Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination – Complaint Procedures
The following procedures have been established so that complaints of discrimination and harassment can be reported and resolved internally and are intended as an alternate dispute resolution process to more formal legal avenues. These procedures should be read in conjunction with the City of Toronto Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy(HRAP). The goals of the HRAP and the complaint resolution procedures is to a) assist employees and service recipients in exercising their rights where they believe that they have experienced harassment/discrimination and b) to prevent, correct and remedy situations of discrimination or harassment and not to be punitive, although discipline may result.
The Manager’s Guide to Addressing Employee Harassment and Discrimination Complaints & Incidents was prepared to assist management in fulfilling their policy and legislated obligations and provide guidance on all steps required to appropriately address employee issues of discrimination and/or harassment under the HRAP in a fair and timely manner. Management must adhere to the steps identified in the Manager’s Guide when addressing complaints and incidents of harassment and discrimination.
The following procedures apply to incidents and complaints of harassment and/or discrimination brought under the City of Toronto’s HRAP. References to complaints within these procedures may also include incidents of harassment and/or discrimination. Complaints under the HRAP may be brought by employees, recipients of services, users of facilities, those who contract directly with the City, as well as those who occupy accommodations under the jurisdiction of the City of Toronto. The following are exceptions to the City’s jurisdiction to handle complaints under the HRAP:
Other Avenues of Complaint
A complaint under HRAP is one of several complaint avenues available to pursue discrimination or harassment complaints. Other complaint avenues include an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, a complaint to the Ministry of Labour, an application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, a civil suit, a criminal complaint, and a grievance pursuant to the terms of an applicable collective agreement.
The City’s Human Rights Office (HRO) cannot intervene where the same or related events have been pursued using another complaint avenue.
City Council and Local Boards (Restricted Definition)
The HRO has no jurisdiction over acts or procedures (e.g. policy decisions) of Toronto City Council or Local Boards (Restricted Definition).
If you are not an employee of the City and believe that you have experienced harassment and/or discrimination from a Member of Toronto City Council or a Member of a Local Board (Restricted Definition), or if you are a Member of City Council or a Local Board (Restricted Definition) and believe you are experiencing harassment and/or discrimination by another Member, you may consult and/or file a complaint with the City of Toronto’s Office of the Integrity Commissioner. You may contact the office at 416-392-3826 or visit the Integrity Commissioner.
If you are a City of Toronto employee and believe that you have experienced harassment or discrimination from a member of Toronto City Council or a Local Board (Restricted Definition) see section B3 below for the applicable complaint procedures
Agencies and Corporations
The HRO has no jurisdiction over the City’s various Agencies and Corporations, e.g. the Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto Community Housing, Police Services, etc. As per the Toronto Public Service By-Law, Agencies and Corporations are to have internal human rights policies and complaint procedures that meet provincial legislation. Complaints of discrimination and harassment, including access to and use of facilities and occupancy of accommodations under the jurisdiction of Agencies and Corporations must be made directly to them.
If your complaint is within the jurisdiction of the HRAP, you may use our confidential online complaint form to file a complaint.
A – Complaint Procedures
All persons involved with a harassment/discrimination complaint, including complainants, respondents, support persons, witnesses, management, union/association representatives and investigators are expected to treat the matter as confidential. Persons involved with a harassment/discrimination complaint may be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
During an investigation, identifying information about any individuals should not be disclosed unless the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of investigating, taking corrective action or is otherwise required by law. Parties to a complaint must not advise anyone in the workplace or otherwise connected to the workplace and/or service provision about the investigation, any involvement in the investigation and/or the contents of an investigation interview and/or report. Parties are not to ask individuals if they have participated in an investigation process or discuss any details about any investigation interviews.
Employees may be disciplined if confidentiality is breached by communicating with any person other than their union representative, health care practitioner or another legal authority at any time before, during or after an investigation or resolution of a harassment/discrimination complaint. Managers and supervisors are required to keep information as confidential as possible when addressing human rights concerns and are also subject to discipline for breaches of confidentiality.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), complaint details, investigations, and results/reports produced under the HRAP are not considered to be occupational health and safety reports that are shared with joint health and safety committees. Therefore, to protect confidentiality, these documents are not to be shared with joint health and safety committees.
Subject to the requirements of procedural fairness of the investigation/resolution process, the investigator will preserve confidentiality as much as possible, or as legally required or permitted – see below for when exceptions may be made to the disclosure of confidential information. Consult the HRO for additional details regarding confidentiality exceptions.
