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Human Rights Panel Hearings

If the Executive Director recommends to the Chair that a complaint be sent to a panel hearing, or if the Chair decides to send a complaint to a panel hearing after reviewing the Executive Director’s decision to dismiss the complaint, a time and place for the hearing is scheduled. The Chairperson forwards the complaint to a human rights panel consisting of one or more Commissioners of the PEI Human Rights Commission.

The hearing is open to the public, unless the panel determines that the hearing should be held in private. Prior to the hearing, each party must submit any documents and written submissions on fact and law that they intend to rely on at the hearing. At the hearing, each party may call witnesses and make oral submissions. The proceedings at human rights panel hearings are more relaxed than in a court room.

Neither party is required to have legal counsel for a panel hearing. If they wish, they can seek legal counsel at their own expense.

When the hearing is completed, the panel reviews the submissions and completes a written decision that is final and binding on both parties. If the panel finds that the complaint is without merit, it may dismiss the complaint. If the panel finds that the complaint has merit, in whole or in part, the panel may order the Respondent to do any or all of the following:

  • to cease the discrimination;
  • to refrain in the future from committing the same or any similar discrimination;
  • to make available to the Complainant, or other person dealt with contrary to this Act, the rights, opportunities or privileges that the person was denied contrary to this Act;
  • to compensate the Complainant for wages or lost income or expenses incurred;
  • to take any other action the panel considers proper to place the Complainant in the position he or she would have been in, before the contravention.

The human rights panel has the power to file an order with the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island Trial Division that is enforceable by law.

Judicial Review of the Panel Hearing decision

Either party has 30 days from the date of the panel decision to file an application with the Supreme Court of PEI, if they wish to have a judicial review of the decision.

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