Annual Report and Statistics

The Commission reports on complaints statistics and its extensive education activities.

Annual report

The Commission's current 2021-22 Annual Report provides information on how many complaints were opened and closed and at what stage of the process they were closed. It also has information about the Commission's extensive education program.

Human rights complaints

Individuals who believe they have experienced discrimination, as defined by the Alberta Human Rights Act, may make a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The Commission can only accept complaints that are within its jurisdiction. The Commission provides services to resolve and settle complaints, while the Tribunal adjudicates​ complaints that cannot be resolved.

In the 2021-22 fiscal year:

  • the Commission opened 1,040 complaint files
  • the Commission closed 1,118 complaint files
  • 78% of the complaints closed were dealt with through the Commission's complaint resolution and settlement processes
  • the remaining 22% closed through the tribunal process.

2021-22 complaint statistics

The Commission received a large number of inquiries and complaints related to COVID-19. The issues raised primarily focused on masking and mandatory vaccination policies. In 2021-22, 32% of accepted complaints were related to COVID-19.

A bar chart showing the number of complaints accepted went up by 15% from 903 in 2021-22 to 1040 in 2021-22.


Complaints opened and closed and year-end count
   2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
Complaints opened 895 903 1,040
Complaints closed 1,136 1,334 1,118
Open complaints at March 31 2,098 1,667 1,589


Note: Commission staff review completed human rights complaint forms to determine if they can be accepted ​as complaints under the Act. Complaints must fall within jurisdiction of the Act, demons​trate reasonable grounds, be made within one year of the alleged contravention of the Act, and meet requirements described in the Commission's Bylaws. In 2021-22, 2,028​ ​parties submitted complaint forms and the Commission accepted 903 complaints as meeting the acceptance criteria.

In 2021-22, we introduced a revised complaint process consolidating the effective strategies and processes used over the past three years to resolve complaints of discrimination in a timelier manner. The average length of time from acceptance of a complaint until resolution, dismissal, or referral to Tribunal decreased by 36%, from 844 days to 538 days.

Bar chart showing the length of time in days reduced by 36% from 844 in 2020-21 to 538 days in 2021-22

As in previous years, discrimination on the grounds of physical disability and mental disability were the most commonly cited in complaints opened in 2021-22. Notably, the percentage of complaints made on the ground of religious belief increased​ 11% from the previous fiscal year, as the majority of vaccine-related complaints were made on that ground.

Circles showing percentages for physical disability, mental disability, religious beliefs, and gender. Values in table below.

This table provides information on the number of ground and areas cited in the 1,040 new complaint files opened in 2021-22. Each complaint may cite more than one ground and area. Percentages have been rounded.

Complaints by ground and independent areas*
April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2022
Protected ground   Times cited Per cent of total
Physical disability 745 25%
Mental disability 552 19%
Religious beliefs 378 13%
Gender 352 12%
Race/Colour 258 9%
Ancestry/Origin 157 5%
Age 149 5%
Family status 126 4%
Gender expression 54 2%
Gender identity 44 1%
Sexual orientation 41 1%
Source of income 25 <1%
Marital status 25 <1%
Equal pay* 14 <1%
Retaliation* 12 <1%
Malicious/Vexatious* 1 <1%
Total 2,933  

* Sections 6 and 10 of the Act allow for complaints that do not depend on the involvement of a protected ground. These sections are referred to as independent areas.

​As in previous years, discrimination in the area of e​mployment was the most commonly cited section in complaints opened in 2021-22.

Circles showing percentages for employment practices and goods/services. Values in table below.

This table provides information on the number of grounds and areas cited in the 1,040 new complaint files opened in 2021-22. Each complaint may cite more than one ground and area.

Complaint grounds cited by section of the Alberta Human Rights Act
April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2022
Protected area Per cent of total
Employment practices (section 7) 70%
Good, services, accommodation, or facilities (section 4) 25%
Tenancy (section 5) 3%
Equal Pay (section 6) <1%
Applications and advertisements re: employment (section 8) <1%
​Retaliation (section 10.1) <1%
Membership in trade union, etc. (section 9) <1%
Frivolous or vexatious complaints with malicious intent (section 10.2) <1%
Publications, notices (section 3) 0%

* Sections 6 and 10 of the Act allow for complaints that do not depend on the involvement of a protected ground. These sections are referred to as independent areas.

Requests for Review decided by the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals in 2021-22​

If the Director of the Commission dismisses a complaint, the complainant may file a Request for Review to the Chief, pursuant to section 26 of the Alberta Human Rights Act.

In 2021-22, 110 Requests for Review were filed. For 94 complaints, the Chief a​greed (or upheld) the Director's dismissal and the files were closed. For the remaining 16. the Chief disagreed (or overturned) the dismissal and the complaints proceeded to Tribunal.

Pie chart showing 85% of decisions were upheld and 15% were overturned for 110 requests reviewed.

Tribunal Process

At the Tribunal process, all parties are offered mediation by a Member of the Commission through a tribunal dispute resolution (TDR) process. If the parties are unable to settle the matter at TDR or choose not to participate in the TDR, the matter proceeds to a tribunal hearing for adjudication by a different Member or Members.

With the substantial changes made to the human rights complaint process and work to process the older inventory of complaints, the Tribunal saw an unprecedented increase in caseload in 2021-22. These are the outcome of the 248 complaints closed through the human rights Tribunal process:

  • 154 closed​ through the TDR process
  • 58 closed through private settlement
  • 14 closed as a result of a tribunal hearing (7 merit, 7 no merit)
  • 12 withdrawn or closed for other reasons

Educational workshops, forums and webinars

The Commission informs and educates the public on human rights principles, their rights and responsibilities under Alberta's human rights legislation, and the Commission's programs and services.

In the 2021-22 fiscal year, the Commission:

  • ​Informed Albertans through our core education tool, our website. Visits rose significantly in the fall of 2021 and peaked at 25,000 views in a single day in September, coinciding with the launch of the Government of Alberta's COVID-19 Restriction Exemption Program
  • Delivered online public workshops to 94 participants representing 30 different geographical locations
  • Educated the public through webinars and videos with 7,250 views
  • Informed 3,360 people subscribed to our online newsletter, Alberta Human Rights Information Service, keeping subscribers informed about recent Tribunal decisions, Commission news and events, significant human rights dates, and related human rights information
  • Released an infographic providing Albertans with an overview of the new complaint process. We also hosted two virtual presentation to key stakeholders about the new process
  • Spoke at 17 virtual events representing the disability, Francophone, legal, and post-secondary communities
  • Supported key stakeholders in the disability sector by championing accessibility legislation
  • Launched the Indigenous Human Rights Strategy, supported by an Indigenous Advisory Circle, to help guide the Commission's practices and initiatives with the goal of reducing barriers that Indigenous individuals and communities face
  • Supported organizations completing projects funded by the former Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, like a Harassment in ​the Workplace Toolkit for HR professionals in Alberta and identifying equity and inclusion needs in Medicine Hat​
  • Collaborated with partner organizations on several initiatives that address hate, racism, discrimination, and inequity, including the Coalitions Creating Equity (CCE) initiative and the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee (AHCC).