A2. Confidentiality Exceptions
The HRO is committed to protecting the confidentiality of its consultations, investigations and related records. Where an individual/group who has consulted the HRO or been involved in an HRO complaint engages another legal proceeding related to the subject matter of the HRO consultation/complaint, upon receipt of the legal proceeding documentation (e.g, grievance, WSIB report, etc.) and request from the City’s Legal Services Division and/or Human Resources Division, the HRO will determine whether it is appropriate to:
- Confirm or deny whether it was consulted
- Respond to specific questions regarding the consultation for the purpose of responding to the legal proceeding
- Provide a brief summary of the nature of the consultation
In cases in which an HRTO application is filed by an individual/group who has consulted the HRO on the same and/or related matter, the HRO will, upon receipt of the application and a request from the Legal Services Division, provide a copy of its file to the Legal Services Division. Where the entire contents of a HRO file is required related to any other legal proceeding, the HRO may determine whether consent of the employee involved or an order of the court/tribunal/arbitrator or other adjudicative body is required prior to disclosing its file or providing any information beyond that outlined above.
A3. Complaint/Incident Source:
Complaints about a contravention of the HRAP will be accepted from any source that provides reasonable grounds upon which to initiate an intervention. Complaint/incident sources may include the individual who was the subject of the action complained about, an involved person or group, a witness or other third parties.
All persons who believe that they have experienced or witnessed harassment and/or discrimination should keep detailed notes about the issue(s) and preserve all relevant documentary or electronic records.
Where deemed necessary, complainants will be required to provide a written account of their concerns. Where necessary and appropriate, the HRO may assist in drafting the complaint. The HRO may also initiate a formal complaint if it has information that suggests the existence of an outstanding specific or systemic problem.
A4. Time Limits:
The time limit for the filing complaints under the HRAP is one year from the date of the last incident of alleged discrimination or harassment.
A5. Notification of complaint:
Typically, respondents will be advised that a complaint has been filed as soon as practicable. In certain circumstances, the respondent may not be advised of the complaint. Such circumstances include where the complaint does not warrant exploration, where the complaint is outside the HRAP mandate or where an issue can be resolved through a remedy such as training.
A6. Complaint Records:
Any record of a complaint and all related documentation will be handled confidentially and stored in a secure location separate from employee personnel files. Records of a complaint will only be placed on an employee’s personnel file when they have been found to have engaged in conduct contrary to the HRAP and/or corrective action is taken. This record of discipline is subject to the provisions of any applicable collective agreement.
A7. Range of Resolution Options:
Several options to resolve harassment and discrimination concerns are available for complainants. Informal approaches can foster prompt resolution and prevent escalation; particularly when concerns are raised promptly. These are opportunities for parties to resolve a dispute, ensure the workplace is free from harassment and discrimination and address broader issues that caused or contributed to the dispute.
A7.1. Consultation – Advice & Assistance
Complainants may benefit from having expert information and advice before deciding how to proceed with a discrimination or harassment concern. Complainants can consult management staff, Human Resources Division staff or HRO staff. These staff all have a responsibility to take action to resolve and prevent harassment and discrimination – refer to section 3.0 of the HRAP, Roles and Responsibilities – and can provide advice, assistance, coaching, and referrals to assist complainants in addressing harassment or discrimination themselves. Employees may also consult their union or staff association.
Service or facility users should contact the relevant supervisor or manager as soon as practicable to resolve the issue and may contact the HRO at any time for confidential advice.
A7.2. Talking to the person about their conduct
All complainants must make good faith efforts to attempt to resolve matters themselves before filing a complaint. If a complainant feels they are experiencing harassment or discrimination, the complainant should immediately make known to the person responsible that the conduct is unwelcome or offensive and may be in breach of the HRAP. It is important that this message be clear and unambiguous. When presented with a legitimate breach of the HRAP, all employees, including management staff are expected to make reasonable adjustments to their behaviour to resolve the matter. If addressing the person responsible could lead to safety risks, or is not appropriate, complainants may pursue other resolution options outlined in these procedures.
A7.3. Interventions by other staff
If a complainant is unable to resolve the issue themselves or the discrimination or harassment continues after asking the person to stop, the complainant may request management or the HRO to intervene to facilitate resolution.
