The Human Rights Code allows the respondent to a human rights complaint provide a formal response or reply to the complaint allegations. A reply is not required under The Code, but it can be very helpful in assisting the Complainant to understand the Respondent’s position with respect to their complaint, and it helps the Commission investigate the complaint.
The Commission will request a reply from the respondent prior to referring the complaint to early assessment or investigation. If the parties are attempting to resolve the complaint in mediation (prior to any assessment of investigation of the complaint) we will not request a reply until mediation has closed.
We will usually give the respondent 30 days to submit a Reply that responds specifically to details in the complaint and will also request documents or evidence that will assist in the investigation of the complaint.
If a Reply is submitted, a copy will be provided to the complainant. We will usually remove the names of any third-parties referenced in the document. Any attachments or evidence are not provided to the complainant.
Respondent can use the reply to highlight reasons they believe the Commission should dismiss the complaint without investigation. Examples of situations where a complaint may be dismissed without investigation include: the complainant and the respondent entered into a settlement agreement resolving the issues raised in the complaint, the complainant is a member of a union and the issues raised in the complaint fall under the scope of the collective agreement, the complainant has pursued their concerns via another legal process, the respondent is federally regulated, etc. For more information on Early Assessment/Dismissal without Investigation, see our Guide to the Early Assessment / Dismissal without Investigation process.
In this case, the respondent may choose to provide a preliminary reply that addresses why they believe the complaint should be dismissed without investigation. If the complaint proceeds to investigation, a further Reply may be submitted to respond to the substance of the allegations.
There is no impact on the time the complainant will wait to have the complaint investigated if the respondent does not submit a reply or delays submitting the reply.
For more information see our Guide to Responding to a Complaint.
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