In processing your complaint, we will first propose mediation. Mediation is a process for resolving a dispute outside of court. In mediation, an impartial mediator helps you to develop a fair and lasting agreement that works for all parties.
If you or the other party say no to mediation, then we will carry out an investigation. You may still settle out of court at any time during the investigation.
|Mediation services are available for all complaints that fall under the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.|
Advantages of mediation
There are many advantages to mediation. Mediation is:
- voluntary: the parties work together to find the best solution
- fast: mediation saves time, energy and resources for all parties
- respectful: mediation promotes direct and spontaneous dialogue in an informal setting
- impartial: the mediator does not take sides
- confidential: the parties can express themselves freely. Nothing that is said or written down during mediation may be disclosed, even in court, unless both parties authorize this.
- non-adversarial: there are no winners and losers
- proven: more than two-thirds of mediation cases lead to an agreement
- lasting: the parties can find peace of mind and can resume or improve their relationship, they become informed about human rights and can make long-term changes.
During mediation, you may be accompanied by the person of your choice, including a lawyer. This person’s role in the mediation is limited to giving you advice.
The mediation process
- The mediator explains to the parties, separately, how the mediation process works (pre-mediation).
- The parties meet with the mediator, together, to develop a draft agreement (mediation).
- The parties sign an agreement. The agreement binds the parties, which means that once you have signed it, you must abide by it. The agreement may require an apology or financial compensation, for example.
- If the parties cannot reach an agreement through mediation, then the Commission will carry out an investigation and may take the matter to court.
Mediation explained by an staff member (excerpt from a video on the steps involved in handling a complaint).
The mediator’s role
- informs you of your rights and responsibilities under the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms
- helps you identify your personal needs, interests, values and feelings
- helps you find creative, appropriate and respectful solutions
The mediator provides the parties with a chance to:
- communicate with each other in an open and respectful setting
- understand each other’s point of view on the facts and context of the complaint
- reach an agreement that satisfies them both
The mediator can never:
- favour one party over another
- accept a proposal into the agreement if:
- it is illegal
- it does not have all parties’ free and informed consent
- it creates a power imbalance between the parties
Examples of agreements reached through mediation
Discrimination on the basis of sex
An employee at a municipal swimming pool prohibited a mother from breastfeeding her baby there.
Through mediation, the parties agreed that the mother would receive a letter of apology and an amount of money for moral damages. The city also promised to remind all employees that breastfeeding is allowed in municipal facilities.
Discrimination on the basis of a disability
Ms. B. was dismissed from her job because her disability prevented her from performing her duties.
Through mediation, the parties agreed to accommodate Ms. B. by finding duties that were more appropriate to her abilities, and assigning the duties she had been struggling with to other employees.
Discrimination in accessing services
Stephen came to the emergency room with his service dog and was told that his dog could not enter.
In addition to an apology, Stephen received financial compensation for the harm he suffered.
Did you know?
In 2018-2019, 164 complaints were referred to our mediation service.
An agreement between the parties was reached in 66% of these cases.