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When there has been a contravention of the Alberta Human Rights Act, a remedy provides compensation for losses that a person who has been dealt with contrary to the Act (in most cases, the complainant) has experienced. A remedy may also provide for certain actions to be taken by the respondent to prevent future contraventions of the Act.

A remedy can be financial or non-financial. It 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. Some examples of remedies include money for loss of wages or injury to dignity and self-respect, an apology, a change in policy, or participation in a human rights education activity.   

A complainant is the person who makes a complaint to the Commission because they have a reasonable basis to believe that someone has discriminated against them or that the Alberta Human Rights Act has been contravened. A complainant may also make a complaint on behalf of someone else. Completing a complaint form or making a complaint does not mean that the complaint has been accepted by the Commission.

A respondent is the employer, service provider, landlord, organization or individual against whom the complainant is making a complaint.                                      

How are remedies determined? 

Remedies are determined based on assessing the losses that the complainant has actually experienced, and a consideration of whether or not any non-monetary remedies are necessary to prevent the discrimination from occurring in the future. Remedies are also based on previous human rights decisions.

The specific factors of each complaint will be considered when determining remedy. Tribunal and court decisions have considered a number of factors, including: 

  • the nature of the contravention,
  • the frequency and intensity of the contravention,
  • the vulnerability of the complainant, and
  • the impact on the complainant.

The steps the complainant took or could have taken to minimize losses, such as looking for or accepting a job, will also be considered.

For example, if a complainant has lost his or her job because of their race, remedy may include one or more of the following:

  • a verbal or written apology to the complainant;
  • a job reference for the complainant;
  • an agreement or order that the respondent stop the behaviour and take steps to ensure that the behaviour will not happen again;
  • reinstatement of the complainant to their former job;
  • financial compensation to the complainant for lost income and benefits as well as for general damages for injury to dignity and self-respect;
  • participation by the respondent in a human rights education activity; and/or
  • development and implementation of an anti-discrimination policy in the workplace.

During the Commission's complaint process, complainants and respondents (the parties) are encouraged to find a resolution that is agreeable to both parties and in keeping with the Act. If the parties agree to resolve the complaint, they should document and sign their agreement and provide a copy of the signed agreement to the Commission.

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.

    December 2019

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Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.