File a complaint of discrimination or harassment
We can assist you in certain cases only, as not all unjust situations violate the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. If we are unable to assist you, we will refer you to the right place.
Can we accept your complaint ?
Yes, we can help
- You have experienced discrimination or harassment that prevented you from enjoying the same rights or services as others on the basis of one of the grounds prohibited by the Charter.
- You have experienced discrimination on the basis of a previous convictions, in the context of employment (for example, dismissal, refusal to hire, or other penalties).
Prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment
No, we cannot help
The discrimination or harassment:
- happened outside of Québec
- involves an institution under federal authority, such as:
- the federal public service (a federal government department, agency or other body)
- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- a federally regulated company such as:
- a bank
- an airline or airport
- a radio or television station
- a telephone or internet service provider
- a transportation company (ferry, train, truck or bus travelling outside Québec)
For these situations, please contact the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- You are a victim of offensive or hurtful language
- contact a civil lawyer
- If your situation involves verbal or physical abuse:
- contact your local police department
- If you have a problem with a Québec organization or ministry:
- contact the Ombudsman (Protecteur du citoyen)
- contact the Ombudsman (Protecteur du citoyen)
- If your problem is related to housing:
- contact the Tribunal administratif du logement
- If you were dismissed from your job without a valid reason:
- contact the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST)
- If you have been sexually assaulted:
- contact the toll-free helpline for victims of sexual assault
- If you have been unable to exercise your right to vote
- If your consumer rights have been violated:
- contact the Office de la protection du consommateur
Filing a complaint
Who can file a complaint?
- A person or group of people who has experienced discrimination or harassment
- An organization, on behalf of one or more victims
- A witness, if the victim is an elderly person or a person with a disability (family member, friend, neighbour, volunteer, etc.)
You can file a complaint on behalf of someone else if that person gives you written permission to do so. Here is a sample authorization form for filing a complaint on someone else’s behalf.
You do not need a lawyer in order to file a complaint with the Commission. If you choose to hire a lawyer, you will have to pay for their services.
When should I file a complaint?
File a complaint as soon as possible.
- No later than 3 years after the fact
- No later than 6 months after the fact if the situation involves a municipality or the police
The Commission may decide not to process your complaint if the incident took place more than 2 years ago.
What information should I provide?
You must explain what happened in detail. You will need to provide:
- a description of all the facts, actions, words and other related information
- all important dates
- the names and contact information of any witnesses
- a mention of any other steps you have taken (for example, filing a complaint with the CNESST, the Ombudsman or the local complaints commissioner, taking legal action, etc.)
We can help you prepare your complaint. Contact us by phone at 1 800 361-6477.
All information you provide to the Commission is confidential.
Only the people involved will be informed of the complaint.
Submitting your complaint
How do we process your complaint?
Steps and timeframes
When we receive your complaint, we will contact you to let you know. We will then determine whether we can assist you. If so, your complaint is ‘admissible’ and we will process it.
Here is a guide to the different stages of the complaint process.
Staff members of the Commission explain the complaint process.
We will make every effort to process your complaint within 15 months.
This is the timeframe established for regular cases in our Declaration of Services to Citizens (French only). Complex cases may take longer.
You will receive an update at each of the following stages:
- Receipt of your complaint: You will receive verbal or written acknowledgement that we have received your complaint.
- Opening your file: You will be informed in writing whether your complaint is admissible. If it is, we open a file and proceed with our investigation.
- Phase 1 of the investigation - Evaluation: You will be invited to settle your complaint through mediation. If an agreement is not reached through mediation, you will need to provide certain information for the investigation to proceed.
- Phase 2 of the investigation - Gathering evidence: You will receive a summary at the end of this phase.
- Decision: You will receive a written copy of the decision regarding your complaint. The decision is made by the complaints committee after analysis of the investigation results.