Practice Direction on Naming Respondents

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 its approach to naming respondents where appropriate.

Deciding Who to Name as a Respondent

In section 3 of the Application form, you are asked to provide the name and contact information for each respondent. When you name a respondent, you are identifying the organization and/or individual you believe is legally responsible for the discrimination you experienced. Each organization or person named as a respondent will receive the application and is entitled to file a response and participate in the proceeding.

Naming unnecessary respondents increases the complexity of the case and may delay its resolution. To avoid this, you may want to get legal advice. The Human Rights Legal Support Centre offers legal services to individuals who have experienced discrimination contrary to Ontario's Human Rights Code. Contact information for the HRLSC is provided below.

Naming employees of the organization respondent

If there is an organization respondent, it usually is not necessary to name any individual employees who were acting in the regular course of their employment or duties as respondents: Human Rights Code, s.46.3. For example, if you are naming your employer as a respondent, it usually is not necessary to name your manager as a respondent.

Rule 1.7(b) gives the HRTO the power to remove a party. The HRTO regularly grants requests to remove individual respondents where there is an organization respondent in a position to respond to the allegations. The decisions in Wallwork v Toyota Manufacturing Inc., 2013 HRTO 982 and Chevalier v. A.P. Plasman Inc., 2013 HRTO 1030, describe and apply the HRTO's approach to these requests.

There are exceptions. For example:

Naming a union or employee association as a respondent

The refusal or failure of a union or association to pursue a human rights issue, such as accommodation of a disability in the workplace, is not, in and of itself, a breach of the Code. There may be many reasons that have no discriminatory overtones why a union might choose not to pursue a human rights claim on behalf of an employee. There must be a claim, and a factual foundation for the claim, that the failure to act was based on discriminatory factors. See Traversy v. Mississauga Professional Firefighters' Association, 2009 HRTO 996.

Information about Respondents

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

Government Respondents

a) Ontario government ministry or agency

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

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario, as represented by the Ministry of (name of the Ministry)

If your claim is against an Ontario government agency, board or commission (for example the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario or the Ontario Clean Water Agency), use the agency's correct legal name.

b) Federal government or federally regulated work or undertaking

The Human Rights Code is an Ontario law and applies only to situations and events that have a connection with Ontario or come within Ontario's jurisdiction.

The HRTO cannot hear applications about organizations that are properly within the jurisdiction of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). These include:

The following types of enterprises may come within the jurisdiction of the CHRC rather than the HRTO if their activities extend beyond the borders of Ontario:

Deciding whether to go to the CHRC or the HRTO can be complicated. It depends on the nature of the activity, not where the organization is incorporated. If your situation is unclear, you may want to get legal advice before applying.

For information about the federal human rights system, contact:

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

If you need assistance to determine who to name as a respondent, consult the Human Rights Legal Support Centre's guide to preparing and filing an application, available at, or contact the HRLSC at:

Tel: (416) 597-4900
Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179
TTY: (416) 597-4903
TTY Toll Free: 1-866 612-8627

Effective as of April 2014