Does the Human Rights Tribunal offer mediation?
Because of COVID-19, of Ontario (HRTO) hearings and mediations are not in person. They are held by telephone, Zoom video conference, or in writing. For Zoom hearings and mediations, you have to connect to the Zoom link 10 minutes before your hearing starts. You may be able to use a smartphone, but the HRTO recommends a computer.
Most cases at the Human Rights of Ontario (HRTO) are resolved through . If you've filed a Human Rights with the HRTO you may want to try mediation first to resolve your issue. If mediation doesn't resolve your issue, you still have the option to have a hearing.
What is mediation
Mediation is when you, the Respondent, and an HRTO member try to resolve your case before your it goes to a hearing.
A hearing is a more complicated process involving witnesses, evidence, and legal arguments. At a hearing, a Tribunal member listens to the evidence and decides your case. They are like a judge.
Mediation is usually faster and less complicated than a hearing. In mediation you and the Respondent try to negotiate a way to resolve your case. A Tribunal member is in charge of your mediation, but they don't take sides. They are just there to help things go smoothly. It is up to you and the Respondent to decide the outcome of the mediation together.
If you and the Respondent agree on how to resolve your case at mediation, you both sign a settlement document with details about what you've agreed on. And the HRTO closes your case.
If you and the Respondent can't agree, the HRTO schedules a hearing. The hearing takes place later and a different Tribunal member is in charge of it.
Mediation is voluntary
Most people try mediation to avoid a hearing. But you do not have to. Mediation is voluntary. You can't be forced to try mediation or be forced to agree on your issue. The same is true for the Respondent.