The text below provides valuable insights into the Human Rights Tribunal processes, greatly advancing my understanding of its complexities. Although I discovered this resource relatively late in my personal journey, its clear explanations in simple language left no room for confusion.
Upon further review, it became evident that the Toxic Adult Bullies flagrantly disregarded the tribunal’s guidelines, which would lead to the rejection of their applications. The HRTO’s Interim Decision in March 2019 further exposed their deliberate dishonesty and lack of supporting evidence – an undeniable truth they conveniently chose to ignore.
Due to their ongoing refusal to cooperate and provide access, these individuals faced eviction from the property by the Landlord and Tenant Board – a ruling that was subsequently upheld by the Appeal at Divisional Court in April 2019. It is essential to highlight that their claims of discrimination or mistreatment based on race, as propagated through their applications and online platforms, were nothing more than fabrications consciously crafted to divert attention from their own unsavoury actions
The truth is, the Toxic Adult Bullies had no choice but to vacate. However, rather than moving on, their lingering bitterness has driven them to engage in a vindictive and malicious online Smear Campaign aimed at tarnishing my life as they perceive theirs to be ruined. This behaviour not only exposes their immaturity but also reveals their deep-seated desire for revenge.
While the Landlord and Tenant Board found no evidence of harassment or bullying targeted at the building staff, it is important to acknowledge the potential for another agency to arrive at a different conclusion. The Divisional Court decision event stated they see no racism.
As I continue on the path of self-growth, I take immense pride in the person I am becoming. I adamantly refuse to tolerate such disrespectful behaviour any longer. I will confidently advocate for myself and confront any injustices, including this orchestrated Smear Campaign by the Toxic Adult Bullies against me. After all, do I not have the right to do so?
This means that, in many cases, discrimination can only be proved by drawing inferences and conclusions from the circumstances surrounding an instance of negative or unfair treatment.
To prove discrimination, you must be able to show at your hearing that it is more likely than not that, in all of the circumstances, discrimination was a factor in the events or actions that gave rise to your application.
In understanding how to prove discrimination, a good place to start is with the legal definition of discrimination. Not all unfair or negative conduct is discrimination within the meaning of the Code. The Tribunal does not have the power to hear cases that involve general claims of unfairness not tied to Code discrimination.
What is the test for proving discrimination?
To prove discrimination, you must show that there is a connection (also referred to as the nexus or the link) between negative treatment that you experienced and one of the personal characteristics (or prohibited grounds of discrimination) listed in the the Code.
Put another way, to prove discrimination, you need to show at your hearing that you were subjected to negative treatment because of your gender, place of origin, family status or any one of the Code-protected personal characteristics. Even if the discriminatory ground (e.g. your race) is only part of the reason (as opposed to the only reason) for the negative treatment, that is enough to prove discrimination under the Code.
Answering the following questions can help you determine if you have experienced discrimination that can be proved in a hearing before the Tribunal. To make this clearer, we have used the example of disability but the same questions can be asked in relation to any of the personal characteristics listed in the Code.
- Do you have a personal characteristic (such as a disability) that is listed as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Code?
- Were you treated differently than others?
- Or, if you were treated the same way as others, did this put you in a different position or have a different impact on you because of your disability?
- Did this have a negative impact on you? (or put you at a disadvantage compared to others?)
- Is there evidence to show a link between the negative treatment or the negative impact that you experienced and your disability?
In many discrimination cases, there is no dispute about questions 1 to 4 above. The last question is often the most difficult factual issue for the Tribunal to determine: were you treated negatively because of your disability (or any other personal characteristic that is a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Code).
Before you file a discrimination claim, you should consider whether the Tribunal will be able to answer these five questions in your favour. This Information Sheet will help you understand some issues that could arise in answering the questions.
Is the negative treatment connected to a protected characteristic under the Code?
An applicant may be treated negatively for reasons unconnected to a Code-protected personal characteristic. As discussed above, a key consideration in a Tribunal hearing is whether there is a connection between an applicant’s protected characteristic under the Code and negative treatment that they have experienced.
For example, if an employee who identifies as Arab-Canadian is terminated from her employment, she will be able to show at a hearing that she is a person with a personal characteristic (her race) that is listed in the Code as a prohibited ground of discrimination. This fact will likely be undisputed at the hearing, which means that the employer is unlikely to take a position that the employee is not a racialized person. And if she is the only employee who is fired at that time, she will be able to prove that she was treated differently from other employees and that the impact (ie unemployment) was negative.
