TABLE OF CONTENTS

human rights protest sign in Nova Scotia


Every person has dignity and worth. This fundamental value is recognized by acknowledging and respecting everyone’s human rights. They are the universal rights that we, as human beings, are all entitled to. Human rights are essentially concerned with equity and fairness. They are about living a life free from all forms of discrimination.

In Canada, there are human rights laws that protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of personal characteristics, including race, place of origin, colour, citizenship, disability, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), age, sexual orientation, marital status, and related reasons (also called “grounds”).

While discrimination can take many forms, it is typically defined as an action that treats a person or a group badly because of certain characteristics. Discrimination is prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

If you feel you have experienced a human rights violation or you have suffered discrimination in Halifax or elsewhere in Nova Scotia, contact our law firm, Valent Legal, as soon as you can. Our Halifax discrimination lawyers can inform you as to what legal remedies may be available to you, such as compensation. Our lawyers will explain your legal rights and any limitation periods that could apply. If necessary, we will represent you at a hearing or in front of a tribunal.

Contact Valent Legal today to schedule a free consultation with our Halifax human rights lawyers.

Know When to File a Discrimination or Human Rights Complaint

Anyone who is legally present in Canada may file a human rights complaint, including a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or someone on a visa. You should file a human rights complaint within 12 months of the act that you are complaining about. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is also a great resource if you are confused about the next steps to take in your discrimination lawsuit.

Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace

In Halifax and throughout Nova Scotia, workplaces must be free of workplace discrimination, harassment, and reprisal. This means that every employee, regardless of their gender, colour, ancestry, ethnic origin, race, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, marital status, or disability, among other characteristics, should not experience workplace discrimination in any form. This includes sexual harassment or abuse by their employer or co-workers.

Discrimination in Housing

Housing discrimination consists of any behaviour, practice, or policy that causes harm through unfair access to or use and of housing by members of historically disadvantaged social groups.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, as well as in residential real-estate related transactions such as mortgage lending, homeowner’s insurance, and zoning.

The federal statute makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, and national origin, disability, and familial status. Housing discrimination can take many forms. One of the most obvious forms is the denial of housing to an individual. Other forms include charging certain people higher rent for housing, applying more stringent screening criteria to certain people, and treating some residents differently from others.

Discrimination in Education

Education discrimination occurs when an individual or entity takes unfair action against people belonging to certain categories. Discrimination in education can be based on age, disability, gender, race, colour, ancestry, creed, religion, or another characteristic.

With education discrimination, discriminatory action is typically perpetrated by teachers, school administrators, or other students. Examples of education discrimination include harsher treatment of minority students compared to their non-minority classmates regarding punishment such as detention, suspension, and unfair grading policies.

How a Human Rights Lawyer Can Help

The human rights lawyers at Valent Legal have extensive experience in fighting for people whose human rights have been breached in the workplace, by a landlord, by a school, and other areas. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve whenever your rights are compromised.

At Valent Legal, our human rights lawyers will work hard to ensure that you receive an appropriate remedy for your claim, which could include:

  • Financial compensation
  • Non-financial remedies, such as an apology or reinstatement to your place of employment
  • Public interest remedies, such as an order requiring a business to modify their hiring practices or modification to legal statutes

How to File a Human Rights Complaint in Canada

If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission by:

  • Using the online complaint form
  • Emailing the .pdf form located on their website
  • Faxing the completed form to the Commission at 613-996-9661
  • Calling the Commission at 1-888-214-1090
  • Completing the form and mailing it to:
    Canadian Human Rights Commission
    344 Slater Street, 8th Floor
    Ottawa, ON K1A 1E1

History of Human Rights in Canada

timeline graphic of canadian human rights

(Click for a larger image)

Contact a Halifax Human Rights Lawyer Now

At Valent Legal, our lawyers are proud to represent individuals, businesses, and organizations in human rights matters. Our lawyers advance and defend human rights issues in the courts, in administrative law hearings, and before human rights tribunals. Valent Legal has a proven track record of success in defending people in human rights-related litigation.

Contact us now to schedule a free consultation with the experienced Halifax human rights lawyers at Valent Legal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is social justice?

Social justice essentially means equal rights, opportunity, and treatment for all.

What are the key human rights issues in Canada?

Key human rights issues in Canada include patient rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, parents’ rights, children’s rights, abortion rights, minority rights, rights of the disabled, aboriginal rights, tenant rights, assisted suicide rights, and various economic, political, and social rights.

What is the difference between a human rights inquiry and a complaint?

Inquiries are not the same as complaints. An inquiry is any unique contact by an individual with the Commission. Common inquiries include individuals requesting information on the Human Rights Act and employers requesting information on how the Act applies to them. Many inquiries have no relation to human rights. An example would be a person seeking contact information for other government agencies.

On the other hand, a formal complaint is drafted when an individual expresses an interest in filing a complaint, and it can be demonstrated that the following criteria are met:

  • Discrimination may have occurred
  • That alleged discrimination occurred within one of the protected areas.
  • That alleged discrimination occurred on account of one of the protected characteristics
  • The parties to the alleged discrimination fall under the provincial jurisdiction.
  • The alleged date of discrimination occurred within 12 months.

I am worried about my safety if I file a human rights complaint. How do I know I will be protected?

The Human Rights Act protects people from retaliation for being involved in a complaint. It protects people because they:

  • Made a complaint or might make a complaint
  • Are named in a complaint or might be named in a complaint
  • Give evidence or help in some other way in a complaint, or might do so

What are “reprisal claims”?

A reprisal is an action intended as retaliation for claiming or enforcing a right. The aim of a reprisal claim is to compensate a person who has been punished for doing the right thing.

How long will it take for my human rights complaint take to be settled?

It varies and depends on the circumstances of your particular complaint. It typically takes 1-2 months for the Tribunal to decide if it can deal with a complaint. If the parties involved decide to mediate, this may take about four months from the time the Tribunal notifies the respondent concerning the complaint.

If the respondent applies to dismiss the complaint, it often takes around three months for the Tribunal to decide the application after all arguments have been made. If there is no application to dismiss the complaint or if the Tribunal denies an application to dismiss, a hearing is scheduled for 4-6 months later. Following the hearing, it may take the Tribunal six months to provide its decision as to whether the complaint is justified or dismissed.

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