For immediate publication
Toronto - Beginning this October 1st, the Ontario Human Rights Commission will implement a new process for self-drafting of human rights complaints.
Under the old process, complainants were required to fill out a 7-page questionnaire in order to file a complaint. Close to 50% of the intake questionnaires sent to complainants were never returned. In the new self drafting process, individuals will be asked to provide the particulars of their allegations directly onto a 4-page complaint form. This new approach will speed up the processing of complaints and give individuals more control over their complaint.
Complainants will now be provided with Guidelines and a sample complaint to help them complete the complaint form. Four Intake Officers will continue to provide assistance to individuals who experience difficulty with drafting complaints or are unable to draft complaints because of a language, literacy or cultural barrier, or because of a disability. A new dedicated phone line will also be set up for this purpose.
The Commission’s experience demonstrates that complainants were already submitting clear accounts of their allegations when completing the intake questionnaire. As well, 15 percent of complainants were already electing to self-draft their own complaints. Intake Officers will continue to review all complaints to ensure they meet the Commission’s drafting standards and will seek clarification or additional information if necessary.
As in the past, Intake Officers will also make referrals for complainants who may wish to connect with other agencies such as legal clinics or cultural and ethnic community organizations whose mandates involve assisting particular groups. The Commission is mailing out an information package to clinics and organizations explaining the new self-draft complaint process and will meet with organizations in this regard.
The new process will also allow the Commission to re-deploy resources from three intake positions into speeding up mediation and investigation services.
"I am confident that these changes will streamline the process for complainants," stated Chief Commissioner Keith Norton, adding that, "it will also help the Commission meet its responsibility to effectively and efficiently manage a growing caseload within the boundaries of the Human Rights Code and its budget allocation."
The Commission will be closely monitoring the new self-draft complaint process and will review its effectiveness in the next fiscal year.
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Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission