Complaints process

Steps of the complaints process

This chart is interactive: by clicking on the links, you will access the details of each step at the bottom of the page.

CAN THE COMMISSION INTERVENE?

 
If the Commission can intervene.

yes

FOLLOWING A DETAILED ASSESSMENT, DOES THE COMMISSION DECIDE TO INTERVENE?

 
If, following a detailed assessment, the Commission decides not to intervene.

no

FILE IS CLOSED

 
If, following a detailed assessment, the Commission decides to intervene.

yes

DO BOTH PARTIES AGREE TO EITHER SETTLE OUT OF COURT OR TO TRANSFER THE FILE TO AN ARBITRATOR?

 
If both parties do not agree to either settle out of court or to transfer the file to an arbitrator.

no

If both parties agree, two options are available, either arbitration or mediation.

yes

ARBITRATION
 
Next step. 

FILE IS CLOSED

 
MEDIATION
 
Parties try to reach an agreement. 

HAVE BOTH PARTIES COME TO AN AGREEMENT?

 
If both parties reach an agreement.

yes

FILE IS CLOSED

 
If both parties have not reach an agreement.

no

Detailed information about the steps

RECEIPT OF THE COMPLAINT

  • You can contact us by writing or by phone (1-800-361-6477) and we will help you prepare your complaint. A complaint must be written and signed. If you send it by email, please attach a PDF document including your signature.
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PROCESSING OF COMPLAINT BY THE RECEPTION AND ASSESSMENT DEPARTMENT

  • At this stage, a member of the Reception and Assessment Department will contact the complainant. This person receives your complaint, collects the information, and determines whether, on the face of it, the Commission has the competence to intervene.
  • If the Commission does not have jurisdiction, the file is closed. However, Commission employees may direct the complainant to another agency such as the Commission des normes du travail, the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, the Régie du logement, a union, etc.
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ASSESSMENT OF THE COMPLAINT

  • A member of the Assessment Department will contact the complainant to clarify the complaint and to make sure that all the relevant information is included. This employee also notifies the respondent that a complaint has been filed against him or her and enquires whether both parties are interested in resolving the issue amicably by mediation or in submitting the case to an arbitration process.
  • If both parties agree to go to mediation, the file is transferred to a mediator.
  • If both parties agree to arbitration, the case is transferred to an arbitrator.
  • If one or both parties refuse mediation or arbitration, the file is transferred to an investigator.
  • The Commission may, for various reasons, decide not to intervene at this stage. For example, because another recourse was filed based on the same facts or the prescribed period for filing a complaint has expired, etc). The file is then closed.
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ARBITRATION

  • Arbitration only takes place if both parties have given their written consent.
  • At this stage, the Commission withdraws from the case and transfers it to an arbitrator. The arbitrator hears the parties according to an adversarial approach and makes a final decision in the case.
  • Following arbitration, the arbitrator sends a copy of the arbitration decision to the Commission and to the parties.
  • The parties may request that the case be submitted to arbitration at any time during the process, even when an investigation is under way.
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MEDIATION

  • Mediation only takes place if both parties have agreed to it.
  • At this stage, a mediator contacts both parties, and helps them find common ground.
  • When the parties do find common ground, a memorandum of agreement is prepared and signed. The file is then closed.
  • If the parties cannot find common ground, the file is transferred to an investigator.
  • The parties may request that the case be settled amicably through mediation at any time during the process, even an investigation is under way.
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INVESTIGATION

  • If one or both parties do not wish to go to mediation or arbitration, OR if during the mediation the parties are not able to find common ground, the parties are referred to an investigator. The investigator collects the evidence such as testimonies, documents, and expert reports.
  • The purpose of the investigation is to verify if the alleged discrimination or discriminatory harassment is supported by sufficient evidence.
  • The parties may request that the case be settled amicably through mediation or arbitration at any time during the process, even when an investigation is under way.
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THE FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION ARE SUBMITTED TO THE COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE FOR DECISION

  • Once the investigation is completed, the findings are submitted to the Complaints Committee made up of three members which decides on the outcome of the case.
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INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE COMPLAINT

  • If the Complaints Committee believes that there is insufficient evidence to support the complaint, the file is closed.
  • The Commission explains the reasons for this decision to the parties in a resolution.
  • However, the complainant may, at his or her own expense, file an action before a civil court (Small Claims Court, Court of Québec or the Superior Court). The complainant must act as soon as possible because the prescription begins on the date of the reception of the resolution.
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SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE COMPLAINT - DECISION TO NOT REPRESENT THE COMPLAINANT BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL

  • The Complaints Committee may exercise its discretion not to refer the case to a tribunal even if there is sufficient evidence to support the complaint. For example, when the complainant has turned down a settlement offer considered reasonable by the Commission, when the issue does not raise any complex legal or factual questions, and the parties are able to represent themselves before the tribunal, etc.
  • Each file is assessed according to the circumstances of the case.
  • The Commission provides the reasons for this decision to the parties in the form of a written resolution.
  • However, the complainant may, at his or her own expense, bring the case before the Human Rights Tribunal  This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.. The complainant must act as soon as possible because the 90-day prescription begins on the date of the reception of the resolution.
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SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE COMPLAINT - CORRECTIVE MEASURES

  • If the Complaints Committee believes that there is sufficient evidence to support the complaint, it may recommend any corrective measures it deems appropriate, for example, reinstate an employee, order that a person attend an anti-discrimination awareness program, or recommend material, moral and punitive damages.
  • The respondent is given a specified period of time in order to implement corrective measures.
  • If the respondent complies with the corrective measures, the file is closed.
  • If the respondent does not comply with the corrective measures, the Complaints Committee may mandate the Commission to apply to a court to seek appropriate measures.
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APPLYING TO THE TRIBUNAL ON BEHALF OF THE COMPLAINANT

  • If the respondent does not comply with the corrective measures, the Commission may apply to a court on behalf of the complainant to seek appropriate measures.
  • A Commission lawyer represents the complainant before the court. Legal representation is free of charge.
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