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11. Complaints and reprisal

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Trans people and other gender non-conforming individuals who believe they experienced discrimination or harassment should try to raise the matter or make a complaint with their employer, union or other vocational association, landlord or service provider. If this is not possible or the problem is not addressed, they can ask the Human Rights Legal Support Centre[95] for advice or make a complaint – called an application –to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario[96] within one year from the last alleged incident.

The Code protects people if they experience reprisal or threats of reprisal for claiming their rights.[97] A reprisal is an action or threat that is intended as retaliation or punishment for claiming or enforcing a right under the Code. However, there is no strict requirement that someone who alleges reprisal must have already made an official complaint or claim under the Code.[98] Also, to prove reprisal, a person does not have to show their rights were actually infringed.[99]

People associated with people who have experienced or complained about discrimination are also protected from discrimination and reprisal (also see section 7.3 of this policy: Association).[100]

[97] See section 8 of the Code: Reprisal. Also see section 7(3)(b) which also prohibits reprisal for rejecting
a sexual solicitation or advance, where the reprisal is made or threatened by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the person.

[98] Noble v. York University, 2010 HRTO 878 at paras. 30-31, 33-34 (CanLII). Reprisal is established if:

  • An action was taken against, or a threat was made to, the claimant
  • The alleged action or threat was related to the claimant having claimed, or trying to enforce Code right, and
  • There was an intention on the part of the respondent to retaliate for the claim or the attempt to enforce the right.

[99] Ibid. See also Bertrand v. Primary Response, 2010 HRTO 186 (CanLII).

[100] Knibbs v. Brant Artillery Gunners Club, supra, note 39.


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