However, this will not be enough to prove discrimination at the hearing. The applicant must bring factual evidence to the hearing to demonstrate the connection between her race and the termination. This would include her own testimony at the hearing about how she was treated as an employee.
Is it always discrimination if I am treated differently because of a Code-protected personal characteristic?
Not all differences in treatment are negative and not all negative treatment is discriminatory. Sometimes the person alleged to have discriminated (usually an employer, landlord or business) will question whether the applicant was really harmed by being treated differently. To find discrimination, the Tribunal has to decide whether the conduct or treatment was truly negative in its impact.
Even when a person is treated differently, the Tribunal can find that the different treatment did not have a negative impact on the person of a kind that would amount to discrimination under the Code.
An example might be a situation where an employed Canadian-born white man is not allowed to register in a community program designed to help racialized immigrant women who are isolated at home. In this case, the man is treated differently, because of his gender, race and place of origin, than a woman who qualifies for the program. However, the difference in treatment would not be found to be discriminatory. The man is not really harmed by not being allowed into a program that is designed to help individuals who are at a disadvantage by virtue of their recent immigrant status, gender and race. Simply put, the Code is designed to help disadvantaged individuals and groups, not those who enjoy a relative advantage.
The term “substantive discrimination” was developed by human rights tribunals and the courts to describe negative treatment that impacts on individuals who are already disadvantaged. The Code does not aim to eliminate all differences in treatment. The purpose of the Code is to address differences or distinctions that have the effect of perpetuating disadvantage or promoting negative stereotypes about individuals who have a protected personal characteristic under the Code.
What is evidence?
In deciding a case, the Tribunal relies on the evidence presented by both sides at the hearing. The Tribunal weighs the evidence in making its findings of fact, considering its reliability and whether it is useful and relevant to the issues in dispute.
Fact finding is a very important part of the Tribunal’s job. Most cases are decided based on the facts. Each case is different and, while other previous cases may be similar, the facts of a particular case are often what drive the Tribunal’s conclusion about whether discrimination is proved or not.
Facts are proved by evidence. Evidence comes in two main forms – oral and documentary evidence. Simply put, oral evidence is what the applicant, the respondent and the witnesses say under oath at a Tribunal hearing – referred to as “testimony”. Documentary evidence includes written records as well as photographic, electronic or physical evidence. Examples would be letters, e-mails, minutes of meetings, etc. The Tribunal will only allow the parties to introduce evidence at the hearing if it is relevant to the issues to be decided.
See the HRLSC’s Information Sheet on Disclosure and the Applicant’s Guide to Preparing for a Hearing for a fuller discussion of how to identify and prepare your evidence for your hearing. You will find examples of what evidence will be useful for you in preparing for a hearing.
What if there is no evidence that directly proves discrimination? What is circumstantial evidence?
An applicant cannot always rely on testimony or written documents that directly demonstrate that their race, for example, or another personal characteristic in the Code, was one of the reasons why they were treated negatively. The evidence in discrimination cases is often indirect evidence. This is also called “circumstantial” evidence. Cases that rely on circumstantial evidence are more difficult for the Tribunal to decide
Circumstantial evidence requires some reasoning in order to prove a fact. Circumstantial evidence often relates to a series of facts or events that together may prove that discrimination was a factor in the negative treatment at issue. An applicant relying on circumstantial evidence will argue that discrimination is proven by the evidence as a whole, including related proven facts or events that, taken together, make it reasonable to conclude or “infer” that discrimination was at play.
The Tribunal must decide what conclusions or inferences can be drawn from the facts that are proved by the oral and documentary evidence at the hearing. The Tribunal will consider if it is reasonable to conclude from its factual findings as a whole that the applicant experienced discrimination.
In making its decision on the case, the Tribunal considers the evidence brought forward at the hearing by both sides, the applicant and the respondent. In most cases, the respondent will present witnesses and documentary evidence to prove an alternative non-discriminatory explanation for the negative treatment. As an applicant, you must present enough evidence at the hearing to support the Tribunal in finding that it is more probable than not that you were treated badly because of a Code-protected personal characteristic. In preparing your case, you need to consider all the available facts and circumstances that point to discrimination.
The ultimate issue to be decided by the Tribunal is whether the evidence as a whole makes it more likely than not that the applicant was treated negatively because of a Code-protected personal characteristic.
How do I know if the Tribunal will find my witnesses credible? What is reliable evidence?
