Branch Descriptions

Office of the Chief Commissioner

The Office of the Chief Commissioner provides leadership and guides the Commission in carrying out its statutory functions in a way that ensures that, at both the government and community levels, human rights are protected in the province. The Chief Commissioner and Commissioners set policy direction and make decisions about complaints relating to the Code.

Office of the Executive Director

The Office of the Executive Director provides leadership and direction to senior management staff of the Commission in carrying out its statutory mandate; directs the development and implementation of corporate and operational plans; and leads the planning and implementation of ongoing organizational improvement initiatives within the Commission. The Registrar’s Office, attached to the Office of the Executive Director, is responsible for processing Reconsideration requests, co-ordinating all functions related to Commission and Panel Meetings, and Freedom of Information and Ombudsman issues.

Mediation and Investigation Branch

The Mediation and Investigation Branch handles all the enforcement functions of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

The public’s first contact with the Commission is through the centralized Inquiry and Intake Unit, which handles all inquiries and sends out complaint packages to those who wish to file a complaint. The Mediation Office provides mediation services as well as processes section 34 requests which give the Commission discretion not to deal with a complaint, if it could have been resolved elsewhere, is filed in bad faith, is out of time or is outside the Commission’s legal authority. The Investigation Office undertakes investigation and conciliation of complaints.

The Branch also develops multi-year strategies to effectively manage the Commission’s caseload and procedures for the mediation and investigation of complaints. In addition, the Branch assists in carrying out the Commission’s public education mandate.

Policy and Education Branch

The Policy and Education Branch provides leadership and direction for the promotion and advancement of human rights and supports the enforcement of the Code.

The Branch ensures the promotion of human rights through compliance with the Code and with international human rights obligations. This includes the development of public policy statements, formal guidelines and research on a broad range of human rights and social justice issues. The Branch is responsible for national and international liaison, issues management, media and stakeholder relations, the Web site and publications. It also conducts public consultations and focus groups and represents the Commission on intergovernmental task forces and delegations.

The Branch is responsible for the strategic planning function for public education and communications at a corporate level and for implementing a wide range of educational programs and partnership initiatives, such as public awareness campaigns, presentations, workshops and conferences. The Branch also provides communications and policy support to the Offices of the Chief Commissioner and the Executive Director.

Legal Services Branch

The Legal Services Branch assists the Commission in fulfilling all aspects of its mandate, including compliance, public education and litigation. Its activities include providing legal advice to senior management, mediation and investigation managers and officers concerning investigation and conciliation of cases, providing legal opinions requested by the Commission, and serving as legal counsel to the Commission before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the courts (on matters of judicial review and appeals).