This guide is general information only. It is not legal advice about your situation. This guide is not a substitute for a lawyer’s research, analysis and judgment. This guide is reliable as of the date of publication (January 2021). You should be aware that the law and procedures under the Human Rights Code (Code) and at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) are subject to change without notice.
After your Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) Application (Form 1) is delivered to the respondent by the HRTO, the Respondent(s) are expected to deliver and file a Response (Form 2) which gives their version of facts and events. The HRTO delivers the Response (Form 2) to you. Once the Response (Form 2) is delivered to you, you may wish to complete a Reply (Form 3).
A Reply (Form 3) is your opportunity to respond to the facts, allegations and other information set out in the Response. It is the final part of the HRTO pleadings – i.e., the Application (Form 1), Response (Form 2) and Reply (*Form 3) – that make up the written record of the applicant’s and the Respondent’s claims about the facts, events and incidents giving rise to your application.
In most cases but necessarily in every case. It will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.
A Reply (Form 3) is your opportunity to respond to any new matters a respondent has raised in their Response (Form 2) or a version of events that you may need to contradict. A Reply (Form 3) is not required to be prepared and delivered under Rule 9 of the HRTO Rules of Procedure (HRTO Rules).
However, it is very common for a respondent to raise a new matter or present a different version of the facts or events in their Response (Form 2). This means that a Reply (Form 3) is likely to be necessary in most cases.
A Reply (Form 3) may also be necessary if the Response (Form 2) makes a request for an order from the HRTO for an early dismissal or deferral of your application. For example, this may happen if you have filed a claim in another legal forum about the same events in your HRTO application such as:
- a union grievance under a collective bargaining agreement;
- a claim at the provincial Ministry of Labour;
- a claim at the federal Employment Insurance Commission; or
- a claim at the provincial Landlord and Tenant Board.
You will be able to tell if you will have to prepare a Reply (Form 3) because of a request to dismiss or defer your application if the letter from the HRTO that accompanies the Response (Form 2) advises that you need to address the respondent’s request to dismiss or defer your application.
You should not repeat the same version of events or facts that you have already set out in your application. There are two (2) main questions for you to consider in preparing your Reply (Form 3):
- What is the new matter or different fact(s) that are raised in the Response (Form 2)?; and
- What do you have to say in response about this new matter or different fact(s)?
A new matter is something that you did not bring up in your application. For example, your application may claim that you were terminated from your employment because the employer refused to accommodate your disability.
In their Response, the employer may claim that the reason for the termination was for performance related issues and had nothing to do with your disability. The issue of your work performance is a new matter that you will need to address in your Reply (Form 3) if you dispute that you had any performance related problems.
In addition, if the respondent provides reasons in their Response (Form 2) why your application should be dismissed on an early basis or deferred pending the conclusion of another legal proceeding you will also need to set out in your Reply why the Respondent’s arguments for dismissal or deferral are wrong. For example, a Respondent may claim that your HRTO application is beyond the one (1) year limitation period in the Human Rights Code (Code) and request that your application be dismissed for delay.
You will want to respond to any respondent’s request to dismiss for delay in your Reply (Form 3). For more information about early dismissal and deferrals at the HRTO, see the self help guides Early Dismissal of an Application and Deferral of an Application.
Sometimes, the Response (Form 2) does not really raise any new matters or provide a different version of the facts but may simply respond to each fact, event, or incident that you have included in your HRTO application.
For example, you may claim in your application that a meeting took place on a certain date with certain people in attendance and that issues of accommodating your disability were not discussed. The respondent might agree with you that the meeting took place on the day you claimed and with the people you claimed were present but disagree that there was any discussion about accommodating your disability.
In other words, you have already provided a version of the events about the meeting in your HRTO Application and you do not need to restate your version as the Respondent has provided a version of events that does not add anything new.
The HRTO wants to understand how your version of the events differs from a respondent’s version. Sometimes the differences are clear from the application and the Response (Form 2) themselves. If this is the case, a Reply (Form 3) will be not be required.
Sometimes, however, you will need to provide more facts for your side of the story to be complete. If this is the case, you will need to file a Reply (Form 3).
For example, if the employer raises performance related issues in the Response (Form 2) and there is no mention of any performance related issues in your application, you may disagree that there were any performance related issues.
You would need to deal with this new matter – your performance at work – and explain why you disagree with the Respondent’s account and set out your version of the facts about your performance.
You must deliver a copy of your Reply (Form 3) to:
- all the other parties;
- any trade union, occupational or professional organization, and
- any other person or organization identified as an affected party in your application and in their Response.
You need to complete a Statement of Delivery (Form 23) and file your Reply and the Statement of Delivery with the HRTO. The Statement of Delivery confirms that you have sent the Reply to all the required parties.
The deadline for filing your Reply (Form 3) is twenty-one (21) days after the date of the letter that the HRTO sent to you with the Response (Form 2). See HRTO Rule 9.3.
If you need more time, you can write to the HRTO, as soon as possible before the deadline, to request an extension of time. Tell the HRTO why you need an extension of time.
Also, if requesting an extension of time, it is a good idea to ask a respondent whether they will consent to the extension of time, and if they do, to tell that to the HRTO as well.
You should not assume that an extension of time will be granted. The HRTO has the right to refuse your request and may do so, depending on the circumstances. The twenty-one (21) days you have is normally more than enough time to deliver and file your Reply (Form 3).
The Reply (Form 3) will contain full instructions from the HRTO on how to file your Reply. You can email it, fax, mail or courier your Reply to the HRTO after you have delivered to the Respondent.
No. A respondent only gets to respond to what information is contained in your application. Your Reply (Form 3) to the Response (Form 2) is the final stage of the HRTO pleadings.
Once the Reply (Form 3) is delivered to the respondent and filed at the HRTO then that concludes the pleadings part of the HRTO process.
After the pleadings are completed, the HRTO will schedule a mediation, if the parties have advised the HRTO in their Application (Form 1) and Response (Form 2) that they agree to mediation.