The oral and documentary evidence presented at a hearing is assessed and weighed by the Tribunal with regard to both its credibility and its reliability. The Tribunal assesses the sincerity of testimony as well as the witness’s ability to accurately observe, recall and recount the events at issue. In making its decision, the Tribunal will not rely on the evidence of a witness who is not believable or credible. But even where a witness is credible and sincere, their evidence may be unreliable if, for example, their memory is impaired or they were not in a position to closely observe the events at issue.
Findings about the credibility and reliability of evidence are a major element in many discriminations cases, especially when there is conflicting evidence before the Tribunal about whether or how an action or event occurred.
In determining issues of credibility and reliability, the Tribunal often cites the following excerpt from Faryna v. Chorny, (1952) 2 D.L.R. 354 (B.C.C.A.) at pages 356-357:
“Opportunities for knowledge, powers of observation, judgment and memory, ability to describe clearly what he has seen and heard, as well as other factors, combine to produce what is called credibility….
The credibility of interested witnesses, particularly in cases of conflict of evidence cannot be gauged solely by the test of whether the personal demeanour of the particular witness carried conviction of the truth. The test must reasonably subject his story to an examination of its consistency with the probabilities that surround the currently existing conditions. In short, the real test of the truth of the story of the witness in such a case must be its harmony with the preponderance of the probabilities which a practical and informed person would readily recognize as reasonable in that place and in those conditions…Again a witness may testify to what he sincerely believes to be true, but he may be quite honestly mistaken.”
See Lugonia v. Arista Homes, 2014 HRTO 1531 for a recent Tribunal decision making reference to Faryna v. Chorny.
What if the evidence about the reasons for a respondent’s actions is in the respondent’s possession?
Respondents are uniquely positioned to know why they acted as they did, for example, in firing an employee or changing conditions of work. As discussed above, the respondent’s evidence will be used by the Tribunal in determining what happened and why.
The Tribunal’s rules allow applicants to request documentary evidence in the respondent’s possession before the hearing. This is an important part of preparing for your hearing.
Does the protected characteristic under the Code have to be the only factor in an allegedly discriminatory act?
No. An applicant does not need to prove that discrimination was the sole, or even the primary, factor in the negative treatment that gave rise to the application. It is enough if one of the reasons for the treatment was discriminatory.
Where there are a number of reasons for negative treatment, your discrimination claim will be accepted by the Tribunal if you can show through your evidence at the hearing that a Code-protected personal characteristic was one of the factors in the negative treatment.
Do I have to prove the intent to discriminate?
No. You do not have to prove that the respondent consciously intended to discriminate against you. An intent or motive to discriminate is not a necessary element in proving discrimination. The focus of the Tribunal’s enquiry is on whether the respondent’s actions had a negative effect on you.
There is one type of Code breach that does involve proving the intention of the respondent. Section 8 of the Code prohibits “reprisal” against an individual for claiming or enforcing rights under the Code. This means an applicant must establish that a respondent engaged in an action which was intended as retaliation for claiming or enforcing a Code right.
What level of proof do I need to meet?
An applicant at the Tribunal bears the burden of proving that discrimination occurred. This means you must be able to prove that it is more likely than not that the protected personal characteristic was a factor in the negative treatment that you experienced. This is called the “standard of proof”. In civil cases, including Tribunal cases, this means that you must prove your case on a balance of probabilities. This is sometimes described as “50% plus 1” probability. This is in contrast to criminal cases, where the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
The Tribunal will examine the relevant evidence presented at the hearing by the applicant and the respondent to determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Code occurred. Both the applicant and the respondent bear responsibility to bring forward evidence at the hearing to prove their position.
The applicant bears the initial burden of establishing a basis for a finding of discrimination. This is sometimes called a “prima facie” case. This means that an applicant at a hearing must produce their evidence first and must produce enough evidence which, if believed, would support a finding of discrimination. If the applicant does this, then the respondent must present evidence to disprove or “rebut” the applicant’s evidence. The respondent will bring evidence to the hearing to show its action were not discriminatory (or to establish a statutory defense under the Code which justifies the discrimination – discussed below).
An example is helpful. If your application alleges that disability was a factor in the termination of your employment, there are three initial components of your claim that need to be proved:
- That you have a disability;
- That you were fired, and other employees were not fired (i.e. negative differential treatment); and
- That your disability was at least one of the reasons why you were fired.
