What is the time limit for making complaints?
The Alberta Human Rights Act (AHR Act) says that a complaint "must be made within one year after the alleged contravention of the Act occurs."
In general, the end of the one-year period, and the last day you can make a complaint to the Commission, takes place on the anniversary of the date that the alleged contravention occurred. For example, if an alleged contravention occurs on November 15, 2005, then the last day you can make a complaint to the Commission is November 15, 2006. However, if the last day of the one-year period falls on a day when Commission offices are closed (for example, a Saturday, Sunday or a statutory holiday), then the last day of the one-year period is the next business day.
The Commission must receive your complaint within normal business working hours if you are sending it on the last day of the one-year period. This means it must be at the Commission by 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time.
See below for a detailed explanation of how to calculate the one-year period, or contact the Commission for help calculating the one-year period.
How to calculate the one-year period
The Commission consulted the provincial Interpretation Act and considered traditional common law principles to determine how to calculate the one-year period. While these sources differ in the way they calculate the one year, they both arrive at the same date as the last day of the one-year period.
- Section 22 of the provincial Interpretation Act discusses computation of time. It tells us that we are to start counting the one-year period by starting the day after the date on which the alleged discrimination occurred.
If the alleged discrimination took place on November 15, 2005, the one-year period would start on November 16, 2005 and end 365 days later on November 15, 2006 at the end of the business day (4:30 p.m. Mountain Time).
- Common law principles state that where a limitation period is expressed as a number of years, the limitation period includes and ends on the anniversary of the day giving rise to the action (that is, the anniversary of the day on which the incident occurred).
If the alleged discrimination happened on November 15, 2005, the one-year period would begin on November 15, 2005, and would expire on the anniversary date, which is November 15, 2006, at the end of the business day (4:30 p.m. Mountain Time).
Revised: September 1, 2022