Employees should complete a Workplace Harassment/Discrimination complaint form. See A10.4 for details to include. Where an incident/concern/complaint involves the employee’s superior, the employee may raise the concern with that person’s supervisor/manager or to the HRO.
Interventions by divisional management
Where an employee raises an incident or complaint to management, consult The Manager’s Guide to Addressing Employee Harassment and Discrimination Complaints & Incidents. On receipt of the complaint form, managers should notify the complainant within 10 business days whether or not it has been determined that an investigation is required or another dispute resolution option is appropriate, or provide information regarding anticipated next steps.
For all incidents and complaints, including from service or facility users, management will assess the complaint and determine if an investigation is required or other dispute resolution option is appropriate, HRO may be contacted to provide advice to management on resolving the complaint.
Interventions by HRO
HRO staff will determine in consultation with a complainant whether the concern(s) can be referred to division management to allow an opportunity to resolve the matter. HRO staff can advise parties where there are concerns about real or perceived bias, fairness, etc., when management is exploring concerns. Consult the HRO for details.
Intervention options by management or HRO may include:
- A more in-depth examination and/or investigation* of the concerns and allegations; consulting, advising, meeting with and/or interviewing management, the respondent, witnesses, Human Resources staff etc.
- A review of documentary evidence, e.g., email messages
- Where appropriate, an option by parties to participate in mediation or to have a facilitated negotiation to resolve the issues
- A communication in writing to the complainant(s) and respondent(s) advising whether allegations were fully, partially or not substantiated and confirmation where necessary, of corrective actions that will be undertaken to resolve and remedy policy breaches
*The OHSA requires an investigation be conducted into all employee complaints/incidents of non-Code workplace harassment, sexual harassment, gender identity harassment, gender expression harassment and sexual orientation harassment – Refer to the Manager’s Guide.
Where appropriate, the HRO may offer to mediate the complaint at any point before, during or after an investigation. Mediation for workplace harassment complaints can only occur after an investigation has occurred. Participation in mediation is voluntary and either party to the mediation is entitled to have a “support person” (as defined in section A.11 below) attend the mediation. Where the mediator is of the opinion that the presence of the support person selected is inappropriate or that it may or is hindering the mediation process, the mediator will advise the relevant party who shall be entitled to select another support person provided that doing so does not hinder or unduly delay the mediation.
The purpose of the support person is simply to be present to support the complainant or respondent. They are not permitted to participate in any way. As this complaints procedures is a mechanism for alternative dispute resolution, parties are not entitled to select legal counsel to fulfill the role of support person.
All mediation discussions will be held on a confidential, without prejudice basis. Any settlement would have to be satisfactory to both parties, be consistent with the HRAP and approved by senior division management where appropriate. Parties will be required to sign confidential Minutes of Settlement.
Investigations, both informal and formal, conducted by divisional management or the HRO will include a comprehensive and impartial review of all relevant information, (e.g. the respondent’s position/response, witness information, documentary evidence, etc.). The HRO has the authority to explore whether broader issues contributed to the complaint. The investigator has the authority to speak with anyone, examine and copy any documents, records, files and enter any work locations which are relevant to the complaint.
Divisional management: on receipt of a complaint/incident should complete the Management Assessment Form.
A10. Formal Complaints and Investigations
If the informal approaches are not effective or appropriate to resolve a situation, or the complaint is of a serious or systemic nature, a formal complaint and investigation may be necessary.
All formal complaints will be referred to the HRO for mediation and/or investigation.
HRO staff will assess whether a formal complaint is the only appropriate way to address the concern.
Formal complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant using the HRO confidential online complaint form. Where necessary and appropriate, the HRO may assist in drafting the formal complaint.
Where possible the following details should be included in the complaint:
- what happened – a description of the events or situation, particularly specific details of what the respondent said or did that the complainant believes could be considered harassment or discrimination.
- The Human Rights Code (Code) ground if applicable
- When it happened – dates and times of the events of incidents
- Where it happened
- Who saw it happen – the names of witnesses, if any
The responsible division head and Deputy City Manager or City Manager as applicable will be notified of a formal complaint as soon as it is initiated by the HRO.
Respondents to a complaint will be notified as soon as practicable during the investigation process.
The HRO will determine in consultation with others as necessary and on a case-by-case basis, whether the complainant or respondent should be relocated within the division, provided with an alternate reporting relationship, or placed on a paid leave during an investigation.
