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Practice Direction on Naming Respondents

(Note: The information in this document relating to naming respondents applies only to applications filed under section 34 or 35 of Part IV of the Ontario Human Rights Code.)

This document provides general information only. It is not a rule within the meaning of the HRTO’s Rules of Procedure. The HRTO may vary the approach to processing an application where appropriate.

This document is available on the internet at http://www.hrto.ca and in various accessible formats. For an alternative format or a paper copy, please contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at: 416-326-1312, toll-free: 1-866-598-0322, TTY: 416-326-2027, TTY toll-free: 1-866-607-1240.

Determining Who to Name as a Respondent

When you name respondents in an application (see section 4 “Respondent Contact Information”) or name additional respondents in a response (see section 4 “Contact information – Additional Respondent”) you are naming the organization(s) and/or individual(s) you believe engaged in discrimination, and that you ask the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the HRTO) to find legally responsible for this discrimination if the application is successful. Each person or organization that you name as either an “organization respondent” or “individual respondent” will be a respondent to the application.

Where there is an organizational respondent who may be held liable for the alleged infringement and is in a position to satisfy any remedies ordered, the naming of individual respondents is generally discouraged. The HRTO has noted in its decisions that the unnecessary naming of individuals, whose conduct is not a central issue in the alleged harassment or discrimination, adds to the complexity of the case and can act as a roadblock to resolution of the dispute (see Sigrist and Carson v. London District Catholic School Board, 2008 HRTO 14 (CanLII)).

If an individual was acting in the regular course of their employment or duties, you may not need to name the individual as a separate respondent in addition to the organization. Before deciding to name an individual respondent, you may wish to consider:

  • Is there an organization respondent who you are alleging is liable for the same conduct?
  • Is there any reason why the organization respondent may not be able to respond to or remedy the alleged infringement of the Human Rights Code?
  • Is the conduct of the individual a central issue or is the nature of the alleged conduct such that it may be appropriate to award a remedy specifically against that individual if a human rights violation is found, for example where it is alleged that the individual engaged in harassment contrary to the Code?

You may wish to get legal advice if you have any questions about who you should name as a respondent.

Information about Respondents

You must give the HRTO the following information about every respondent:

  • The correct legal name and contact information of each organizationyou name as an organization respondent. You may want to do a corporate search for the correct legal name.
  • One contact person for each organization respondent. The contact person is NOT a respondent unless also named as an individual respondent. 
  • The full name and contact information of each person you name as an individual respondent.

Role of the Contact Person

The contact person is the person at the organization who the HRTO or a party to the application may contact about the application and to whom documents intended for the organization respondent must be delivered.

Government Respondents

  1. Ontario government ministry or agency

The HRTO does hear complaints against the Ontario government. When you name a ministry as a respondent, you must write it like this:

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario, as represented by the Minister of ___________________(Put in the name of the ministry)

In general, you do not need to do this if your claim is against a government agency. You can just use the correct legal name of the agency.

      b.     Federal government ministry or agency

The HRTO does not hear applications against the federal government or its agencies.

Federal works or undertakings

The HRTO does not hear applications that fall under federal jurisdction. Works or undertakings that generally fall under federal jurisdiction include:

  • Chartered banks
  • Airlines
  • Television and radio stations
  • Telephone companies
  • Organizations that transport people or goods between provinces or countries such as certain trucking companies, courier companies, bus lines and railways

Just because a corporation is federally “incorporated” does not mean that it is federally-“regulated”.

If you believe the federal government or a federal work or undertaking engaged in discrimination, contact:

Canadian Human Rights Commission
344 Slater Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1E1
Web: http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca
Phone: (613) 995-1151
Toll-free: 1-888-214-1090
TTY: 1-888-643-3304
Fax: (613) 996-9661


December 2008, last amended June 2010