In British Columbia, all of us have rights and duties under the BC Human Rights Code regarding discrimination.  Discrimination refers to bad treatment based on a protected characteristic.

A person discriminates under the BC Human Rights Code if they treat someone badly or cause them harm in the areas of employment, tenancy, services (stores and schools), buying a house, as a union member or in a publication.  There is a separate area for retaliation if someone causes additional or separate harm after a person files a BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint.

The bad treatment or harm must arise from a protected personal characteristic such as age, gender, ancestry, religion, political beliefs, disability, source of income, family status or sexual orientation.

Even if it was unintentional, if there is no defence for the conduct and it causes harm, it will give rise to a Human Right Tribunal complaint and could result in a monetary award to compensate for a person’s losses, including injury to dignity, lost wages, costs of a hearing and any other out of pocket expenses as a result of the harm.

For example, prohibiting a person from entering a store or boarding a bus with a baby stroller is a basis for a BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint.

Other examples include a tenant with respiratory conditions due to un-remediated mold in their rental suite and a suite owner with mobility issues having been denied approval by the strata to install a stairs tram lift.  Both of these matters would have a basis to establish a BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint.  There are many more examples under each protected characteristic and area of treatment or harm.

A lawyer can assist you in the complaint process, including: advising you as to your rights and the potential value of your losses, filing the complaint, compiling evidence and preparing for and attending the hearing.

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