Public Goods & Services

Public service refers to any person or organization that provides goods or services to the public. Hospitals, schools, most community organizations, retail stores, pharmacies, restaurants, sports facilities, and service providers would all fall under the area of public services.

Any individual or organization offering services to the public in the NWT must be sensitive, inclusive, and flexible when a person requests an accommodation. Making an exception or change to policies or procedures in order to accommodate an individual or group is your responsibility under the NWT Human Rights Act. Refusing to accommodate someone could be discrimination. Accommodation is not always perfect but it has to be reasonable and not cause undue hardship.

The fundamental right to equality is protected under the NWT Human Rights Act. This means equal access to public services and equitable treatment.

What is accommodation?

Accommodation means making changes to certain rules, standards, policies, and physical environments to allow people to access any goods and services customarily available to the general public. The duty to accommodate is based on the principle that we may need to treat people equitably in order to meet everyone’s unique needs and achieve equality.

A person with a mobility issue may ask for an accommodation so that they can more easily access their grocery store. A shopper might ask for a staff member to help them with their shopping or request the store install automatic door openers.

The duty to accommodate applies to all businesses and organizations that provide goods or services to the public within the Northwest Territories*.

The Commission offers workshops for both service providers and users. The NWT Human Rights Act applies to public services such as schools, health and social services, restaurants, stores, public transportation and community organizations. If you are interested in a workshop about human rights and public services, contact us.

For more information on human rights and public services, read the guide below or call our office.

*See our page on Jurisdiction for exceptions


Human Rights and Public Services Guide (PDF)

Human Rights and Public Services Guide (Word)

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