Frequently asked questions
Should I file a complaint, submit a report or request intervention?
File a complaint
- if you have experienced discrimination or harassment. If you are an organization, you can file a complaint on behalf of an individual or group that you represent
- if you have experienced exploitation (Note: exploitation applies only to elderly people and people with disabilities).
Submit a report
- if you know an elderly person or a person with a disability who has experienced exploitation.
The process is the same for filing complaints and submitting reports. In both cases, all information you provide to the Commission will remain confidential.
- File a complaint of discrimination or harassment
- File a complaint or submit a report of exploitation
- to enforce the rights of a young person under the care of the Director of Youth Protection (DYP) or other youth protection services.
Submit a report to the DYP
- if a child is being abused or is experiencing a situation that affects their health or development.
The DYP is the organization that receives these reports and which can intervene to protect the child.
What is the deadline for filing a complaint with the Commission?
The deadline depends on the reason for the complaint. In general, we advise you to file your complaint as soon as possible.
Complaints of discrimination or harassment
- 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 a complaint if the most recent events occurred more than two years ago (in keeping with section 77 of the Charter).
Complaints of exploitation
You have up to 3 years after becoming aware of a situation to report it or file a complaint.
The only exception is if the victim’s physical or psychological condition prevents them from doing so. It is then said that it was ‘impossible for the victim to act’ and the deadline may be extended.
Requests for intervention (Youth protection)
You may request intervention at any time after the fact. There is no deadline (also known as a limitation period) for asking the Commission to intervene.
How long will it take to process my complaint or request for intervention?
In youth protection cases (request for intervention)
We will make every effort to process your request for intervention within an average of 6 months.
For discrimination, harassment or exploitation (complaint)
We will make every effort to process your complaint within an average of 15 months. We handle all complaints in the same way, but the processing time of each complaint depends on the complexity of the case. Some cases can also be resolved more quickly through mediation.
Staff members explain the request for intervention process
Staff members explain the handling of a complaint for discrimination or harassment
Staff members explain the handling of a complaint for exploitation
Can I file a complaint from outside Québec?
Yes, you can, if the situation you experienced or wish to report took place in Québec.
Why did the Commission tell me that it cannot accept my complaint or that it is closing my file?
When you file a complaint of discrimination, harassment or exploitation with the Commission, we may refuse to process it. Sometimes, even if we have opened a file, we may contact you to tell you that we have stopped processing your complaint. The different reasons for refusing a complaint or ceasing to act on one are set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
The Commission has closed my complaint about discriminatory language. What can I do now?
If we have closed your complaint, you may be able to take your case to a different legal authority. Every situation is different. A civil rights lawyer can analyze your specific situation to determine whether it can be brought to court.
The limitation period is suspended from the time you file a complaint with the Commission until the moment you are notified that your file was closed. This means that the time during which your file was open with the Commission does not count toward your deadline for taking civil action for that situation. Your deadline for taking a different form of legal action therefore depends on how much time passed between the date when the situation occurred and the date when you filed your complaint with the Commission.
For more information :
Can a person under the age of 18 file a complaint without their parents’ consent?
For a request for intervention to protect young people in case of a violation of rights, parents do not have to sign or be informed in order for the Commission to intervene. We encourage young people to contact us directly to find out about their rights.
For complaints of discrimination or harassment, however, it is preferable that at least one parent sign. The Commission cannot initiate any legal proceedings without the parents’ signature.