With respect to the question of why you were fired, what you need is evidence of a connection between the termination and your disability. Disability must be a factor in the termination of your employment. Establishing that you have been terminated and that you are disabled may not be enough to make out your initial or “prima facie” case. If that was enough, then every person with a disability who loses their job would be able to “prove” discrimination, even if the employer terminated the employment of all employees in the same position, included employees without disabilities.
In order to make out a case of discrimination, the applicant’s evidence must establish a foundation upon which the Tribunal could find that the applicant was negatively treated because of the prohibited ground under the Code (e.g. disability). If an applicant is only able to prove #1) and #2) above, then the applicant has not made out an initial case and the Tribunal may dismiss the application.
Step 2: Preparing Your Evidence
The only information that the Tribunal can use to decide your case is the information that is introduced as evidence by the parties during the hearing. The information in your application and other documents is not itself evidence but must be repeated at the hearing. This means that it is very important for you to plan the evidence that you will submit at your hearing.
What is evidence?
The Tribunal will accept many sorts of things as evidence in your case. Here are some examples of the different kinds of evidence:
- Oral Testimony: The applicant and the respondent and witnesses can tell the adjudicator about the facts and situations at issue in the application. This is called testifying. As the applicant, you can testify yourself and you can bring other people to testify at your hearing about events directly related to the discrimination. A person who testifies for a party is called a witness. You can ask questions of your own witnesses and you can question the witnesses presented by the other side.
- Documents: In addition to oral testimony, witnesses can also submit written evidence at their hearing, provided that it is disclosed in advance of the hearing, as discussed below. For example, if your application is about discriminatory conduct at work, and you received a letter from your employer discussing that conduct, you can ask the Tribunal adjudicator at your hearing to consider the letter as evidence, provided that when you testify, you can identify the letter as one that you received from the employer.
- Other Documents (e.g., pay stubs, bills, leases, e-mails and contracts) can be submitted as evidence at your hearing. Note: Any documents must be disclosed well in advance of the hearing. This is covered in Rules 16 and 17 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure, discussed further below.
- Other Materials: Sometimes you might want to submit things like photographs or audio recordings as evidence at your hearing. The person who made the photo or recording must provide evidence about when and how it was created.
- Affidavits or Other Statements: In other circumstances, particularly if a witness is not available for the hearing, you might ask the adjudicator to consider a written statement made under oath or solemn affirmation called an affidavit. However, oral testimony from a witness is always considered the most reliable evidence and is given the most consideration or weight by the adjudicator. So if there is someone with important evidence in your case, it is much better to have the person attend the hearing as a witness. You should use written statements as a last resort only.
- Expert Evidence: You can also have an expert witness give evidence at your hearing. For example, a medical specialist might be an expert witness in a case about disability issues. There are special requirements about who can be considered an expert. Expert evidence may be given in an affidavit, or a written report, but the Tribunal will usually require oral testimony from the expert as well.
For information on how and when you must file evidence with the Tribunal or disclose evidence to other parties, please see the section below called Step 3: Disclosing Your Evidence: Relevant Documents and Witnesses.
How do I decide what evidence to disclose?
The Tribunal wants to hear evidence that is relevant to the events at issue. This means evidence that relates to the issues in your Application, the Response and the Reply. You want to provide the Tribunal with evidence that can prove the discrimination and its impact on you.
In order to understand what evidence is relevant, keep in mind that, at your hearing, you will need to prove that:
- the respondent(s) treated you differently or in a way that had a negative impact on you because of, or on the basis of, a Code ground of discrimination (e.g. race, disability, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation); and
- as a result, you suffered a disadvantage or a loss, including a financial loss(e.g. loss of paid work) and/or a loss to your sense of self-worth and dignity (i.e. an emotional impact).
In order to determine what evidence you need at your hearing, you should start by making a list of what happened to you. Remember to think in terms of each event or step in the negative treatment that you experienced.
It is very important that you review your Application, the Response and the Reply, if any. These documents will help identify the events that you need to prove and the issues that you will need to address through evidence at your hearing. For example, if the respondent is claiming that you are not a good employee, you should try to find and disclose evidence to contradict these claims, such as an email from a former supervisor that acknowledges something that you did well at work.
Once you have your list of the facts that you need to prove, you will need to make a second list of the witnesses or documents that you need to prove each fact. Can you testify about each of the events or actions? Are there witnesses other than you? Is there someone who saw the discrimination and who might come to the hearing as a witness?
