Statistics

 

The Commission's complaint screening process

In 2012, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (Commission) was contacted over 19,000 times about human rights and received 1,561 complaints. Not every complaint resulted in a hearing in front of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Nor did it need to.

If every complaint were to go to the Tribunal, this could clog the system with matters that do not require a full hearing in a quasi-judicial process. It would delay justice for pressing and urgent cases. This is why the Commission’s screening and early resolution work is so important.

When the Commission responds to any one of the thousands of inquiries it receives from the public every year, it is often serving as the first point of contact for people who feel they have been discriminated against. In many cases callers simply need information about human rights or to be directed to a more appropriate authority. The Commission sometimes refers complaints to internal grievance processes, or to other jurisdictions. Some are dismissed.

In some cases the Commission may work with the complainant and the respondent to resolve a dispute informally. This is often a better option than a full hearing before the Tribunal.

However, the Commission will refer a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal when it is warranted. Only a fraction of complaints get referred to the Tribunal.


 

Complaints

By law, the Commission must look at every discrimination complaint that it receives. The Commission can dismiss the complaint or refer it to an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

When possible, the Commission encourages people to try to solve their disputes informally and at the earliest opportunity.

In the event no agreement is reached, the Commission may conduct an investigation. When warranted, the Commission can refer it to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing.

In 2012, the Commission:

  • received 1,561 complaints;1
  • accepted 760 complaints;2
  • referred 494 complaints to another redress process;3
  • settled 209 complaints;
  • dismissed 190 complaints; and
  • referred 113 complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
1A received complaint, also known as a potential complaint, is a contact that falls within the mandate of the Commission, and that may lead to an accepted complaint after analysis and review.

2An accepted complaint is a document, in a form acceptable to the Commission, that is filed by an individual or group of individuals having reasonable grounds for believing that a person or organization is engaging or has engaged in a discriminatory practice.

3This year, the number of complaints referred to another redress process includes those that were referred to the Public Service Labour Relations Board or the Public Service Staffing Tribunal before they became accepted complaints. This was not the case in previous annual reports.

Figure 1 - Complaints received by province or territory

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Ontario 688 48 889 46 717 46
British Columbia and Yukon 230 16 278 15 225 14
Quebec 159 11 231 12 174 11
Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut152 11 169 9 166 11
Nova Scotia 43 3 88 5 71 5
Manitoba 70 5 103 5 59 4
Saskatchewan 40 3 66 3 57 4
New Brunswick 36 3 41 2 61 4
Outside of Canada 1 - 4 - 1 -
Newfoundland and Labrador 8 1 38 2 19 1
Prince Edward Island 3 - 7 - 11 1
Total 1,4301001,9141001,561100

Figure 2 - Complaints received by types of respondents

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Private Sector 566 40 699 37 558 36
Federal government* 621 43 897 47 777 50
Reserves, Bands and Councils 78 5 138 7 138 9
Unions 79 6 71 4 50 3
Individuals 86 6 109 6 38 2
Total 1,4301001,9141001,561100
* Includes employers in the core public administration, separate federal government organizations or agencies and Crown corporations.

Figure 3 - Complaints received by ground(s) of discrimination cited

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Disability 719 38 891 33 746 36
Age 220 12 259 10 146 7
National or Ethnic Origin 184 10 307 12 217 10
Race 183 10 247 9 182 9
Sex 196 10 408 15 343 17
Family Status 121 6 217 8 165 8
Colour 92 5 143 5 92 4
Religion 76 4 76 3 86 4
Marital Status 47 2 78 3 43 2
Sexual Orientation 42 2 38 1 40 2
A conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended 3 - 3 - 8 -
Total 1,8831002,6671002,068100
* Total number of grounds cited exceeds the total number of received complaints because some complaints dealt with more than one ground.

Figure 4 - Complaints received by types of allegation cited

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Employment-related (sections 7,8,10) 1,554 722,07071 1,658 72
Services-related (sections 5,6) 294 14435 15 390 17
Harassment – employment (section 14) 194 9 290 10 176 8
Union membership (section 9) 71 3 59 2 48 2
Retaliation (section 14.1) 32 1 36 1 32 1
Harassment – services (section 14) 17 1 33 1 7 -
Notices, signs, symbols (section 12) 1 - - - 3 -
Hate messages (section 13) 5 - 4 - - -
Pay equity (section 11) 1 - 2 - - -
Intimidation (section 59) - - - - 1 -
Total 2,1691002,9291002,306100
* Total number of allegations cited exceeds the total number of received complaints because some complaints dealt with more than one allegation.

Figure 5 - Complaints accepted by province or territory

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Ontario 452 55 437 48 337 44
British Columbia and Yukon 145 18 147 16 121 16
Quebec 96 12 106 12 110 14
Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut60 7 87 10 65 9
Nova Scotia 12 1 41 5 39 5
Manitoba 45 5 34 4 33 4
Saskatchewan 27 - 19 2 23 3
New Brunswick 11 1 18 2 13 2
Outside of Canada 1 - 7 1 2 -
Newfoundland and Labrador 3 - 5 1 9 1
Prince Edward Island 1 - 2 - 8 1
Total 853100903100760100

Figure 6 - Complaints accepted by types of respondents

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Private Sector 370 43 414 46 366 48
Federal government* 317 37 315 35 254 33
Reserves, Bands and Councils 39 5 59 7 61 8
Unions 96 11 59 7 54 7
Individuals 31 4 56 6 25 3
Total 853100903100760100
* Includes employers in the core public administration, separate federal government organizations or agencies and Crown corporations.

Figure 7 - Complaints accepted by ground(s) of discrimination cited

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Disability 372 33 404 28 411 33
Age 227 20 200 14 130 11
National or Ethnic Origin 122 11 175 12 139 11
Race 115 10 161 11 128 10
Sex 105 9 160 11 128 10
Family Status 60 5 105 7 106 9
Colour 59 5 89 6 74 6
Religion 38 3 53 4 50 4
Marital Status 22 2 53 4 33 3
Sexual Orientation 17 1 22 2 27 2
A conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended 3 - 2 - 4 -
Total 1,1401001,4241001,230100
* Total number of grounds cited exceeds the total number of accepted complaints because some complaints dealt with more than one ground.

Figure 8 - Complaints accepted by types of allegation cited

  201020112012
  # % # % # %
Employment-related (sections 7,8,10) 1,080 731,05570 926 69
Services-related (sections 5,6) 169 11247 16 207 15
Harassment – employment (section 14) 114 8 175 12 124 9
Union membership (section 9) 80 5 - - 52 4
Retaliation (section 14.1) 20 1 22 1 28 2
Harassment – services (section 14) 11 - 15 1 6 -
Notices, signs, symbols (section 12) 1 - - - 2 -
Hate messages (section 13) - - 1 - 1 -
Pay equity (section 11) - - - - - -
Intimidation (section 59) - - - - - -
Total 1,4751001,5151001,346100
* Includes employers in the core public administration, separate federal government organizations or agencies and Crown corporations.

Figure 9 - Final decisions by type

  201020112012
Section 40/41 Analysis* 258 327 433
Dismissed 141 174 190
Settled** 173 244 209
Referred to Tribunal 183 129 113
Total 755 874 945
* Under section 40/41 of the Act, the Commission may decide not to deal with a complaint because the complainant ought to pursue another redress mechanism, the incident occurred too long ago, or because the complaint is out of jurisdiction, or considered trivial, frivolous or vexatious.

** Total number of settlements includes all settlements reached between parties, with or without help from the Commission. The number of settlements for 2010 has been adjusted.