Defending your rights
We take your complaints or intervention requests
We take complaints from any person or group who believes they have experienced:
- discrimination or harassment on the basis of any prohibited grounds under the Charter, where the situation prevents them from being in a Charter-protected area
- discrimination in employment on the basis of a previous conviction
- reprisals for filing a complaint or participating in a Commission investigation
- exploitation of elderly people or people with a disability
- violation of rights (as set out in the Youth Protection Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act) for young people under the care of the Director of Youth Protection (DYP)
The Commission does not handle reports of children being abused or neglected, or of children with serious behavioural problems. You should report these situations to the DYP instead.
How do I file a complaint or request intervention from the Commission?
Please visit the page that best describes your situation:
- To file a complaint of discrimination or harassment
- To request intervention on behalf of a young person (violation of rights)
- To report child abuse or a child who is in danger
- To report exploitation
- To file a complaint of reprisals
How does the Commission process complaints and requests for intervention?
- The process for complaints of discrimination, harassment, exploitation or reprisals
- The process for requesting intervention on behalf of a young person
We protect the rights of young people under the care of the DYP
The Commission’s role is to oversee and promote the rights of young people. We can intervene if the rights of a child or a group of children under the care of the DYP or child protection services are not being respected.
This could include:
- Investigating if we have reason to believe that a young person’s rights are being violated
- Taking legal steps to enforce young people’s rights
- Educating young people and adults about the rights of children in care
- Conducting research and publishing reports about young people in care
The Commission can carry out an investigation in response to a complaint or a request for intervention. We may also inquire into a matter on our own initiative.
Our investigation may look into:
- discrimination on the basis of a prohibited ground under the Charter
- harassment on the basis of a prohibited ground under the Charter
- exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability
- violation of the rights of a young person under the care of the DYP
The investigation is used to determine whether discrimination, harassment, exploitation, reprisals or violation of rights can be proven.
If the investigation reveals that there is sufficient evidence, then the Commission may act on behalf of the complainant by:
- making recommendations, in cases of violation of rights
- representing the victim in court
In some cases, the Commission may decide not to act on behalf of the victim, even if there is sufficient evidence.
We help settle conflicts through mediation
Mediation may be proposed at any point in the human rights complaint process, and is a quick and effective way to resolve a dispute outside of court.
An impartial mediator helps the victim and respondent to come to a fair and lasting agreement. This usually takes about three months.
We represent you in court
The Commission may decide to represent a victim in court if our investigation has revealed sufficient evidence of discrimination, harassment, exploitation, reprisals or violation of a child’s rights.
We do this to assist the victim and because it is in the public interest. Court rulings clarify everyone’s rights and obligations, and individual rulings can help people in similar situations to understand their legal rights and obligations. They can also guide the court for similar cases in the future.
Our legal intervention helps to:
- Put an end to the discrimination, harassment or exploitation
- For example, by putting an end to the discriminatory harassment
- Remedy the consequences for the victim
- For example, by awarding material, moral or punitive damages for the victim, in the form of financial compensation
- For example, by recommending that a letter of apology be sent to the victim
- For example, by reinstating the victim into their job in the case of an unjust dismissal
- Prevent it from happening again
- For example, by recommending racial profiling training
In some cases, the Commission may decide not to represent the victim in court, even if our investigation has revealed discrimination or exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability.
Our employment equity services
Our Advisory service on reasonable accommodation
The Commission provides free and confidential advisory service on reasonable accommodation to managers, business owners, human resource employees and union representatives. Contact us for help understanding your legal obligation to accommodate, handling a reasonable accommodation request, or finding solutions.
Our support for equal access employment programs
We support organizations and companies that want or need to establish an equal access employment program.
Learn more (French only)
Our training services and tools
The Commission offers free training sessions and other tools to raise awareness and educate people about human rights.
Our cooperation activities
We cooperate in a number of ways, by supporting our partner organizations, participating in working groups and encouraging research and publications on fundamental rights and freedoms.
Taking a position
Our recommendations to the government and the National Assembly
The Commission analyzes proposed legislation to make sure that all Québec laws comply with the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Based on this analysis, we make recommendations to the government before the legislation is passed.
To read our recommendations to the government, see:
Our research department also regularly produces opinions, studies and briefs that contain recommendations and public statements. See:
In addition to analyzing legislation and government programs, we also advise government ministries and civil society.
Recognizing humain rights defenders
The Rights and Freedoms Award
Since 1988, the Commission has awarded the Rights and Freedoms Award each year to an organization or an individual as a public recognition for exceptional achievement or commitment to the defence of human rights and freedoms.
40 human rights defenders for 40 years of the Charter
As part of the 40th anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the Commission paid tribute to 40 individuals who defend and promote rights and freedoms in Québec.
Meet the 40 human rights defenders (French only)