655 Bay Street, 14th floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2A3
Tel (Toronto): 416-326-1312
Tel (toll-free): 1-866-598-0322
TTY: 416-326-2027
TTY (toll-free): 1-866-607-1240
Fax: 416-326-2199
Fax (toll-free): 1-866-355-6099
E-mail: HRTO.Registrar@ontario.ca
Website: sjto.ca/hrto

For Assistance or Representation (for applicants only)

Human Rights Legal Support Centre
180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor Toronto, ON M7A 0A1
Tel (Toronto): 416-597-4900
Tel (toll-free): 1-866-625-5179
TTY (Toronto): 416-597-4903
TTY (toll-free): 1-866 612-8627
Website: www.hrlsc.on.ca

Telephone lines are open:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and Thursday: 2 - 6 p.m.

For information on finding a lawyer, paralegal or community legal clinic (in 170 different languages)

Justice Ontario
Website: justiceontario.ca
Tel (toll-free): 1-866-252-0104
TTY (Toronto): 416-326-4012

For information about the Code, human rights issues in Ontario or human rights education

Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street West, 7th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2R9
E-mail: info@ohrc.on.ca
Website: www.ohrc.on.ca

Sources of Information about Human Rights




sjto.ca/hrto