HRO staff will conduct a thorough, fair investigation, including interviewing the complainant(s), respondent(s) and witnesses, gathering and reviewing documentary evidence, and exploring whether broader issues contributed to the complaint.
At the conclusion of an investigation, the investigator will prepare a written report that includes the allegations, respondent’s position, witness and documentary evidence, factual findings, conclusions and discussion about policy violation(s).
Findings will be provided to the Deputy City Manager or City Manager as applicable, division head, the complainant(s) and respondent(s).
The parties will be given an opportunity to submit comments before a final decision is made to resolve the complaint.
The HRO will make recommendations to correct any existing problems and/or to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.
Final decisions regarding corrective actions/the disposition of a complaint will be made by the responsible Deputy City Manager or City Manager as applicable and communicated in writing to the parties and division head.
A11. Support Person
Complainants and respondents have the right to be accompanied by a support person of their choice during meetings regarding a complaint under the HRAP. Where the investigator is of the opinion that the presence of the support person selected is inappropriate or that it may or is hindering the process, the investigator will advise the relevant party who shall be entitled to select another support person provided that doing so does not hinder or unduly delay the meeting/process.
The purpose of the support person is simply to be present to support the complainant or respondent. They are not permitted to participate in any way. As this complaints procedure is a mechanism for alternative dispute resolution, parties are not entitled to select legal counsel to fulfill the role of support person.
Witnesses are not entitled to bring a support person to meetings. However, if a witness offers details/evidence that may implicate them as a respondent or if others implicate the witness as a potential respondent prior to the meeting, the witness will be informed of their right to a support person and the meeting will be re-scheduled if a support person is requested, but not available.
A12. Time for Completion of Investigation/Mediation
Investigations under the HRAP should be completed within 90 days of the investigation initiation. The investigation will be initiated once management has assessed the complaint and communicated the assessment and next steps to the complainant. Parties will be advised in writing prior to the 90 day period if a delay is anticipated. Completion of investigations should not exceed 6 months unless there are extenuating circumstances.
The HRAP strictly prohibits any retaliation, either direct or indirect, against an individual for: exercising their rights under the HRAP, initiating a complaint in good faith, investigating a complaint, being a decision maker in a complaint, participating as a witness in an investigation, being a respondent to a complaint, having been associated with, or representing a complainant, witness or respondent. Appropriate discipline for a policy violation (or other workplace misconduct) is not considered a reprisal.
A14. Disciplinary Action
Any employee who engages in discrimination or harassment, reprisals, or breaches confidentiality before, during, or after an investigation or resolution may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Staff who are in a supervisory position and fail to take action when they become aware of or are advised of alleged discrimination and/or harassment may also be subject to disciplinary action. Disciplinary action may also be taken if a complaint is found to be vexatious, made in bad faith and/or an abuse of process. Consequences for policy violations may include but are not limited to: an apology, counselling, education and training, a verbal or written reprimand, suspension with or without pay, a transfer or termination of employment. In determining appropriate consequences, factors including, but not limited to, the following will be taken into account: the nature of the violation, the severity, whether the individual has previously violated the HRAP and/or whether there is relevant discipline on file.
A15. “Non-Code” Workplace Harassment (Employees only)
Division management are responsible for intervening and addressing concerns/complaints of non-Code workplace harassment and incivility – where such complaints do not engage additional Code prohibited grounds. Managers should contact Employee & Labour Relations and HRO for assistance. The HRO will only accept complaints from employees of non-Code workplace harassment where there is evidence that division management has failed to meet policy obligations. Employees should raise their workplace harassment concerns to their superior. If the concern/complaint involves the employee’s superior, the employee may raise the concern with that person’s superior. HRO staff can advise parties where there are concerns about real or perceived conflict, fairness, etc., in exploring concerns. Consult the HRO for details.
A16. Refusal to Intervene
The HRO has discretion to refuse to intervene or investigate or may discontinue an intervention or investigation where:
a complaint is made anonymously without sufficient detail to trigger policy obligations
the complaint is outside the time limit
the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith/an abuse of process; or having regard to all the circumstances further investigation of the matter (or intervention) is unnecessary.
