Anyone who feels that they have been discriminated against in Yukon may file a human rights complaint.
Only if you are a parent or guardian filing on behalf of a minor, or if you are filing on someone else’s behalf as their power of attorney.
If a person is of the age of majority and has legal capacity, they would need to file a complaint on their own behalf. The Yukon Human Rights Commission uses restorative principles for our dispute resolution process. There are certain details and information that only the individual impacted can provide, and so the person named in a complaint would be expected to be involved in our process. However, with written consent or legal representation, we can speak with another person to assist the individual looking to complain.
In most cases, yes.
No. A human rights complaint may only be filed for one’s self, or for an individual under their legal care.
The Commission can only investigate complaints dealing with discrimination as defined in the Yukon Human Rights Act.
There are some kinds of discrimination complaints that the Commission cannot investigate:
Some complaints of discrimination may fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Human Rights Commission if they involve:
- federal government services or employers,
- inter-provincial businesses such as trucking companies, as well as airlines, telecommunications, banks, and other federally regulated activities.
- First Nation Governments
Yukon Human Rights Commission staff can help you prepare and submit a human rights complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Contact us for more information.
The Commission cannot investigate complaints that are clearly without substance or are intended merely to cause harm to another person. These are referred to as complaints that are “frivolous or vexatious.”
A human rights complaint may be filed against any individual or any territorially regulated organization in Yukon. If the organization is the Federal Government, a First Nation’s Government, or a federally regulated organization such as an airline, the complaint must be filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
If you are unclear about the jurisdiction of an issue you have experienced or have other questions, please contact us. Commission staff are best suited to answer your questions regarding jurisdiction, and can refer you to the Canadian Human Rights Commission if necessary.
The Yukon Human Rights Act protects people from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics. These personal characteristics are called grounds of discrimination. There are 14 grounds of discrimination in Yukon. Some examples are race, religion or creed, physical or mental disability, and sexual orientation.
The Yukon Human Rights Act protects people from discrimination in specific situations. These are called protected areas of discrimination. In Yukon, these areas are:
- Employment, and any aspect of employment;
- Receiving goods and services;
- Housing, leasing or renting;
- Membership in or representation by trade unions or professional associations; and
- Public Contracts.
An accommodation is any change in the environment that allows a person with limitations in their abilities to equally and reasonably participate in society.
The duty to accommodate is a positive duty on those persons operating in any of the protected areas to reasonably accommodate needs arising from protected grounds. The duty to accommodate recognizes that people have different needs and require different solutions to participate equally in society.
Accommodation is an ongoing process that requires both parties to work together. While there is an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation, the party requesting the accommodation must be willing to try suggested accommodations and provide constructive feedback if the accommodations are not meeting their needs.
Section 14(2) – “harass” means to engage in a course of vexatious conduct or to make a demand or a sexual solicitation or advance that one knows or ought reasonably to know is unwelcome. For harassment to fall under the Act, it must be based on a prohibited ground.
Harassment not related to a protected ground, such as general workplace disputes or performance management disputes which do not engage a protected ground do not fall under human rights protections.
Call, email, or drop by our office. An appointment will be made with a staff member who can provide information about human rights law, as well as contact information for other service providers, educators, or agencies that offer relevant programs and services. The staff member will explain the complaint process and can provide you with a human rights complaint form and a guide.
Yes. Complaints must be made within 18 months of the alleged discrimination, or, if a continuing contravention is alleged, the complaint must be filed within 18 months of the last alleged instance of the contravention. The Commission may extend the time limit in very exceptional circumstances. An example of when the timeline may be extended would be if the complainant was in a coma and unable to file during the 18-month period.
There is no charge for any part of the inquiry or complaint process.
Some complaints are resolved in a few weeks or months with the Commission’s help. However, many complaints take longer to resolve. How long it takes to resolve a complaint depends on many things such as the existing workload of the Commission, the availability of information and witnesses, and the amount of information needed. In certain cases, the process can take up to two years or more, especially if a full investigation and public hearing are involved. In certain exceptional circumstances, such as the imminent death of a party, the Commission can give special priority handling to the complaint.
Be as specific as you can. If you cannot remember the exact date, try and narrow it down to the week or even month it occurred.
For purposes of the Director’s initial screening to decide if a complaint should be accepted for investigation, they will assume the facts set out in your complaint are true. You do not have to provide evidence that supports those facts at this stage of the process. If you have evidence such as documents, photos or recordings that support the facts that your complaint is based on, you may choose to submit them with your complaint, for convenience’s sake, or keep them with you. If you do choose to submit documents with your complaint, a maximum of 15 pages will be reviewed for the purposes of acceptance. If you choose to submit more than 15 pages of documents, please clearly identify which 15 pages you would like to be reviewed for the purposes of acceptance.
If your complaint is accepted, more documents may be requested and all submitted documents will be reviewed at that time.
It is essential that your complaint clearly identifies the facts which you believe indicate why you were treated unfavourably. For that reason, a complaint should not rely on supporting evidence to explain or expand upon its allegations.
