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Frequently Asked Questions

If I need help filling out the forms, what should I do?

If you need help completing the forms, or if you have questions about the complaint process, you may contact the Human Rights Commission.

Does it cost anything to file a human rights complaint?
There is no cost to file a complaint, respond to a complaint, or to participate in an investigation, settlement negotiations or a panel hearing.

Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need to have a lawyer. However, both the person making a complaint (the Complainant) and the person or organization a complaint is against (the Respondent) may hire a lawyer. If you hire a lawyer, it is at your own expense.

My complaint is against more than one person or organization. What should I do?
It is possible to make a complaint against more than one Respondent. There is space on the complaint form for more than one Respondent. If your complaint involves more than one Respondent, write the name of each Respondent in the area provided on the complaint form.

Can I make a complaint on behalf of someone else?
Yes. You can file a complaint on behalf of another person. The Executive Director may require the consent of the other person.

What result can I expect from my complaint?
Some examples of what you may seek as a resolution to your complaint are:
  • a letter of apology
  • a letter of reference
  • an education session on the PEI Human Rights Act provided to the Respondent by a Commission staff member
  • an indication that the Respondent will not discriminate in the manner complained of in the future
  • monetary compensation for injury to dignity and hurt feelings, lost wages, and expenses incurred due to the discrimination
  • reinstatement to an employment position
  • provision of the service or accommodation that was denied
Your complaint may also be settled or dismissed because it lacks merit.

Is all the information I give to the Human Rights Commission given to the other parties?
Both the Respondent and Complainant are entitled to see all information provided by the parties involved in the complaint, except contact information. A Complainant or Respondent may request that certain information be kept confidential.

If I don't want to continue with my complaint, what can I do?
If you decide you do not want to continue the complaint process, you may withdraw your complaint. You must tell the Commission, in writing, that you want to withdraw the complaint. This can be done at any time, until a human rights panel has made a decision on the complaint.

How long does a human rights complaint take?
On average, a complaint takes less than one year from the time the complaint has been filed to the point of resolution. However, complaints that require a public hearing usually take longer.

Will my complaint be sent to a public hearing?
Complaints are not sent to a public hearing automatically. If no settlement is possible, and after investigating a complaint, the Executive Director may recommend to the Chair that a complaint be sent to a hearing. The Executive Director he may dismiss or discontinue the complaint. The Chair may also decide to send a complaint to a hearing after a review of the Executive Director's decision to dismiss or discontinue a complaint.

Where does the funding come from for the day-to-day operations of the Commission?
The PEI Human Rights Commission is an independent corporate body that receives all its funding from money appropriated by the Legislature. The funding is by way of an annual operating grant through the Office of the Attorney General.
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