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Books relating to human rights on a library shelf

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) but 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.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) is an independent, specialized and expert administrative tribunal, set up to process, mediate and decide human rights cases. However, many different courts, tribunals, and other administrative decision makers can also decide human rights issues under the Human Rights Code (Code).

This is because of a legal concept known as concurrent jurisdiction. This means you often have a choice about which legal forum to use to enforce your human rights case. In some cases, you may be able to choose more than one legal forum while, in other cases, you may be able to choose only one.

This issue of concurrent jurisdiction and the availability of multiple legal and other forums that can deal with human rights issues under the Code is a complicated area of law. Every case is different and not every human rights case will necessarily be best decided by a HRTO application.

It is a good idea to get legal advice and information before you decide to pursue a human rights case as there are advantages and disadvantages to the various legal forums that may decide human rights cases. Deciding where to try and enforce your human rights case is a very individual decision and depends on many factors that may need to be considered.

There is more information about where to get legal advice at the end of this guide.