Discrimination and Racism: Options for Victims

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The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms forbids many types of discrimination. Discrimination based on the colour of your skin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or handicap is illegal and violates the victim’s rights. What do you do if you are the victim of discrimination?

How to file a complaint

If you have been the victim of discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ or human and youth rights commission). If you want to file a complaint, the discrimination must have a link with housing, employment, access to services or a public space, or concluding a contract.

Once the complaint has been filed, an investigator may contact you first to understand the situation. They may propose a settlement or mediation. If this isn’t possible, they will open an investigation to collect evidence. This means things like testimony or relevant documents, etc.

If there is enough evidence, the CDPDJ can propose corrective measures to the person who violated your rights. Corrective measures can mean attending a discrimination awareness seminar or paying an amount of money for any damage caused. If they refuse, the CDPDJ can represent you before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal for free to help you get justice.

The CDPDJ can also decide to close your file. In this case, you have 90 days to open a file at the Human Rights Tribunal. However, you would be responsible for the fees.

If the police discriminate against you

If you wish file a complaint about discrimination by a police officer, you do it online at the website of the Commissaire à la déontologie policière (police ethics commissioner). You must do so within 1 year after the event or within 1 year of learning of it. To learn more about the procedure, read our article about police ethics.