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Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour which the harasser knew, or should have known, would be unwanted. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work you can file a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

Complaint Process

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) can deal with complaints about discrimination that has taken place within the last twelve months. In some situations the Chief Commissioner can extend the time for making a complaint. The incident must have occurred in Saskatchewan. There is no fee for making a complaint.

Current and former employees can make a complaint. A complaint can be made on behalf of another person if you have their consent.

If your complaint involves the federal government or a federally regulated industry (such as banking, transportation, broadcasting), it must be made to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Intake Questionnaire

You can also make a complaint by mail or phone. If you need help with completing the online form you can contact the Commission by email.

The complaint process generally begins by completing and filing an online intake questionnaire. The intake form gathers...

  • contact information about you, your workplace and the individual complained about
  • details about your job
  • information about whether you have already taken other action in relation to the complaint, and if so, your reasons for also bringing a human rights complaint
  • the type of discrimination you are complaining about (the form includes a dropdown list of prohibited grounds - sexual harassment is listed separately from discrimination based on sex, including pregnancy, and sexual orientation or gender identity)
  • details about your complaint, including possible witnesses and what they might say
  • information about your thoughts on the best way to resolve your matter
  • additional documents that could support your complaint

Individuals who experience workplace sexual harassment may be reluctant to make a complaint because they fear retaliation. Any type of retaliation is against the Code.

Pre-complaint Resolution

In some cases, the intake consultant may see an opportunity to resolve the issue quickly through facilitating communication between the parties. The intake consultant’s role throughout this process is to remain neutral and unbiased. The process can also serve to help educate employers and workers about human rights violations and their consequences.

Assessment & Complaint

An intake consultant will review the information provided to determine whether your complaint falls under The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and gives reason to believe that discrimination has occurred. If those two factors are satisfied, you will be asked to sign a formal complaint. After the complaint is signed it is served on the other party and then they can respond.

Early Mediation

If both parties agree, complaints may be resolved through mediation. Mediation can take place at any point from intake to investigation. Mediation may lead to a faster, more cooperative resolution.

Through mediation the parties can agree on a resolution. For example, an employer may offer to reinstate a worker who was fired for discriminatory reasons and pay them for the time they were off work. An employer could also offer to pay monetary compensation for harm to the dignity of an employee they have discriminated against. It is important to remember that at this stage both parties must agree to the resolution.

Investigations

If your matter is not resolved pre-complaint or through mediation, the SHRC can investigate your complaint. Discussions that took place during mediation are not shared with investigators. An impartial investigator talks to the parties and witnesses to try to determine what happened. They will also examine any supporting documentation.

The investigators findings will be submitted to the Chief Commissioner. The Chief Commissioner will decide whether your case should be…

  • dismissed
  • sent to a hearing
  • investigated further
  • dealt with in another way

Hearings

In most cases, before a hearing takes place, the parties will be required to make another attempt at mediation, called Directed Mediation. The other party is asked to provide their final offer of resolution. If the Commission determines that the offer is reasonable, they can dismiss your complaint if you do not accept the offer.

If your complaint is referred to the Court of Queen’s Bench, a lawyer from the Commission will present your case for you. There is no charge to you for these services. The other party may choose to hire a lawyer to represent them or they may represent themselves.

If the discrimination is proved, the court can order monetary compensation of up to $20,000 for damage to your dignity, feelings or self-respect as a result of the discrimination.

Even though litigation is essential to the complaints process, the Commission’s decision to litigate any case is never taken lightly. Court intervention is a tool that is used sparingly and judiciously.

- SHRC 2018-2019 Annual Report

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The Shift Project is funded by the Department of Justice and delivered by the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA).