Residential and commercial tenancy: Who can make a complaint

Situations in which individuals might experience discrimination in the area of tenancy include:

  • reading or responding to an advertisement for a rental unit
  • making an application to rent a residential or commercial rental unit
  • renting a self-contained dwelling unit such as a house, apartment, townhouse or condominium unit
  • renting a commercial unit

Section 20 of the Alberta Human Rights Act sets out who can make a complaint of discrimination under the AHR Act as follows:

20(1) Any person, except the Commission, a member of the Commission and a person referred to in section 18, who has reasonable grounds for believing that a person has contravened this Act may make a complaint to the Commission.
(2) A complaint made pursuant to subsection (1) must
(a) be in a form acceptable to the Commission, and
(b) be made within one year after the alleged contravention of the Act occurs.

This means a person can make a human rights complaint if they have a reasonable basis to believe that someone has discriminated against them. A complaint may be made on behalf of another individual. Complainants are entitled (but not required) to have a third party, for example, a lawyer or advocate, represent them in the complaint process. If a complainant chooses to pay for help from a lawyer or advocate, the complainant is responsible for the cost.

For more information, see Making and resolving human rights complaints.

Revised: March 9, 2010



The Alberta Human Rights Commission is an independent commission of the Government of Alberta.

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