As an individual who has experienced the daunting process of facing Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) applications, I fully understand and empathize with the uncertainty and fear associated with such conflicts. In this personal account, I will discuss my own experience, detailing the intense emotions, challenges faced, and the overall impact it had on my life. I hope to provide a genuine perspective that sheds light on the complex nature of HRTO applications, ultimately raising awareness and cultivating empathy among readers.
Defining the HRTO and Its Significance:
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario serves as a quasi-judicial body responsible for resolving violations of human rights protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC). This tribunal plays a crucial role in safeguarding individuals from discrimination, ensuring equal opportunities, and fostering a fair society for all. Nonetheless, when an HRTO application is filed against an individual, it can lead to immense uncertainty and fear, often accompanied by significant cascading consequences.
The Initial Shock and Emotional Turmoil:
The moment I discovered that an HRTO application had been submitted against me on June 4, 2018, was filled with shock and disbelief. Suddenly, my reality shifted, and I was thrust into an emotional turmoil that I couldn’t fathom. Waves of anxiety, fear, and confusion consumed me as I grappled with the uncertainty of the situation. I questioned whether my actions or decisions inadvertently caused harm or discrimination, amplifying my emotional distress. It took for me to see I did nothing wrong…Speaking to a lawyer at the time also helped. I studied their website, looking for knowledge on how I should proceed and while I didn’t always do the right thing, I did my best and learned over time what I needed to do.
It was only a month later, on July 4, 2018, that I had my mental breakdown and went into psychosis for 2 days. From July to November 2018 I tried suicide twice and experienced several episodes of psychosis. As you can imagine, it was a scary time for me!
Complex Legal Procedures and Prolonged Battle:
Upon receiving notification about the HRTO application, I soon realized that this journey would involve navigating an intricate legal process. From submitting the response to attending hearings, I found myself in a maze of complex legal terminologies and procedures. The formal nature of the HRTO proceedings, combined with the technicalities involved, further intensified my apprehension. Each step in this process seemed unpredictable, prolonging the ordeal and exacerbating the fear of the potential outcomes. Yes, this was my first, and last, experience with this process…
I didn’t know this process would last 19 months and end up a total nightmare for me of constant emails filled with insults and name-calling towards me. I had to find a way to navigate this process while also dealing with my mental health issues!
Consequences Beyond the Tribunal:
Beyond the immediate stress of the HRTO application, its far-reaching consequences had a profound impact on various aspects of my life. The uncertainty of my professional future grew, as the applications had the potential to tarnish my reputation and affect career opportunities. Dealing with strangers looking for an apartment to live in became a nightmare for me and I just couldn’t do it with all this hanging over my head. I didn’t know if people coming to the property were there for a reason or just to get at me and the uncertainty of that I couldn’t accept.
This apprehension seeped into my personal life as well, straining relationships and prompting feelings of isolation. I became very fearful of people’s intentions towards me and became very depressed for that 19 months. Daily activities and hobbies that usually provided solace became overshadowed by the incessant thoughts and worries about the ongoing proceedings. I was lost, in all honesty, and just did my best one day at a time.
Seeking Support: The Yielding Strength of Allies:
Amid such uncertainty, fear, and emotional distress, seeking support from allies became indispensable. Friends, family, and legal professionals who sympathetically listened, provided advice, and stood by my side became invaluable pillars of strength. My therapist helped me too! Their unwavering support enabled me to confront the challenges head-on and navigate this tumultuous mess. Together, we fostered an environment of resilience, fortitude, and hope, reclaiming some sense of control amidst the chaos.
Experiencing an HRTO application against me was undoubtedly a life-altering journey, characterized by overwhelming uncertainty and fear. The emotional turbulence, complex legal procedures, and wider consequences infiltrated various aspects of my life. Nevertheless, by seeking support and prioritizing self-care, I was able to gradually overcome these challenges, finding strength in the face of adversity.
Through sharing my personal experience, I hope to illuminate the arduous path many individuals like myself have to tread while highlighting the importance of empathy and support in such circumstances.
As I mentioned in my last post, dealing with the uncertainty of legal processes against me wasn’t easy but I stayed the course, did my part that was required of me, and was willing to wait for the process to be completed, in however manner it would be.
In the end, I didn’t have to worry, as the tenants didn’t show up for the hearing, so I won. They decided to walk away from their applications and do their websites instead where they could pretend they won their cases and proceed to call me a racist anyway. They thought that public opinion would do what HRTO wouldn’t, and that was to label me and ruin my life, but that didn’t happen either!!