If you have received an application and notice of application directing you to file a response, that means you are a party to the application. You are called a respondent. A respondent has 35 days to file a response to the allegations in the application.
How to file
Just as applicants have the option of using a lawyer or representing themselves at the Tribunal, you have the same options as a respondent. However, a human rights claim against your company can be a costly event, and we recommend obtaining sound legal advice and representation to respond to the claim. If your company does wish to respond to the claim without representation, instructions regarding how to do so can be found on the HTRO's website.
Questions on the form
These are some of the questions you will need to answer on the response form.
Did the applicant tell you about the human rights concern?
Did you investigate?
Do you have a human rights policy?
What is your response to what the applicant says happened and the applicant’s proposed remedy?
If the response is not complete or more information is required, the HRTO may return the response form and tell you what information is missing. You will have 20 days to provide the missing information. Once the HRTO has your completed response, it will be delivered to the applicant and any other parties. If you do not respond to the HRTO’s request to complete the response, you may be bound by the information in the incomplete form. The HRTO will not consider requests to decide preliminary objections or issues before the complete response is filed. There are the four exceptions to this rule:
If you say the court is already dealing with the same matter
If you say the parties have settled the claim and the applicant signed a release
If you claim the HRTO does not have jurisdiction over the matter because it is under federal jurisdiction.
If you say the applicant made a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission about the same matter before June 30, 2008 - the date when the OHRC stopped receiving complaints under the Code
If you receive notice of the application but do not file a response, you may not be given an opportunity to participate further in the process. You would still be responsible for complying with any orders to pay compensation.
Intervening as an affected party
Affected parties, such as unions, are also given a copy of the application. If you have been given notice as an affected party you can ask to intervene (participate) in the proceeding if you believe your legal rights could be affected by the application.