Clinic Program

How to Apply for Representation

If you want to find out how to apply for representation click here.

Clinic Overview

The Human Rights Clinic is a specialized clinic that provides services to British Columbians as they relate to pursuing and understanding their legal rights under the BC Human Rights Code.

The BC Human Rights Clinic is operated by the Community Legal Assistance Society and funded by the BC Ministry of Justice. The Clinic provides free representation to complainants who have cases before the BC Human Rights Tribunal on a province-wide basis. If accepted, you will be assigned an Advocate to assist you through the early stages of your complaint. Advocates will advise you as to the Tribunal process, work with you to develop and prepare required documentation (including on any preliminary applications), deal with deadlines, and represent you at any settlement meetings. Although most cases settle, should the matter not settle or be dismissed on a preliminary basis, a lawyer will be assigned to work with and represent you through all remaining stages of the proceedings, including with respect to preparation for and attendance at any hearing.

Client services include initial information and advice respecting human rights issues, assistance in pursuing a complaint under the BC Human Rights Code, and representation of complainants before the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Our education focuses on promoting an understanding of the BC Human Rights Code and offers preventative training to ensure compliance with Code provisions.  

These services are offered at no cost on a province wide basis and can be initiated by contacting the Coalition at (604) 622-1100 in Vancouver or toll-free at 1-855-685-6222. You must apply to the clinic for representation.  To do so, you should contact us within 30 days of receiving a letter from the Tribunal indicating that they have accepted your complaint as filed. Qualifying criteria for representation are considered. 

In addition, an onsite consultation service is offered every Monday.  A clinic advocate will be on-hand to help those that have difficulty framing complaints or replying to applications.   This initiative is offered on a first come first serve basis.

When - Mondays between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm (excluding Statutory Holidays)
Where - The Monday Drop-In and Triage Clinic is held at the BC Human Rights Tribunal - 11th Floor, 605 Robson Street, Vancouver BC (corner of Robson and Seymour)
How – Come to the Tribunal after 8:30 am on Monday and sign up (first come, first served) for a 30 minute time slot with a clinic advocate.

If you are a respondent needing assistance with a human rights complaint, the University of Victoria's Law Centre does run a respondent clinic.  They may be reached at 250-385-1221.  An online description of their service is available at http://www.thelawcentre.ca/human_rights_clinic.

Client Services

Initial Information and Advice

Coalition staff can provide you with information on what protections are provided in the BC Human Rights Code and help you determine if your issue or concern falls under Code provisions. We can also offer practical suggestions that may help to resolve your issue, or in the event that you choose to file a formal human rights claim, we can inform you about how to proceed and what to expect. Where your issue falls outside provincial human rights legislation, we will guide you to a more suitable agency or organization.

Assistance in Making or Responding to a Formal Complaint

Sometimes people require assistance in filing and responding to formal complaints of discrimination. At times a phone call, a review of required forms, or providing information and advice on the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure is sufficient to ensure people have access to, and assistance in, complying with Tribunal processes.

This assistance is limited to providing technical information and advice but it is available province wide by phone at no cost. 

Drop-In and Triage Clinic

Held weekly in Vancouver to:

  • inform and educate members of the public seeking human rights information;
  • assist in completion of BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint forms;
  • provide an initial evaluation of complaints;
  • provide information on options available to resolve human rights issues including early dispute resolution alternatives;
  • provide referrals to other services as appropriate; and
  • where appropriate, provide access to clinic lawyers that can provide limited legal advice respecting straightforward legal issues, including in relation to execution of settlement agreements and releases.

When - Mondays between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm (excluding Statutory Holidays)

Where - The Monday Drop-In and Triage Clinic is held at the BC Human Rights Tribunal - 11th Floor, 605 Robson Street, Vancouver BC (corner of Robson and Seymour)

How – Come to the Tribunal after 8:30 am on Monday and sign up (first come, first served) for a 30 minute time slot with a clinic advocate.

Case Work and Client Representation

Representation works in conjunction with, and alongside, the complaints process of the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Services are initially offered by lay advocates (paralegals) and then by lawyers.  Both clinic advocates and lawyers specialize in human rights law. To be considered for this service, you must become a clinic client and authorize us to act on your behalf. Qualifying criteria are considered for intake purposes and you should contact us by phone to fully understand how to initiate this process.   

Once a clinic client, we will review your complaint with you to ensure we have a full understanding of the issues you raise and we will advise you as to your available options. We will work with you to strengthen and support your claim by assisting in the preparation of all required documentation.  We will also represent you through negotiations, settlement or mediation processes, and before a public hearing, should your claim move to these stages. In addition, we will ensure all post settlement and post hearing documentation is filed with the Tribunal. At all times clinic staff will seek instruction prior to acting on your behalf.  

Judicial Review

Either party to a human rights claim has the right to apply for a judicial review of a Tribunal decision.

Clinic staff do not represent clients who have filed a judicial review or who are responding to a judicial review. Where a complainant is engaged in this process Clinic staff can assist with understanding the process.

Education and Training Program

In addition to the clinic’s client services program, clinic staff conduct public legal education workshops, seminars and training sessions on topics related to the BC Human Rights Code.Sessions raise the general level of legal awareness about our human rights legislation across the province and offer tools to employers, service providers and unions to assist them in complying with Code provisions.

Please contact us directly  to learn more about this service.

Qualifying Criteria for Client Services

Criteria are based on a number of factors associated with your complaint.  The Coalition will consider and collect data on all of the following factors in determining initial client eligibility:

  1. Are there alternative redress processes available to the Complainant that may reasonably address the issues raised in the Complaint?
  2. Can the Complainant reasonably be expected to obtain assistance from other sources such as a law centre, union, community agency, or professional association?
  3. What is the Complainant’s financial status?
  4. What is the nature of the issues raised by the Complaint?
  5. Does the Complaint raise systemic issues or is the resolution of the Complaint likely to benefit more than the Complainant alone?
  6. What are the merits of the complaint and what is the likelihood of success before the Human Rights Tribunal?
  7. Does the Complaint raise novel issues of law, the answers to which would advance the purposes of the Code?

Once criteria have been considered, all clients must sign a letter authorizing the clinic to act on their behalf.  This letter sets out the terms and conditions of the service provided. The Clinic does not guarantee representation for Hearings for all clinic clients.  Please contact us directly for more information.