I have been named as a "Respondent" in a human rights application. What should I do?

I got a Response Form in the mail from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. It names me as a Respondent in a human rights application. What should I do?

The Ontario Human Rights Code or “the Code” is a provincial anti-discrimination law that applies to workplaces, housing, services, facilities, and to contracts or agreements. Under the Human Rights Code, a person who has experienced discrimination can file an application directly at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

If you receive a “Response Form” from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario it means that someone has claimed that you have violated their rights under the Code and filed an application against you. You are now considered a “Respondent”. Respondents can be both companies and individuals. Many applications have more than one Respondent.

As a respondent, you should respond to the claim made in the application. You should not ignore this notice, even if you think you are innocent of any wrongdoing.

If you do not file a response within the time period outlined, the Tribunal may decide that you have violated the Code and make an order against you without giving you any further notice.

To fill out your Response Form, follow the instructions in the Respondent’s Guide. The Guide can be found in the resource below. Make sure that your Response Form is complete and correct.

The form will ask you about the applicant’s claims and give you the chance to respond to the applicant’s description of what happened. You will also have an opportunity to provide witnesses or documents that support your case.

For more information about how resolving human rights applications before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario works, see the plain English guide also found in the resource below.

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