An alternate contact is someone who you may want to support you through the process of filing a human rights complaint. For example, they may be a family member, friend, or support worker. You can indicate on your complaint form how involved you would like your alternate contact to be in the complaint process. You do not need to have an alternate contact to file a complaint.
The Act has a specific section – section 35 – that deals with the liability of corporations for the acts of their employees. If there is an organizational Respondent, it usually is not necessary to name individual Respondents who were acting in the regular course of their employment or duties.
This is different for allegations of harassment. If your complaint alleges harassment, then you may wish to name the person who harassed you as an individual Respondent.
In cases of harassment, an employer is generally not liable for the conduct of a harassing employee if the employer was not aware of the discriminatory act, unless the harasser was a management employee. An employer will be responsible if it failed to prevent the harassment or failed to take appropriate steps to address the harassment as soon as it was brought to their attention.
No, a lawyer is not required to participate in the complaints process. However, you may choose to have one if you like.
No, it will not. The Commission is a neutral party that tries to resolve issues related to human rights. We do not require that you hire a lawyer to file a human rights complaint. There is no cost to you to file a complaint.
It is possible to make changes to a complaint after it has been filed. This happens most often in situations where the alleged discrimination is ongoing and new incidents occur after the complaint was filed. All proposed changes are reviewed by the Director using a reasonable grounds analysis. This is the same analysis the Director applies to accept a complaint for investigation. Amending a complaint cannot be used to add issues which are outside the 18-month time limit.
It is important that the original complaint is as complete as possible. Adding more information later may slow down the complaint process. Having a complete and thorough complaint from the start also allows the Respondent to know precisely what they have to respond to.
The Yukon Human Rights Commission has obligations to maintain records of all inquiries and complaints. This is consistent with our obligations to report on our work to the Legislative Assembly, as well as practices of other Human Rights Commissions. The annual report to the Legislative Assembly cannot include any identifying information about any complaint except those which go to a hearing in front of a Board of Adjudication. The data regarding inquiries or complaints will only be used for purposes consistent with the Yukon Human Rights Act, such as statistical purposes.
The Commission understands the importance of confidentiality and maintains strict security standards for all personal information in our possession. All hard copies of documents are kept in a secure, locked location and only commission members and commission staff have access to these records. All electronic records are encrypted and stored on an on-premises server. Access is controlled through role-based accounts with secure password protection. We employ enterprise grade anti-virus protection, and the network is protected by a firewall. We contract a professional IT Security company to perform regular audits of our network and strive to hold ourselves as the same IT security standard as organizations involved with health records.
No, the Yukon Human Rights Commission is not subject to ATIPP. However, we recognize the importance of transparency in public services. We will generally provide as much information as possible about our process, or statistics around human rights complaints in Yukon, where the disclosure of that information does not risk identifying any individual, organization, or complaint. Any requests for information are considered on a case by case basis. The Commission retains the right not to disclose any information where it believes a risk to privacy or confidentiality exists.
You do not need to face the person you are complaining about in person. However, you will be required to participate in the complaint process by engaging with the Respondent’s position and participating in the investigation.
Yes, complaints are confidential to the parties, unless they go to a public hearing in front of a Board of Adjudication. Around 97% of complaints are resolved without the need for a hearing, and the complaint remains confidential to the parties. The Complainant can withdraw their complaint at any time.
The Commission will never disclose information about a complaint to an outside party, except if it is necessary for the investigation. However, the Commission cannot force a Complainant or Respondent to keep a complaint confidential. Publicly discussing or sharing information about a complaint may make settlement discussions much more difficult. Most settlement agreements contain a confidentiality clause prohibiting parties from publicly discussing the contents of the settlement agreement.
If a complaint is made against you, you will receive instructions on next steps in a letter accompanying the complaint. If you would like more information about human rights, the complaint process, or require accommodation to respond to the complaint, please contact the Commission.
The human rights complaint process is not a punitive process. Remedies are designed to restore the victim to a position as near as possible to the position they would have been in if the discrimination did not occur. As such, remedies depend on the nature of the proven discrimination and what would be required to restore the victim to their original circumstances. Some examples of potential remedies are orders by the Panel of Adjudicators to:
- stop the discrimination;
- rectify any condition that causes the discrimination;
- pay damages for any financial loss suffered as a result of the discrimination;
- pay damages for injury to dignity, feelings, or self-respect;
- pay exemplary damages if the contravention was done maliciously; or
- pay costs.
Damages for injury to dignity, feeling or self respect have generally been awarded under $5,000 in Yukon. Damages for financial loss may be significantly higher if someone’s employment or ability to work has been impacted.
If the complaint is settled rather than going to a hearing, the settlement agreement may contain any terms agreed to by all parties. Some frequently requested remedial terms include obligations to develop or amend policies or procedures to prevent future incidents of discrimination, or human rights training for management or employees. Settlement agreements almost always contain a confidentiality clause.