Policies and Practice Directions

Policies

POLICY STATEMENT #0001. July 2008-07-23

The Policies of the Adjudication Panel are intended to guide panel members in the carrying-out of their statutory duties and functions. Every file conducted by a panel member presents a unique set of circumstances that require members to exercise their decision-making powers accordingly. Hence adjudicators may deviate from policy in appropriate circumstances and policies may change over time as the experience of each member increases and the jurisprudence relating to the interpretation of the Human Rights Act and the duties, functions and powers of panel members, evolves.

The Investigative Approach

POLICY STATEMENT #0002. July 2008

The Panel’s role is governed by the Human Rights Act S.N.W.T. 2002, c. 18, as amended, and s. 59 thereof vests adjudicators with the powers of a Board under the N.W.T. Public Inquiries Act (“PIA”) which states:

11. Where an enactment provides for an investigation, inquiry or similar proceeding and provides that the incidents of this Act apply to that proceeding, then, except to the extent expressly set out in that enactment and notwithstanding that the matter involved may not fall within section 2 of this Act,

  • (a) the person or body conducting the proceeding has the powers and the duties of a Board under this Act;
  • (b) sections 4 to 10 of this Act apply with such modifications as the circumstances require to the proceeding; and
  • (c) the regulations made under section 12 of this Act apply to the proceeding to the extent that no applicable regulations conflict with them.

Sections 4 and 5 of the PIA state:

4.  (1)  Subject to subsection (2) and sections 6 to 9, the conduct of and the procedure to be followed on an inquiry is under the control and direction of the Board.

(2)  Every Board may, subject to reasonable notice,

  • (a) summon any person as a witness;
  • (b) require any person to give evidence on oath or affirmation; and
  • (c) require any person to produce the documents and things that the Board considers necessary for a full and proper inquiry.

5.  Every Board has the same power as is vested in a court of record in civil cases

  • (a) to administer oaths and affirmations;
  • (b) to enforce the attendance of any person as a witness;
  • (c) to compel any person to give evidence; and
  • (d) to compel any person to produce any document or thing.

Adjudicators have the discretion to use the latter investigative powers – on their own motion or upon the application of a party – to ensure that all parties, including self-represented parties, enjoy a full and fair hearing and to facilitate the production of the best possible evidence at hearings.

The exercise of our investigative powers in a judicious manner is consistent with the overall objective of advancing the broad purposes of the Human Rights Act (Ontario Human Rights Commission v. O’Malley v. Simpson-Sears Ltd. [1985] 2 S.CR. 150@156) and providing equal access to justice in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Access to Written Materials

POLICY STATEMENT #0003. July 2008

The HRAP faces a number of challenges that arise as result of the self-representation of parties at hearings of both referrals and appeals.

To ensure that all parties have the benefit of a full and fair hearing, the Panel has begun development of a website which will help all parties (and their legal representatives) access information about the governing legislation, the Rules and, generally, how the Panel conducts its business. The website will also link parties to human rights related/research resources.

However the Panel assumes that not everyone has access to a computer or the ability to use one effectively. Consequently the Panel will continue to provide some written materials to all parties upon receipt of a referral or appeal, including:

  • Introductory letter advising of the receipt of correspondence and materials (if any) from the office of the Director of Human Rights and requesting the availability of the parties for a prehearing conference;
  • Copy of Parts 5 and 6 of the Human Rights Act, our Rules and a “FAQ”;
  • Copy of “Mediation in a Nutshell” and a draft “Mediation Agreement”.

Requests to receive materials may be made at the offices of the Adjudication Panel, (address, telephone, fax info here)

Email Communications

POLICY STATEMENT #0004. August 2008

Email communications with the HRAP by Parties or their legal counsel is acceptable on the following terms and conditions:

  1. Once an Appeal or Referral has been filed with the HRAP, all communications in writing, including Emails, must be copied to the other parties at the time the communication is made.
  2. All Emails must contain a description of the HRAP file, e.g. the HRAP file number, so that it can be delivered to the appropriate adjudicator by the Office Administrator.
  3. A Party who initiates Email communications with the HRAP shall be deemed to have agreed to receive Emails from the HRAP offices including documents for Service under the HRAP’s Rules of Procedure.
  4. Emails may not be sent directly to adjudicators. The HRAP Office Administrator will transmit Emails to adjudicators in appropriate circumstances.
  5. All Email communications are subject to the HRAP’s policy on Abusive Communications.
  6. The HRAP cannot and does not guarantee the confidentiality of Emails sent or received and Parties who correspond with the Panel by Email or who request or permit the HRAP either implicitly or explicitly, to correspond with them by email, do so at their own risk.

Abusive Communications

POLICY STATEMENT #0005. August 2008

The HRAP and its staff may take immediate action to cease, prohibit or prevent further communications in circumstances where a person disregards a policy statement or direction of the HRAP relating to communications with the HRAP or uses loud, insulting or otherwise abusive language in any form of communication.

Comments on the Rules of Practice and Procedure

POLICY STATEMENT #0006. August 2008

In the interest of ensuring that the HRAP’s Rules of Practice and Procedure are as accessible, understandable and current as possible, commentary and suggestions regarding them may be sent by regular mail marked “Private and Confidential” to the Chair, Human Rights Adjudication Panel.

Publishing Notices of Hearings in Newspapers

POLICY STATEMENT #0007. July 2013

Commencing 1 July 2013, the Adjudication Panel will post notices of hearings only in the “Hearing Information” section of the Adjudication Panel website.  The Adjudication Panel will also post notices of preliminary applications in this section of the website if the adjudicator directs the application to be open the public.

Certification of documents issued by HRAP

POLICY STATEMENT #0008. January 2008

The HRAP has a seal that is used to certify documents as true copies of original documents issued by the HRAP and retained in its offices. Certified copies of such documents are available, without charge, on written request made to the Administrative Assistant.