What other resources are available ?

Copies of the NWT Human Rights Act are available to all parties free-of-charge by contacting the Panel’s Office Administrator or the Office of the Director of Human Rights. The Act is also available on the Human Rights Adjudication Panel website: www.hrap.nt.ca

Specific information about “Hearing Procedures” can be found in the Rules of Practice and Procedure which are also on this website.

Parties are encouraged to ask the Adjudicator questions regarding procedure during a Pre-Hearing Conference or parties may ask the Panel’s Office Administrator beforehand.

Can a Complaint be “settled”?

Yes. Adjudicators are trained in law and in “Mediation” skills. When Adjudicators act as Mediators, they help the parties to have a discussion about ways of settling their differences in a fair and mutually agreeable way. Both parties must be agreeable to the mediation process before an Adjudicator will help. Usually, that agreement will be put into writing so that the rules of the mediation proceedings are understood. For further information, see our website under Mediation Information or contact the Panel’s Office Administrator.

Is the decision of an Adjudicator final?

No. A party who is dissatisfied with the decision of an Adjudicator may file an Appeal of that decision in the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. The Clerk of the Supreme Court will direct parties to the necessary forms to be completed and filed to appeal the decision of an Adjudicator.

Who pays the costs and expenses of the parties?

The Panel does not fund witness costs and expenses. Each party is responsible for funding (if necessary) the attendance of its own witnesses.

The NWT Human Rights Act allows Adjudicators to give directions and orders for costs after hearing the evidence and arguments of the parties. Such orders will only be made after hearing from all of the parties. If such directions and orders are made, they will be put into the Adjudicator’s written decision.

Parties may, of course, seek financial support from organizations, either governmental and non-governmental, as they see fit.

What if a Party is disabled?

Upon application by a party, the Panel will accommodate disabilities of all kinds to facilitate a fair Hearing. In addition, translation services are available. Parties must advise the Panel’s Office Administrator of their needs as soon as possible, or to the Adjudicator at the first Pre-Hearing conference.

What is the purpose of having a Hearing?

The purpose is to allow all parties the equal opportunity to have a decision made in an open and procedurally fair manner guided by Human Rights laws and jurisprudence (judge-made-law) that apply in the Northwest Territories.

Who may participate in an Appeal or a Referral?

The Human Rights Act says that the parties to an Appeal are the person who complained (the “Complainant”), the person(s) or organization whose conduct is the subject of the complaint (the “Respondent”) and the Director of Human Rights.

The Act says that the parties to a Referral are the Complainant and Respondent. The Human Rights Commission may also choose to be a party to a Referred Hearing on notice to the other parties.

Finally, the adjudicator may decide, on the application of other persons or organizations who have an interest in the proceedings, that they can participate in the proceedings.

How do I Prepare for Pre-Hearing Conference?

If desirable, contact a lawyer of your choice, advocate or support person to give advice and/or representation during the conference.

Review all of the paperwork provided by the Panel and any writings or papers filed with the Director of Human Rights.

Consider what evidence will be necessary, including documentary and witness evidence, if the matter is set for a Hearing.

Consider how much time will be needed to prepare for a Hearing.

Consider the option of avoiding a hearing and engaging in Mediation.

Arrive on time and be prepared to listen and participate in the discussion.

What happens when a matter goes to the Panel?

First, the Chair assigns the matter to an Adjudicator.

Next, the Panel’s Office Administrator will ask the parties when they can be available to have a telephone conference with the assigned Adjudicator. The purpose of the telephone conference is to give all of the parties the opportunity to discuss their human rights complaint with an Adjudicator as well as how and when a Hearing will take place.

This very important first step is called a “Pre-Hearing Conference”.

 

What is the Human Rights Adjudication Panel and when does it get involved ?

The Panel is a group of legally trained people called Adjudicators. They have the skills and authority to hear and decide certain things related to human rights complaints made under the NWT Human Rights Act. 

The Panel members are appointed by the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly. Adjudicators must be fair and neutral when they hear and decide cases. They give no legal advice, show no bias, and do not favour one party over another. 

The Panel becomes involved in human rights complaints only after a Notice of Appeal of a Director’s decision has been filed in the offices of the Panel or after the Director of Human Rights has referred a complaint to the Chair of the Panel for a Hearing.