Trivial complaints involve allegations that are of such a minor nature that proceeding with an intervention is not in the public interest. A frivolous complaint contains allegations that, even if true, are not a breach of the HRAP. A complaint is vexatious when the complaint has been the subject of a decision by an alternate complaint process that considered the human rights allegations, a reasonable offer to remedy the complaint was rejected by the complainant and/or the complaint was filed to annoy, embarrass or harass the respondent or is otherwise improperly motivated. Complaints are an abuse of process/made in bad faith in circumstances that include when an adequate remedy already exists or the complainant is engaging in improper action – fraud, deception, intentional misrepresentation or the complaint is filed out of malice, hostility, personal animosity or vindictiveness
As this complaints procedure is a mechanism for alternative dispute resolution, a mediation or investigation may be terminated if either party to the complaint retains legal counsel and/or engages another complaint forum
Residents and service recipients may be required to exhaust any other avenues of complaint/appeal which are reasonably available prior to making a complaint under this policy
Complaints of harassment and/or discrimination related to contracted services may be made to the contractor and/or division responsible for the contracted service. All City contracted service providers are required to have internal harassment and/or discrimination dispute resolution processes, consistent with the City’s process and mandated by provincial legislation. Consult the HRO for advice/assistance where necessary
A17. Complaints with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)
Applications filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario will be referred to the City Solicitor and the HRO. Legal Services Division has responsibility for responding to HRTO applications. Contact the Legal Services Division immediately upon receiving any correspondence from the HRTO.
A18. Complaints with the Ministry of Labour (MOL)
Staff must immediately contact the City’s Legal Services Division and other City employees involved in responding to MOL complaints/visits/orders, upon becoming aware of a complaint to the MOL, the attendance of an MOL employee or upon receipt of an MOL order.
Where the complaint, visit or order is related to workplace harassment and/or sexual harassment, staff must also consult the HRO.
A19. External Consultant
Investigations of complaints in section A are typically conducted by the HRO or divisional management. However, in exceptional cases (e.g., significant systemic or ongoing human rights issues that have not been appropriately remedied by internal interventions), the City Manager may decide or the HRO or the Legal Services Division may recommend to the division head, Deputy City Manager or City Manager that an investigation that would otherwise be conducted by divisional management or the HRO should be referred to an external consultant for investigation. In such cases, the HTO and/or Legal Services Division shall be involved in retaining the external consultant and determining the authority and duties of the external consultant. The scope of the external consultant’s duties shall be outlined in the agreement. To the extent possible, the external consultant shall adhere to these Procedures and perform the role that is contemplated for the HRO within these Procedures, with necessary modifications.
B – Procedures for Incidents/Complaints Involving Senior Management, Accountability Officers, and Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division Staff
Qualified external consultants may be retained to resolve complaints of discrimination and/or harassment under the circumstances described below. External consultants will follow Part A (complaints procedures) in all cases except where exceptions are identified in this part.
B1. Complaints Involving Senior Management – Deputy City Managers and Division Heads
A complaint filed with the HRO by or about the direct personal behaviour of a Deputy City Manager or Division Head should be in writing, signed by the complainant. Where necessary and appropriate, the HRO may assist in drafting the complaint.
B1.1. Complaint Assessment
The HRO will notify the City Manager or Deputy City Manager as appropriate of the complaint. The HRO will assess the merits of the complaint in consultation with the City Manager or Deputy City Manager and/or Legal Services staff to determine whether to retain an external consultant. Where it is determined that the complaint warrants further investigation, the HRO in consultation with others as necessary, will retain a qualified external consultant and determine the scope of and manage the contract of the consultant.
B1.2. Notification of Complaint
The external consultant shall notify the persons named in the complaint of the specific allegations against them as soon as possible thereafter.
B1.3. Authority and Duties of the External Consultant
The scope of the external consultant’s authority to investigate and/or attempt to settle the complaint, to speak with anyone, examine any documents and enter any work location relevant to the complaint for the purposes of investigation or settlement will be set out in the terms of the contract in accordance with City Policies. Unless otherwise stated in the agreement with the external consultant or dictated by the circumstance, the external consultant shall perform the duties contemplated for the HRO with respect to complaints under Part A above
B1.4. Interim Reports and Discontinuance of Complaint
The external consultant may make interim reports to the City Manager or Deputy City Manager as required, to address instances of interference, obstruction, retaliation, or breaches of confidentiality encountered by the external consultant while dealing with a complaint under the HRAP. Upon receipt of the complaint, or at any point during the investigation/mediation, the external consultant may submit a report to the City Manager or the Deputy City Manager making a recommendation to stop dealing with a complaint where: the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith or an abuse of process; or, having regard to all the circumstances, further investigation of the matter is unnecessary. The City Manager or Deputy City Manager may approve or reject the recommendation after considering submissions from the parties to the complaint.
