Guide to Investigation


The Manitoba Human Rights Commission investigates complaints to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant requesting an adjudicator to make a final decision after a public hearing of the complaint.

Who investigates the complaint?
Our investigators are trained in human rights law and principles to conduct an impartial investigation of the complaint.  They review the complaint and reply to identify the human rights issues, interview witnesses and examine documents and other evidence to find out what happened.  They analyse the evidence to make a recommendation to our Board of Commissioners to either dismiss the complaint or refer it to an adjudicator.

When will an investigator contact me?
The parties are contacted when the investigator is ready to conduct interviews.  Before that, the investigation team may be reviewing the evidence already provided, or considering legal or jurisdictional issues that may be important.  It usually takes several months from the time the complaint is served or mediation is closed for an investigator to contact the parties.

How long will it take to complete the investigation?
The investigation must be thorough and the investigator’s recommendation must be supported by law.  An investigation usually takes 4 to10 months to complete, depending on the complexity of the complaint and the availability of evidence.

Is participation in the investigation mandatory?
The Commission cannot compel a person to participate. If the Complainant does not participate, the complaint will be terminated as abandoned.  If the Respondent representative or other relevant witnesses choose not to participate, it will be noted in the investigation report to the Board that the person was contacted but did not wish to participate.  

What can I do to prepare?
Set aside any documents or other evidence that relates to the matters set out in the complaint.  Compile a list of witnesses that have direct knowledge of the matters set out in the complaint. 

Will I get to see the other party’s evidence?
The investigator must be impartial and will not provide copies of your information to anyone.  When the investigation is concluded, they will provide the parties with a report that summarizes the evidence they considered.

Can I give the investigator input?
The parties may make suggestions about who should be interviewed.  The investigator ultimately decides what documentary or other evidence they need to review and consider the complaint. This may include medical information, personnel and employee files, emails and letters, etc.  The parties may wish to make a submission to the Board in response to the investigation report.  The parties can use that opportunity to clarify any information that was missing or misunderstood or to highlight other evidence that is important to the complaint.

Can I attend the meeting when the Board considers my case?
The Board of Commissioners’ meetings are not open to the public. The Board meets approximately once per month.  They review the complaint, the reply, the investigation report and any submissions from the parties in response.  The Chairperson of the Board will send a decision letter to the parties within 1 week of the meeting.

Do I need a lawyer?
You may choose to hire a lawyer, but it is not necessary.

Can I appeal the Board’s decision?
The Commission does not have an appeal process. Parties who disagree with the Board’s decision may apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench to have a judge review the Board’s decision.  Parties can also contact the Manitoba Ombudsman if they have concerns about the Commission’s process.


This guide is available in alternate formats.
Ce guide est disponible en francais.

Revised May 2017