For example, is there a co-worker, or former co-worker, who saw you being harassed at work because of your race or gender or sexual orientation? Can your witness explain how you were treated differently? Is there a witness who can talk about an event that showed that the negative treatment was because of your race, gender or sexual orientation, and not for some other reason?
What could happen if I do not disclose my documents and witness statements?
You should be aware that failing to follow the Tribunal’s Rule 16 (exchange of documents) and Rule 17 (witness statements) may have negative consequences for your application, including dismissal of your case without a hearing. Human rights applications are serious matters. The Rules exist and must be followed because the Tribunal has an obligation to ensure that both sides are dealt with fairly. The failure to comply with a Tribunal rule or direction could result in the Tribunal dismissing your application and cancelling your hearing date(s).
Do not assume that steps which you have already taken will be enough to satisfy the requirements of Rules 16 and 17. With respect to documents, it is essential that the Tribunal be given, in advance, all of the documents that you are going to use at the hearing. Rule 16.2 requires that you provide the documents to the Tribunal. Even if you have previously provided documents to the Tribunal, you must do so again, or at least advise the Tribunal that you intend to rely on all of the documents you have already provided.
With respect to witness statements, they should provide details as to what each witness is going to tell the Tribunal. This includes not just people who are going to testify on your behalf, but YOU as well. You are a witness and you must file a witness statement for yourself. If your application is detailed and clear, your witness statement may simply say that your evidence will be what you stated in the application.
You must take these steps in order for the Tribunal to continue with your case. If you cannot do so for some reason, you should contact the Tribunal and advise them of the reasons that you are unable to do so. Neglecting to fulfill the disclosure requirements and failing to contact the Tribunal may be interpreted as abandoning your application. The Tribunal may also refuse to allow you to introduce evidence at your hearing that has not been disclosed to the other side.
Below is the Interim Decision, which is self-explanatory. It told me that the applicants, Toxic Adult Bullies, just did NOT provide any evidence to show that they were discriminated against. Their applications claim “discrimination with respect to housing, goods, services and facilities because of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship, family status, marital status, receipt of public assistance, association with a person identified by a ground listed above, and reprisal.”, not anything to do with “proof of Stella Reddy outright lying” as they wrote back.
I believe Toxic Adult Bullies have lost the point and were only concerned with what he wanted to show, not anything else. They were more interested in showing they believed I was a Liar, not that I violated their Human Rights…
“We are unsure what it is that you are requesting in regards to arguments as we have supplied the HRTO in the neighbourhood of 300+ pages of arguments and hundreds of pages of case law and documents and numerous amounts of proof of Stella Reddy outright lying to the HRTO.”
This CAD received is not online so I can’t share a link as there isn’t one.
I understand and appreciate why this letter was sent out by Human Rights during the process, as I already showed how Toxic Adult Bullies would constantly email HRTO to Triangulate me, such as in the email below. Toxic Adult Bullies forwarded everything to HRTO, even items they wanted to be included in their files that came up during this process. How was HRTO to rule on anything if they kept submitting things to be included?
Yes, there were times I got upset and emailed just them, for which they turned around and forwarded to HRTO with the Subject: Please Place In File.
Every time they did that, it slowed down the process, but of course, I was blamed instead. I have a lot of emails like that… The Tribunal is not a platform for the parties to heap abuse on each other. Toxic Adult Bullies was using HRTO as a 3rd party, to triangulate me, in order to “heap more abuse” on me. I do know that most of the emails he sent after were not accepted and were ignored.
Yep, I did some of my own as well, just like this site, as there comes a point where you have to stand up for yourself and fight back. I got so very sick of reading Toxic Adult Bullies’ personal opinions over every action and word I did, that I fought back. I am still fighting! I have no one to answer to anymore, except myself and I am comfortable with my choices.
I have learned though that it is in the past, all of it, and it is over. Nothing can change it, just accept it and move on!! Once I share my story, I plan on doing that!
It is emails like the one below, that were not accepted… It was quite a bit!
Sent: January 13, 2019 1:31 PM
To: HRTO Registar <
Cc: >; D < >; Stella Reddy
Subject: Please Place In File
Sent: January 29, 2019 9:49 PM
To: HRTO Registar
Cc: D< >; Stella Reddy <
Just wanted to forward these recordings I have. I finally got them transcribed to paper. Sorry it took so long. Been busy with the Appeal.
Just confirms what was said, and what wasn’t said during our meetings. I also have a third one that I have