B1.5. Other Avenues of Redress
The City Manager or the Deputy City Manager may decide to postpone, suspend or cancel any investigation into a complaint under the HRAP if it is believed that the investigation would duplicate or prejudice another avenue of complaint (see “jurisdiction” section above).
B1.6. External Consultant’s Findings
The City Manager or the Deputy City Manager shall be presented a report outlining the findings, conclusions, recommended corrective action, or terms of settlement, within 90 days of the making of the complaint. The City Manager or the Deputy City Manager may grant an extension of time upon the request of the external consultant.
The complainant and respondent will be given 30 days to review and comment on the external consultant’s findings. Unless directed otherwise, parties shall provide their comments to the City Manager or the Deputy City Manager responsible for the complaint.
B1.7. Final Decision
Final decisions about complaints involving Division Heads will be made by the City Manager or the Deputy City Manager in consultation with others, (e.g., appropriate Deputy City Managers, the HRO, Legal Services Division staff, the Executive Director of Human Resources, etc.), as necessary. Where appropriate, the City Manager or the Deputy City Manager will make recommendations to City Council for final decisions (eg., where required for Deputy City Managers). The City Manager or the Deputy City Manager will review the final report and any comments received before making any decision on the matter. The City Manager or Deputy City Manager, in consultation with the Legal Services Division may approve, change or reject any proposed terms of settlement or recommended corrective action. For final decisions about complaints involving Deputy City Managers, the City Manager will make recommendations to City Council and/or undertake other action to resolve the complaint, as appropriate.
B2. Complaints involving the City Manager, City Clerk and City Solicitor (Retaining External Consultants)
A complaint to the HRO or Integrity Commissioner by or about the direct personal behaviour of the City Manager, City Clerk or City Solicitor should be in writing signed by the complainant. Where necessary and appropriate, the HRO may assist in drafting the complaint.
B2.1. Complaint Assessment
Complaints received by the HRO will be forwarded to the Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner will assess the merits of the complaint in consultation with internal/external expertise as necessary, to determine whether the allegations are trivial, vexatious, frivolous, made in bad faith, or an abuse of process. Where it is determined that the complaint warrants further investigation, the HRO will assist the Integrity Commissioner to: 1) retain an external consultant and 2) determine the scope of and manage the contract of the consultant.
B2.2. Notification of Complaint
The external consultant shall notify the persons named in the complaint of the specific allegations against them as soon as possible thereafter.
B2.3. Authority and Duties of the External Consultant
The scope of the external consultant’s authority to investigate and/or attempt to settle the complaint, to speak with anyone, examine any documents and enter any work location relevant to the complaint for the purposes of investigation or settlement will be set out in the terms of the contract in accordance with City Policies. Unless otherwise stated in the agreement with the external consultant or dictated by circumstance, the external consultant shall perform the duties contemplated for the HRO with respect to complaints under Part A above.
B2.4. Interim Reports and Discontinuance of Complaint
The external consultant may make interim reports to the Integrity Commissioner as required, to address instances of interference, obstruction, retaliation, or breaches of confidentiality encountered by the external consultant while dealing with a complaint under the HRAP. Upon receipt of the complaint, or at any point during the investigation/mediation, the external consultant may submit a report to the Integrity Commissioner making a recommendation to stop dealing with a complaint where: the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith or an abuse of process; or, having regard to all the circumstances, further investigation of the matter is unnecessary. The Integrity Commissioner in consultation with internal/external expertise as necessary, may approve or reject the recommendation after considering submissions from the parties to the complaint.
B2.5. Other Avenues of Redress
The Integrity Commissioner may decide to postpone, suspend or cancel any investigation into a complaint under the HRAP if it is believed that the investigation would duplicate or prejudice another avenue of complaint (see “jurisdiction” section above).
B2.6. External Consultant’s Findings
The Integrity Commissioner shall be presented a final report outlining the findings, conclusions, recommended corrective action, or terms of settlement, within 90 days of the making of the complaint. The Integrity Commissioner may grant an extension of time upon the request of the external consultant.
The complainant and respondent will be given 30 days to review and comment on the external consultant’s findings. Unless directed otherwise, parties shall provide their comments to the Integrity Commissioner.
