Human Rights Tribunal confirms concurrent jurisdiction in Ontario


The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) has confirmed that concurrent jurisdiction will continue in Ontario, following a months-long review that began in March 2022. As a result, unionized employees will retain the right to file workplace complaints with the Tribunal. founded violations of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Concurrent jurisdiction, the right of unionized employees in Ontario to choose whether to file complaints with the HRTO or rely on their collective agreements to deal Coded-labor violations, has been in place for more than two decades. This decision removes any ambiguity on the ability of workers to exercise this right.

The Ontario Federation of Labor was the first organization to sound the alarm about unionized employees in Ontario losing access to the Tribunal, following the horrock Supreme Court of Canada decision in October 2021. In a statement released earlier this year, OTF President Patty Coates demanded that unions be part of the HRTO’s review: “The labor movement must be included in any discussion of the human rights of our members. ”

A number of Ontario unions were successful in obtaining intervener status in the review and defended the rights of unionized employees to access the Tribunal.

“We commend these affiliates for their strong stance in support of human rights in Ontario,” Coates added. “There is no doubt that their interventions, including highlighting the pressing concerns of groups such as the Coalition of Black Unionists, were instrumental in this important decision.”

Following the HRTO’s decision, the OTF is calling on the Ford government to reverse its chronic underfunding and resourcing of the Tribunal.

“As long as Ontario workers face a backlog of thousands of cases before the Tribunal, they will not have meaningful access to justice,” said Ahmad Gaied, OTF Secretary-Treasurer. “Ford created this crisis, but he could end it by ensuring the Tribunal has the funding, expertise and leadership it needs to serve the public of Ontario.

Ontario Federation of Labor represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For more information, visit and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information please contact:
Melissa Palermo
Communications Director
Ontario Federation of Labor
[email protected] | 416-894-3456


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