"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Monday, June 30, 2008

A 'Heads Up' ... New Limitation Period For Human Rights Act

I firmly believe that Human Rights Commissions have a valuable role to play in ensuring that individuals with special needs are not discriminated against. One example of this we have seen recently is in relation to a current human rights complaint in the Province with regard to the employment of individuals with special needs.

In that vein, it's important to realize that up until now there has been no legislated limitation period in which a human rights complaint must be brought in Nova Scotia. Meaning that although the Commission might consider the length of time it's been since the alleged discriminatory conduct occurred in deciding whether or not to proceed with the complaint, there was nothing within the legislation itself setting a specified time in which a complaint must be brought.

Until now, that is.

Starting today, June 30, 2008, a one-year limitation period will be in effect with respect to any complaints made to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

The amendment, which comes into force today, provides that any complaint must be made within "twelve months of the date of the action or conduct complained of, or within twelve months of the last instance of the action or conduct if the action or conduct is ongoing". Although the Commission's Director does have the discretion to grant a complainant an additional period "of not more than twelve months to make a complaint if to do so would be in the public interest and, having regard to any prejudice to the complainant or the respondent, would be equitable", this will only be done in "exceptional circumstances" . Meaning most definitely don't count on it.

Just some usual information to be tucked away for future reference. So you won't have to file it later under the category of "Things I wish I had known".

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