B2.7. Final Decision
The Integrity Commissioner will provide the consultant’s report to City Council for action, where required. Where an investigation results in no findings or where the Integrity Commissioner accepts a recommendation from the consultant to discontinue the investigation, the Integrity Commissioner may, in consultation with internal/external expertise as necessary, exercise discretion to determine whether to provide a report to City Council. Final decisions about complaints involving the City Manager, City Clerk or City Solicitor will be made by Toronto City Council and communicated to the parties in writing by the external consultant.
B3. Employee Complaints involving a Member of Council or Local Board (Restricted Definition)
To enable the City to comply with its legal obligations related to complaints by employees, employees who believe that they have experienced harassment and/or discrimination by a Member of Council or Member of a Local Board (Restricted Definition) should raise their concerns with division management or the HRO directly. An individual who seeks another or informal mechanism (including directly to the Integrity Commissioner) to raise such concerns may prevent the City from taking any action under this policy.
B3.1. Complaint Assessment
Division management and/or the HRO will assess the merits of the complaint to determine whether the division or other appropriate person should request the Integrity Commissioner to investigate the complaint in accordance with the Integrity Commissioner’s procedures.
B3.2. Complaint Source
Where requests are made to the Integrity Commissioner, the manager involved or the HRO shall be the complainant for the purposes of the Integrity Commissioner’s procedures.
B3.3. Investigation Findings
Where the Integrity Commissioner conducts an investigation, the Integrity Commissioner will provide results to the complainant in accordance with the Integrity Commissioner’s procedures. Based on the Integrity Commissioner’s reporting, division management will provide the complainant with a summary of the findings.
B4. Complaints involving an Accountability Officer (Retaining External Consultants)
Complaints by or about the direct personal behaviour of an Accountability Officer should be addressed to the City Clerk. Such complaints should be in writing, signed by the complainant. Where necessary and appropriate, the HRO may assist in drafting the complaint.
The City Clerk, in consultation with other City Officials as required, will follow a similar process to what is outlined in Section B2, with modifications as appropriate. Where necessary, an external consultant will be retained to investigate complaints/incidents. The City Clerk will transmit the findings of the external consultant to City Council, for final decision making on such matters, where required.
B5. Complaints Involving Staff in the Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division (EDHR)
Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment made by or regarding the direct personal behaviour of staff in EDHR division should be raised to the appropriate manager within EDHR. If not appropriate, complaints should be raised to the Director of EDHR for resolution. If the complaint involves the Director of EDHR, the complaint may be raised to the City Manager.
If an investigation is required, a qualified external consultant may be retained as appropriate in the circumstances and with the discretion of the Director of EDHR and/or the City Manager. External consultant contracts for investigations or mediations under this section will be administered consistent with section B1 above with necessary modifications. For instance, final decisions about the complaint will be made by the City Manager or the Director of EDHR, where appropriate.
B6. Conflict with HRO staff
An external consultant may be considered where there is a potential conflict between the HRO’s staff and the parties involved in the complaint.
The decision on whether to refer a complaint to an external consultant or another appropriate party will be within the sole discretion of the Director of EDHR in consultation with others as necessary or the City Manager where the potential conflict affects the Director of EDHR.
Where a complaint under B6 is referred to an external consultant, the scope and authority of the external consultant will be determined by the Director of EDHR or the City Manager. Paragraphs B1.4, B1.5 and B1.6 (above) will apply with necessary modifications. For instance, the Director of EDHR may play the roles contemplated for the City Manager or Deputy City Manager in those paragraphs.
Final decisions will be made by the affected division head in consultation with the Director of EDHR and others as appropriate. The affected division is responsible for paying all fees related to the external consultant’s investigation or mediation.
B7. Legal Representation and Costs (Employees only)
Parties to a complaint against senior management (division head, Deputy City Manager, City Manager, City Clerk or City Solicitor) or an Accountability Officer have the right to receive advice/consult a representative of their choice, including legal counsel, unless they are subject to a collective agreement that provides for union/association representation.
The related legal costs incurred by a respondent under paragraph B7.1 will be reimbursed up to $6,500.00 in all cases in which the external consultant concludes that there has been no violation of the HRAP.
The related legal costs incurred by a complainant under paragraph B7.1 will be reimbursed up to $6,500.00 in all cases except where the complaint is found to be trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith/an abuse of process.
Where there is a settlement (including a mediated agreement), reimbursement subject to the limit outlined above may be provided at the discretion of the City Manager.
A/Director, Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division
June 23, 2008
June 26, 2017
June 21, 2018