The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”) is committed to and works to provide the highest quality service to the people of Ontario. The OHRC developed its Public Complaints Policy and process (the “Policy”) to ensure that it responds to complaints from members of the public in a transparent, fair and timely manner.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the OHRC and the Attorney General requires the OHRC to have a formal process for responding to complaints about the quality of services it provides.
The OHRC’s mandate is to eliminate and prevent discrimination and to promote and advance human rights in Ontario. The OHRC primarily engages with partner and stakeholder organizations to achieve its mandate. The OHRC has limited direct interactions with members of the public. To the extent these interactions happen, they are to respond to requests for:
- an inquiry or Commission-Initiated Application (CIA) under subsections 31 and 35 of the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code) respectively;
- intervention in an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario under subsection 37 of the Code;
- consultation, public education or speaking engagements;
- access to records pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; and
- accessible formats for various OHRC publications.
From time to time, the OHRC receives complaints about its service from members of the public. This Policy applies only to the types of complaints listed below.
Types of complaints covered
This policy applies to complaints from members of the public and other entities about:
- the conduct of any individuals employed by OHRC;
- the conduct of OHRC Commissioners;
- the quality of service received from the OHRC when accessing programs and services.
Complaints related to dissatisfaction with the OHRC’s decisions whether to conduct an inquiry or CIA, or their outcomes, are not covered under this policy.
How To File A Complaint
- Complaints about OHRC staff should be directly raised with the involved staff member. The staff member and, if required, their manager, will attempt to resolve the complaint.
- If the complaint is not resolved, the complainant may:
- Fill out a complaint form (Appendix A) and send it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Specifics of the complaint should be included (i.e., what happened, where and when it occurred, the names of any witnesses and the resolution being sought).
- If the complainant needs help filling out the complaint form, they may call the OHRC at 416-326-9511.
- The OHRC will acknowledge the complaint by email within 2 business days of receiving the complaint. The OHRC may ask the complainant for more information.
Resolving A Complaint
- Addressing a complaint is the responsibility of the next-level manager removed from the complaint:
- a complaint about a staff member will be addressed by their manager;
- a complaint about a manager will be addressed by the Executive Director;
- a complaint about a commissioner will be addressed by the Chief Commissioner;
- a complaint about the Executive Director will be addressed by the Chief Commissioner.
- A complaint about the Chief Commissioner will be referred to the Ontario Ombudsman.
- Upon receipt of the complaint, the Communications and Issues Management branch will acknowledge the complaint and will forward the complaint to the Executive Advisor in the Executive Director’s Office who will assess the complaint.
- The Executive Advisor, in consultation with the Executive Director, will forward the complaint to the appropriate responsible manager for resolution.
- The complaint will be kept confidential within the provisions of the Freedom Information and Protection of Privacy Act. However, in keeping with the principles of procedural fairness, the individual who is the subject of the complaint will be advised of the complaint and all relevant documents, including the complaint, will be shared with the individual.
- The responsible manager or delegate will address the complaint and attempt to resolve it within 21 business days from the date of the acknowledgement letter.
- The responsible manager or delegate may request the individual who is the subject of the complaint to provide a written response to the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved within 21 days, the complainant will be informed as soon as the matter has been reviewed.
- The responsible manager or delegate will send the complainant a written decision, including the reasons, within 21 business days of the acknowledgement letter, unless the complainant has been informed of a different timeline. If the complaint involves a staff member, a copy of the decision will be given to the staff member.
- If the complainant is not satisfied with the results of the resolution process, they may:
- File a request with the Chief Commissioner’s Office for review of decisions made by OHRC managers and Executive Director. The requests may be sent by email to email@example.com; or
- Raise their concerns with the Ontario Ombudsman for decisions made by the Chief Commissioner.
Decision to not deal with a complaint
The OHRC will not deal with a complaint if the:
- complainant does not identify themself or does not wish to provide their home and email addresses and telephone number;
- complainant does not respond to a request for more information; or
- matter has already been raised and addressed by the OHRC.
This Policy is available in accessible formats upon request.