The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has recently decided a number of cases where people have come forward with a human rights claim after the one-year limitation period established for such claims in the Human Rights Code. Unlike civil lawsuits in the courts where plaintiffs generally have 2-years to make their claim, in Ontario’s human rights system applicants generally have only 1-year to make their claim.
The Human Rights Tribunal’s recent jurisprudence suggests that this limitation will run from the date of the last discriminatory event, not from the date of an ongoing effect of a discriminatory event. In the recent decision, Mafinezam v. University of Toronto, the Applicant filed her Application beyond the one-year limitation. The core of her Application was that the University had discriminated against her by issuing a trespass notice to her under the Trespass to Property Act. The Notice was issued more than a year before the Application was filed, but the Applicant argued that because the Notice was “ongoing” the discrimination continued and she was therefore within the one-year limitation period.
The Tribunal disagreed, stating that “the continuing effect of the Trespass Notice does not constitute further incidents of discrimination or a series of incidents.” In effect, the issuance of the Notice constituted the last alleged discriminatory act that the Applicant could rely on.
The message for human rights Applicants is that you have one year from the last discriminatory event to file your Application. If you think your rights have been breached you should take action without delay.