The Commission, for Real
8 myths about the Commission
The Commission and the Human Rights Tribunal are the same thing
That's wrong! The Commission carries out the investigations, but the Tribunal makes the rulings.
After investigating a complaint of discrimination, exploitation or harassment, the Commission may decide to take the case to the Human Rights Tribunal if there is sufficient evidence to do so.
In this case, the Tribunal hears all the parties, then decides whether discrimination, harassment or exploitation took place. If so, it is the Tribunal that sentences the respondents to pay damages.
Joel DeBellefeuille, who appears in this video, filed a complaint to the Commission for racial profiling. The Commission took his case to the Human Rights Tribunal, which ruled against the police department.
Learn more about DeBelleFeuille' s case
Equality programs are unfair for employers
That's wrong! Equal access employment programs allow employers to hire a qualified workforce that is representative of society.
It is the Commission that enforces the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies in Québec. Certain employers are required to implement an equal access employment program by law, but any employer can implement one voluntarily.
The purpose of an equal access employment program is:
- to ensure that groups of people who have been historically discriminated against are fairly represented in all areas of employment
- to identify and fix any rules and managerial practices that exclude or disadvantage members of the five groups protected by the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies
Philippe Schnobb, who appears in this video, was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) when in 2020 the STM received the Rights and Freedoms Award in the Organismes publics assujettis à la Loi à l'égalité en emploi category, for its inclusive and participatory approach.
Learn more on the STM and the RFA
I can make a complaint to the Commission about any right
That's wrong! We can assist you in certain cases only, as not all unjust situations violate the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
The Commission can take complaints about the following situations only:
- discrimination or harassment on the basis of any of the prohibited grounds under the Charter
- 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 the rights of young people under the care of the DYP
Remedies for other violations of fundamental rights and freedoms are available through different channels, and if we cannot assist you, we will refer you to somewhere that can.
Despite the above limits, the Commission also has a duty to promote all of the rights and freedoms set out in the Charter and to make recommendations to the government about this.
Stéphanie Fournier, who appears in this video, is a lawyer at the Commission. She represents complainants before the courts on behalf of the Commission in order to assert their rights.
Learn more about the processing of a complaint (video)
Youth Protection Investigations are useless (French only)
That's wrong! After investigating into a situation where the rights of a child are not respected, the Commission issues recommendations to authorities and insists that these recommendations are implemented.
As part of investigating a violation of a young person’s rights, the Commission investigates the situation by contacting anyone who can provide relevant information, including the young person themself, if doing so is in their best interests.
If the investigation reveals any failure to respect the rights of the young person, the Commission recommends ways to correct the situation. We then follow up regularly on these recommendations. We do not close the case until we are satisfied that they have been applied.
The Commission can conduct individual or systemic investigations to ensure that children's rights are respected.
Marie-Nancy, who appears in this video, is a youth protection investigator at the Commission. She is part of the team that conducts investigations when the Commission has reason to believe that the rights of a child whose situation has been taken in charge by the DPJ have been violated.
The request for intervention process (video)
Reasonable accommodations are only for religion
That's wrong! The duty to accommodate applies to all 14 grounds of discrimination that are prohibited by the Charter. Disability is the main ground of requests received by the Commission regarding reasonable accommodation.
Accommodation may mean adjusting rules and practices or granting certain exemptions to avoid discrimination.
Reasonable accommodation is a duty. Service providers must actively look for solutions that allow all employees, customers and service users to fully exercise their rights.
The Commission’s advisory service and other tools can help you better understand your duty to accommodate and properly respond to requests for accommodation.
The Commission represented Nicolas Kazan-Xanthopoulos, who appears in this video, in obtaining a reasonable accommodation for his special learning needs. As a result, he was able to obtain his college diploma and continue his studies at university.
Learn more on the rights of students with a learning disability (French only)
The Commission cannot criticize the government
That's wrong! The Commission is independent of the government and can therefore criticize bills or policies in order to improve them.
The Commission is an independent body. For over 45 years, we have been taking a stand to ensure that our provincial and municipal governments uphold the principles of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Under the Charter, the Commission is responsible for pointing out any provision in the laws of Québec that may be contrary to the Charter. It is also responsible for making recommendations to the government for bringing these contrary provisions into keeping with the Charter.
The Youth Protection Act also states that the Commission may at all times make recommendations to the government regarding young people’s rights.
Anne-Marie Santorineos, who appears in this video, is a member of the Commission. As such, she participates in the Commission's meetings where the institution's positions are debated and recommendations are adopted. The members of the Commission are appointed by the Quebec National Assembly.
Find out about the members of the Commission
The Commission is not for everyone
That's wrong! The Commission ensures the enforcement of the Charter, which protects EVERYONE in Québec
The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms protects everyone in Québec:
- adults and young people
- people who were born in Québec, other parts of Canada and abroad
- people who are visiting Québec (tourists, temporary workers)
The Charter protects your fundamental rights and freedoms in all areas of life:
- public space
- contracts (insurance policies, leases, etc.)
The Charter also protects your rights in your private relationships, such as those with your:
- relatives (for example, your mother, father, brother, sister or cousin)
The Commission can take complaints about discrimination, harassment or exploitation on the basis of any of the 14 grounds for discrimination and harassment that are prohibited under the Charter.
Angélique Savard, who appears in this video, was discriminated against on the basis of her pregnancy by an employer. The Commission investigated and advocated for her to obtain reparation.
Learn more about discrimination in hiring (French only)
The DYP and the Commission are the same thing
That's wrong! The Director of Youth Protection (DYP) and the Commission have different missions.
The Commission’s role is to oversee and promote the rights of young people in Québec. The Commission conducts research, provides training and investigates situations where we have reason to believe that young people’s rights are not being respected by the organizations or people who are responsible for them, including the director of youth protection (DYP).
The DYP’s role is to protect children who are being abused or neglected, or have serious behavioural problems.
The situation of Junior Nicolas, who appears in this video, has already been taken care of by the DPJ. He participated in this video campaign to inform young people of their rights and of the existence of the Commission to protect them.
See examples of the Commission's interventions (French only)
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