What is the NWT Human Rights Act? Listen

The NWT Human Rights Act protects and promotes our human rights. It’s against the law to discriminate against or harass people because of:

  • Race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, and nationality.
  • Sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  • Family or marital status, or family affiliation.
  • Social condition.
  • Religion or creed.
  • Political belief or association.
  • A pardoned criminal conviction.
  • Disability.
  • Age.

It is against the Human Rights Act to discriminate against people in 5 areas:

  • Work and looking for work.
  • Renting a home or a business space.
  • Membership in a trade union or professional group.
  • Public services such as health, education, or social services.
  • Published materials such as newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, or signs.

What does it mean to discriminate?

To discriminate means we assume negative things about a person or group of people and treat them badly, harass them, or deny them things they might have.

What is the NWT Human Rights Commission?

The NWT Human Rights Commission is an agency independent from government. The Human Rights Commission:

  • Oversees the NWT Human Rights Act.
  • Helps people understand human rights, the Act, and how the Act works.
  • Helps people understand what a complaint is and how to file a complaint.
  • Looks after and settles complaints.
  • Stays neutral during the complaints process. The Commission doesn’t take sides.

What is a complaint?

You may file a complaint when you believe a person, business or agency broke the law and discriminated against you. It doesn’t cost anything to file a complaint. You must file your complaint within 2 years of the discrimination.

The complaint process has 5 possible steps.

  1. A person who experiences discrimination fills out the complaint form and sends it to the Commission. Commission staff can help you fill out the complaint form. You file your own complaint. A person can’t file a complaint for someone else.
  2. The Director of the Commission reviews the complaint to see if the Act covers it.
  3. The Director may appoint a mediator to try to settle the complaint.
  4. If mediation doesn’t work, the Director may appoint an investigator.
  5. After investigation, there may be a hearing to decide if someone broke the law.

Download a Complaint Form and Guide or contact the Commission to learn more about the complaint process and the NWT Human Rights Act: 1-888-669-5575