UPDATE: COVID-19 AND HUMAN RIGHTS


Alberta has declared a state of emergency and is recommending that, where possible, government employees work from home. In order to comply with social distancing recommendations, Commission employees will be working remotely. While we work to ensure the health and safety of the public and our staff, we also aim to minimize disruption to services as much as possible.
 
We encourage people to communicate with us by phone, email, fax, and mail. Please contact the area of the Commission that relates to your issue:
 
  • Confidential Inquiry Line
    As of March 17, 2020, the Alberta Human Rights Commission offices and all front-line counter services are closed until further notice. The Commission will remain operational, but in-person services will not be available. Please use our website to find the information you need or contact the confidential inquiry line if you require further assistance.
  • Complaint Resolution
    The Commission will contact parties who have upcoming conciliation meetings. Scheduled meetings will take place by telephone or videoconference, rather than in-person. In some circumstances, conciliation meetings may be rescheduled.
  • Tribunal Office
    The Commission will contact parties who have upcoming tribunal dispute resolution (TDR) meetings. TDRs will take place by teleconference or videoconference, rather than in-person, or will be rescheduled to a later date. Tribunal hearings scheduled to be heard before May 31, 2020 have been adjourned. Previously scheduled pre-hearing teleconferences will proceed as scheduled, unless otherwise advised. The Tribunal will contact parties, in due course, to reschedule hearing dates. If you have any questions about TDR meetings or tribunal hearings, contact the Tribunal Office.
Visit the COVID-19 and Human Rights page for more information about general principles on maintaining best practices in human rights in Alberta.
The Commission will continue to monitor the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation closely.
Update to limitation period impacted by Ministerial Order

As part of the COVID-19 response a Ministerial Order was issued which affected the limitation periods pertaining to the Alberta Human Rights Act. The order expired so the normal limitation periods resume June 1, 2020.
The Ministerial Order impacted the set period of time that people had to 1) make a complaint to the Commission, and 2) submit a Section 26 appeal to the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals:
  1. The one-year limitation period for complaints made to the Commission was extended if the deadline fell after March 17, 2020 and before June 1, 2020. For example, for a complaint where the one-year limitation period ended April 1, 2020 (15 days after March 17, 2020), the new limitation period became June 16, 2020 (15 days after June 1, 2020).

    For a complaint where the one-year limitation period ended June 1, 2020 or later, the standard one-year limitation period applies.

  2. When complaints are dismissed or discontinued, a review can be requested within 30 days of the decision being received. The Ministerial Order extended the 30 days for complaints dismissed or discontinued on or after March 17, 2020 until July 1, 2020 (30 days after June 1, 2020).

    For complaints dismissed or discontinued on June 1, 2020 or later, the standard 30-day limitation period applies.

COMMISSION NEWSLETTER
You can read the June 18, 2020 regular issue of the Commission newsletter.
CHIEF'S MESSAGE ON RAISING OUR VOICES AGAINST ANTI-BLACK RACISM
You can read a message from the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals.
REVISIONS TO THE TRIBUNAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION (TDR) PROCESS
To help further the Commission's efforts to continually improve our service provision and find efficiencies, the Tribunal Office is making changes to the scheduling process for Tribunal Dispute Resolution (TDR).
For any TDR scheduled after May 19, 2020, the Tribunal Office will schedule a date for the full-day TDR and provide that date to the parties six weeks in advance. If a party has a scheduling conflict, they have five business days to make a request to reschedule the TDR. In their request, the party must provide alternate dates that fall within 45 days of the scheduled TDR date. Any request to reschedule made more than five business after receiving the date will not be granted, unless there are exceptional circumstances (for example, an illness).
You can read more about TDRs here.
CHIEF'S MESSAGE ON COUNTERING RACISM DURING COVID-19
You can read a message from the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals.
REVISIONS TO THE COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCESS
In December 2019 the Commission launched revisions to its complaint resolution process to ensure that the large volume of complaints the Commission receives are resolved in a timely, effective, and fair manner. All human rights complaints received after January 1, 2019 will be assessed by a human rights officer to determine if the complaint will be resolved through an early resolution process, the Investigation Process, or the Conciliation Process. You can read more about the revisions to the complaint resolution process.

Please note: For complaints received before January 1, 2019, refer to the Complaint Inventory Resolution Project webpage.
RECENT TRIBUNAL DECISIONS
All tribunal decisions can be accessed free of charge through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website.

AMENDMENTS TO AL​BERTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT COME INTO FORCE ON JANUARY 1, 2018
(January 2018)
The Government of Alberta has amended the Alberta Human Rights Act, effective January 1, 2018. Age discrimination is now prohibited in the protected areas of goods, services, accommodation or facilities, and in the area of tenancy. There are exceptions that allow specific types of age restrictions in the area of goods, services, accommodation or facilities. In the area of tenancy, age restrictions will not be permitted in rental buildings as of January 1, 2018. In addition, the Act is amended to protect ameliorative policies, programs and activities that are designed to improve the conditions of disadvantaged persons and that achieve or are reasonably likely to achieve that objective.

For details, read the January 2018 Notice of Changes to Alberta’s Human Rights Legislation.

Important information about making a human rights complaint relating to age under sections 4 and 5:
  • The Commission cannot accept complaints on the ground of age under sections 4 and 5 until the amendments come into force on January 1, 2018.
  • Only incidents that occur on or after January 1, 2018 will be covered by the new protection.

GENDER IDENTITY AND GENDER EXPRESSION NOW EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED GROUNDS OF DISCRIMINATION
Bill 7 is now in force. The Bill amends the Alberta Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the Act as expressly prohibited grounds of discrimination.

PLEASE NOTE:
The Commission is in the process of updating its publications and website to reflect the amendments to the legislation. In the meantime, if you are reading a Commission publication or web page dated before December 11, 2015, please note that the amendments have not yet been incorporated into the publication or web page.

For more information, see the Notice of Changes to Alberta's Human Rights Legislation.

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ABOUT THE COMMISSION
The Alberta Human Rights Commission is an independent commission of the Government of Alberta. Our mandate is to foster equality and reduce discrimination. We provide public information and education programs, and help Albertans resolve human rights complaints.

The Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund has provided funding for this website.

Revised: June 18, 2020


Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.