The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Introduces New Rules of Procedure

Background

The federal government published the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Rules of Procedure, 2021 on June 23, 2021. The new Rules of Procedure (the “Rules”) came into force on July 11, 2021 and apply to federally regulated employers across Canada. Amendments to the Rules occurred in response to solicited public consultation in 2020. The updates seek to codify practices that were already in use and ensure the modernization of proceedings, including the incorporation of technology. This blog will provide an overview of some of the key changes to the Rules.

Key Changes to Modernizing the Rules

The goal of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) is to make proceedings simpler and faster. They have also introduced rules to improve their service to Canadians. Some of the key changes are as follows:

  • The Tribunal can sanction non-compliance with the Rules or any order provided by the Tribunal.
  • The Tribunal can make orders against abuse of conduct or vexatious process.
  • Documents may be served and filed electronically.
  • Parties are required to file a list of documents and a copy of the documents they intend to introduce into evidence at the hearing (other than expert reports) with the Tribunal no later than 30 days before the beginning of the hearing and serve the list on other parties.
  • The public can access the Tribunal’s official record, which contains the complaint and documents related to the complaint, subject to confidentiality measures.
  • The Tribunal can order that a hearing be conducted in whole or in part using a telephone conference call, video-conference or any other form of electronic communication.
  • Parties are now required to provide more detailed particulars, aimed at helping parties identify elements of the complaint, the remedies sought, and defences relied on.
  • Lastly, the Tribunal introduced rule establishing time limits for the issuance of decisions to provide faster services.

Main Takeaway

The Rules are aimed to better the quality of service provided by the Tribunal and shorten delays. The Tribunal has committed to issuing decisions on strict timelines, and proceedings are likely to complete sooner given the increased flexibility in use of electronic processes. Overall, the Tribunal should be more efficient and useful for parties seeking resolutions to human rights complaints.

Deciding Which Version of the Rules to Use

As previously stated, the new Rules came into force on July 11, 2021. They apply to any new complaint received by the Chairperson of the Tribunal on or after this date. Parties to a complaint initiated before July 11, 2021 can request the Tribunal apply the new Rules to their matter. Both parties must agree to use the new Rules in order for them to apply. The increased proficiency of the new Rules make them a good option.

Should you have any questions regarding the impact of the Rules on ongoing or future complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, please do not hesitate to contact McCarthy Tétrault’s Labour and Employment group.

Human Rights Tribunal

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