Investigation

INFORMATION SHEET

A printable PDF version of this information sheet is available.

When a complaint alleging discrimination is accepted at the Alberta Human Rights Commission, two methods may be used to reach a resolution to the complaint. The first is conciliation; the second is investigation. For more information about conciliation, please see the Commission's Conciliation information sheet.

The Commission may begin investigation of a human rights complaint upon receipt of the written response provided by the respondent to the complaint. Investigation may continue at any time during the complaint process, or if the parties do not want to participate in conciliation or if conciliation is unsuccessful.

At investigation, the Commission advises the parties that it is collecting information related to the human rights complaint and shares the information with the complainant and the respondent (the parties) for their comments. Throughout the process, the investigator will be in contact with both parties. The investigator will thoroughly and impartially assess the information and consider related law. The investigator will make a recommendation as to whether or not there is a reasonable basis to proceed with the complaint.

At any point during the investigation process, a complaint may be sent to the Director of the Commission, who may decide at any time to dismiss or discontinue the complaint, or refer the complaint to a tribunal. The Commission will notify both parties if a complaint is sent to the Director for a decision under section 22 of the Alberta Human Rights Act.

After an investigation is completed, written investigation results are provided to the parties. The written results will either support the complaint and recommend to the Director that there is a reasonable basis to proceed, or they will recommend to the Director that there is not a reasonable basis to proceed.

If there is a reasonable basis to proceed, the Commission may ask the parties to attempt to resolve the complaint by reaching an agreement on a remedy. A remedy is compensation for losses that the complainant experienced and can be financial or non-financial. Remedy is intended to restore the complainant to the position they would have been in if a contravention of the Act had not occurred. It is not intended to punish the respondent. Examples of remedies include money, an apology or a change in policy. The respondent may also participate in a human rights education activity. For more information about remedies, please see the Commission's Remedy information sheet.

If there is no reasonable basis to proceed, the complaint will be sent to the Director of the Commission with a recommendation to dismiss the complaint. The Director will review the complaint and make a decision under section 22 of the Act.

Also, the complainant may withdraw the complaint in writing at any time and for any reasons, and the complaint will be closed.

All information collected during the complaint process will be treated as confidential by the Commission.

For more information

For detailed information about the human rights complaint process, see the following publications, which are available on the Commission website or by calling the Commission and requesting printed copies.

  1. The Human Rights Complaint Process information sheet
  2. The Human Rights Complaint Process: A guide for complainants
  3. The Human Rights Complaint Process: A guide for respondents
  4. Human Rights Complaint Form and Guide

Please note: A complaint must be made to the Alberta Human Rights Commission within one year after the alleged incident of discrimination. The one-year period starts the day after the date on which the incident occurred. For help calculating the one-year period, contact the Commission.

January 2015

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

Due to confidentiality concerns, the Commission cannot reply to complaints of discrimination by email. Please contact the Commission by phone or regular mail if you have a specific complaint.

You can access information about making FOIP requests for records held by the Commission on our Contact us page.

The Commission will make publications available in accessible formats upon request for people with disabilities who do not read conventional print.