Human Rights

Smeets Law is a leading Vancouver-based legal firm with extensive experience in Human Rights-related legal matters. In particular, we have intimate, intricate knowledge of the British Columbia Human Rights Code, arguing on clients’ behalf before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal on numerous occasions.

Whether you are filing a human rights complaint or are responding to a human rights complaint, consult with Smeets Law Corporation immediately.

Human Rights law in Canada: complex, jurisdictional

Domestic human rights laws operate in two jurisdictions in Canada. At the federal level, the Canadian Human Rights Act is administered and enforced by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal. At the provincial level, the British Columbia Human Rights Code is administered by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. Legislation is similar in both, although slight variations do exist. As well, the two codes have separate administrative structures. Considered separate but equal, neither level supersedes the other. Depending on the issue or complaint, the appropriate forum for proceeding with a human rights complaint is determined by which level of government regulates the relevant area.

If you are considering filing a human rights complaint or may be required to respond to such a complaint, it is essential that you consult with Smeets Law immediately to determine what is the likely jurisdiction and pertinent legislation in your case.

Smeets Law: Experienced BC Human Rights lawyers

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is an independent, quasi-judicial body created under the B.C. Human Rights Code. Responsible for accepting, screening, mediating, and adjudicating human rights complaints, the Tribunal offers the complainant and respondent parties the opportunity to try to resolve the complaint through mediation. If the parties are not able to resolve the complaint, the Tribunal usually holds a hearing. Smeets Law has represented clients on many occasions throughout both processes.

BC Human Rights hearings

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is made up of experts in human rights law. The Tribunal deals with human rights complaints that arise in B.C., and which are covered by the British Columbia Human Rights Code. Public hearings are usually conducted by one member of the Tribunal. In more complex cases, a panel of three Tribunal Members may hear a complaint. In either case, parties have the opportunity to present their side of the story by providing oral and written evidence, by calling witnesses, and, if required, by presenting expert evidence. Both parties are also provided the opportunity to respond to evidence and to cross-examine witnesses. A hearing before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal should not be taken lightly – consult with Smeets Law immediately.
Lawyers with Smeets Law have advised and represented individuals, employers, and employees with a wide variety of Human Rights-related legal matters, including with the following:

  • Actions and claims for wrongful and constructive dismissal.
  • Assisting employers and employees facing accusations of workplace harassment, sexual discrimination, racial discrimination, and religious discrimination.
  • Defending employers and employees against claims of discrimination and sexual harassment.
  • Assisting employees who are victims of workplace harassment, sexual discrimination, racial discrimination and religious discrimination.
  • Complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the British Columbia Human Rights Code.
  • Devising proactive measures to assist employers in dealing with sexual harassment and equality issues in the workplace.
  • Reviewing complaints of discrimination and harassment in the workplace.