If you think you’ve experienced harassment or discrimination, you can contact the Human Rights Office (HRO) to discuss your options, including filing a complaint.

All requests are dealt with as efficiently as possible. The details of your request may result in faster or slower processing times. We thank you for your patience.

Information we need to know:

  • A detailed description of what happened.
  • We have your consent to proceed with your complaint. This is confirmed by submitting an “Authorization and Consent Form”.

Information you need to know:

  • Deadline: We strongly encourage you to submit or withdraw your complaint within one year of the last occurrence of harassment or discrimination. This deadline can be extended in exceptional circumstances.
  • You can withdraw your complaint without any consequences, except if your complaint was made with bad intentions.
  • You are required to file your own complaint. We understand this can be difficult, and we can refer you to resources, such as the Student Right Center or your union representative.
  • Support persons are welcome to accompany you.
  • The HRO is neutral, which means it does not advocate, provide legal advice, or take sides of anyone involved.


All complaints of harassment and discrimination are confidential. Anyone involved in an incident or complaint is required to maintain confidentiality.

There are exceptions to confidentiality:

  1. Under the law:
  • You are a safety risk to others
  • You are a safety risk to yourself
  • Other laws require us to share information.

 2.     Under University policies and procedures: 

  • When information sharing happens, the disclosure of your information is limited in 2 ways: 1) the least information possible is shared, and 2) the information is only shared among those who need to know the information. 
  • By signing the consent form, you authorize the HRO to contact other university departments to obtain information and process your complaint when necessary.

Applicable collective agreement

In cases where the Respondent (i.e., the other person(s) involved in the complaint) is a member of a union, the complaint will be resolved following the relevant collective agreement. Policy 67a does not change or invalidate any of the agreement’s provisions.

If your collective agreement does not address harassment and discrimination, the complaint will be handled according to Policy 67a’s procedure. Currently, only the APUO’s collective agreement addresses harassment and discrimination, so all other union members follow Policy 67a’s process.

Overview of the complaint process

To explain the options and the complaints process, here is a color-coded Flowchart that describes the steps. For more information, you can contact the HRO.

  1. Contact the HRO: If you feel that you’ve experienced harassment or discrimination, you can contact the HRO to access the Case Resolution Request form or complete the online version.  You will need to share details of the incident(s), including:
  • What happened
  • Person(s) involved, or systems involved
  • When did it happen (the date(s))
  • Where did it happen, and
  • Were there witnesses

Systemic discrimination: If you feel that you have experienced systemic discrimination, you can contact the HRO.

  1. First review of your complaint: The HRO reviews your Case Resolution Request form and any relevant supporting documents to determine if (1) your complaint establishes a prima facie case of harassment or discrimination, and (2) your complaint was filed within 12 months of the last occurrence of harassment or discrimination.

Prima facie means, if the allegations made are presumed to be true, it would justify a finding of discrimination or harassment.

  1. Referral to other resources: If the HRO can’t proceed with your complaint, we can recommend other problem-solving options or refer you to other University resources.
  2. Resolution Process: If the HRO can proceed with your complaint, you can request an INFORMAL or the FORMAL resolution option.

        4A. INFORMAL resolution process: Some of the informal resolution options are:

  • With the support of the HRO, you may address the concerns directly with the Respondent, where appropriate
  • You can request mediation or other alternative resolution options

          4B. FORMAL resolution process: You can choose to proceed with a formal resolution process at any time, including if an informal resolution option fails. The HRO will further assess the complaint and collect more information from the person(s) involved, to determine if it requires investigation.

  1. Decision and Outcome: If the investigation indicates that Policy 67a has been breached, the Appropriate Authority decides to impose any necessary remedial measures.

Depending on whether you are a student, employee, Faculty or another type of uOttawa community member, other campus resources may also help you with the situation you have experienced. For example, employees may also have the option to access the University of Ottawa’s Human Resources Office.

In addition to filing a complaint with the HRO, we would like to remind you that you can also take your complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario under the Human Rights Code or take other legal action on your own or with the help of legal services.

For more information, please consult Policy 67aProcedure 36-1Procedure 36-2, and APUO Collective Agreement.

Contact us

Human Rights Office

1 Stewart St.
(Main Floor – Room 121)
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1N 6N5

Tel.: 613-562-5222
Email: [email protected]

Monday to Friday, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

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