The Yukon Human Rights Panel of Adjudicators (the Panel) is a tribunal which is independent of the Yukon Human Rights Commission and the Government of Yukon. It forms part of the human rights complaint process. Not all human rights complaints are referred to the Panel. Most are either settled, stopped, or closed for other reasons before they reach this stage.
The Panel receives complaints which are referred to it by the Yukon Human Rights Commission. A board of adjudication is established by the Chief Adjudicator to hear individual complaints referred to the Panel. The board members are drawn from the Panel of Adjudicators.
A complaint may be referred to the Panel of Adjudicators by the Commission in a number of situations:
- Where the Commission finds that there is a reasonable basis in the evidence to support the complaint; or
- Where direct referral to the Panel is appropriate because there are urgent circumstances requiring a speedy resolution, the issue is a strictly legal one (the facts are all agreed upon by the parties), or testimony under oath is the only way to establish what occurred.
Hearings are normally open to the public. Final decisions are normally published on the Yukon Human Rights Panel of Adjudicators’ website and the Yukon Human Rights Commission’s website. During a hearing, the Board can order witnesses to attend and give oral testimony, and to produce relevant evidence such as documents. After considering the evidence presented at the hearing, the Board may decide to dismiss the complaint, or find that the complaint is proven. The Board issues written reasons for its decisions.
If the Board finds the complaint about discrimination to be proven on the balance of probabilities, it can order the Respondent to do any or all of the following:
- stop the discrimination;
- pay the Complainant money for any financial loss caused by the discrimination;
- pay the Complainant money for injury to his/her dignity, feelings, or self-respect;
- pay the Complainant what is called “exemplary damages” if the discrimination was “malicious” (meant to cause the Complainant hurt or distress); or
- pay the Complainant’s costs, for example lawyer fees to represent the Complainant.
Appeal to the Supreme Court of Yukon
If any party (the Respondent, the Complainant, or the Commission) disagrees with the decision of the Board of Adjudication, they can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Yukon (the Court). The notice of appeal must be filed with the Court within 30 days of the Board’s written decision.
In an appeal, the Court can only consider mistakes of law the Board of Adjudication may have made. It cannot consider factual errors. The Court can agree with or set aside a decision of the Board. It can also order another hearing.