What is the difference between an Inquiry and a Complaint?

When you contact  the Commission, you are making what is called an “inquiry”.  The Commission receives approximately 2,800 inquiries each year (in person, by phone or, email).  Common inquiries include:

  • Individuals requesting information on the Human Rights Act;
  • Employers and service providers seeking information on how the Act applies to them, their employees, and their customers.
  • Employers and other organizations seeking education materials or training.
  • Individuals seeking to file a human rights complaint under section 29 of the Act.

The Commission receives many inquiries where the caller’s information or request has no relation to human rights, such as:

  • Individuals seeking contact information for other government agencies.
  • Individuals looking for information unrelated to human rights.
  • Vendors seeking to establish a business relationship with the Commission.


A formal complaint is drafted when you express an interest in filing a complaint under section 29 of the Act and where it can be shown that the following criteria are met:

  • Discrimination, as defined by section 4 of the Act, may have occurred.
  • The alleged discrimination occurred within one of the prohibited areas of the Act.
  • The alleged discrimination occurred on account of one of the protected characteristics of the Act.
  • A connection between your protected characteristic and the alleged discrimination can be made.
  • The parties to the alleged discrimination fall under the provincial jurisdiction of the Act, and;
  • The last alleged date of discrimination occurred within 12 months.

Only when these criteria are met can the Commission accept your complaint for investigation by the Dispute Resolution unit.