Filing a Human Rights Complaint
For detailed information on filing a human rights complaint in BC, see The Human Rights Complaint Process for Transgender People in BC* by barbara findlay, QC.
*The above link should download a MicroSoft Word document. If it does not download, you may need to copy the link, open a new internet browser window, paste the link, then press enter.
The following is an overview:
- It is free to file the forms for a Human Rights Complaint. You can handle the process yourself, or you can find an advocate to assist you and to represent you at the Tribunal. Some advocates charge a fee to represent you. Make your complaint as soon as possible. If you do not make your human rights complaint within 6 months of an incident, you will probably lose your opportunity to bring a complaint. It will not be enough to say that the incident happened because you are trans. You will need to include information in your complaint that shows the link between what happened to you and the fact that you are trans (for example, someone called you a ‘tranny’).
- If your complaint is accepted, the Tribunal will send a copy to the person or organization you complained about. They will be given a chance to respond.
- You will be given an opportunity to attend a settlement conference with the other side. The purpose of the conference is to see if you can work things out with a mediator from the Tribunal. Many human rights complaints are settled at this stage.
- If you and the other side cannot agree on a settlement, a hearing is scheduled. The hearing takes several days or more. You will need to attend in person. The person hearing the complaint will usually issue a decision weeks or months later. The entire process can take years.
- The Tribunal has a wide range of powers to remedy any discrimination. For example, the Tribunal can order that the discrimination stop, tell the other side to take steps to resolve the effects of the discrimination, tell the other side to make policies to prevent discrimination from happening again, and award you money for injury to your dignity, feelings and self-respect.
- If you are not satisfied with the result, you may be able to apply to the BC Supreme Court for a review of the decision.