Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


If you have been:

  • discriminated against because of your race, ethnic or national origin, religion, citizenship status and related factors (gender, age, sexual orientation, disability etc.) in employment, housing, public services (police, public transport, government programs, etc.), education, etc. and if that discrimination took place in Canada within the last one to two years;
  • a victim of a hate crime;
  • neglected by your labor union which does not want to file a grievance for you after you have been discriminated or harassed;

our Service for Victims of Discrimination provides you with representation, assistance and other forms of support to help you protect your civil rights.

CRARR is NOT a legal clinic. We are a non-profit, independent civil rights organization that supports and assists more than 250 individuals who consider themselves to be unjustly and illegally discriminated against. We open an average of 75 new cases each year.

NB. Although we are based in Montreal, we can assist and represent people outside the city and in the rest of Canada if the case is under federal jurisdiction.


CRARR acts as your advocate and a bridge between you and the justice system. We help:

  • file complaints;
  • accompany victims to hearings and mediation sessions;
  • represent victims before administrative tribunals;
  • support those who need to appear in court to defend themselves or to sue others for civil rights violations; and
  • intervene in court cases involving important equality and civil rights dimensions.

If we cannot assist you, we will refer you to other lawyers, professionals and agencies that can.


  • discrimination and harassment in employment;
  • discrimination in school discipline;
  • hate crimes and hate incidents;
  • hate on the internet;
  • homophobia;
  • media bias;
  • racial profiling in public services and employment;
  • systemic racism and critical race analysis and
  • union misrepresentation;

As mentioned earlier, although we focus on racism, we do assist and represent victims of discrimination based on other grounds such as disability, social condition, sexual orientation, gender, and age. Approximately one third of our clients are victims of discrimination other than racial, ethnic and religious discrimination.


While we are open to all cases and situations, we give priority to cases that affect the civil rights of large numbers of people, that involve victims with multiple or special forms of vulnerability (children, youths, seniors, people with disabilities, etc.).

The basic questions we ask when reviewing a potential case are:

  1. Is this a significant civil liberties or civil rights issue, does it involve a major public policy, or does it have constitutional or national importance?
  2. Does this case contribute to the advancement of equality and civil rights?
  3. Will this case have a major effect on a class of people or a community in addition to our client?
  4. Is the victim determined and committed enough to pursue the case as far as possible?

For criminal defense that requires representation by a lawyer, we will refer you to our network of lawyers, made up of experienced, sensitive and dedicated professionals. These lawyers are not CRARR employees; they sometimes volunteer their time for CRARR cases, or charge you legal fees if you are not covered by legal aid. Matters regarding these fees are strictly between the lawyer and yourself.

You can be represented by our network lawyer for your criminal defense and by CRARR for your civil rights action simultaneously, in the instance of racial profiling, hate crime, and other related cases.


  • Disputes over commercial claims between companies;
  • Personal disputes over family matters and finances, housing and other benefits;
  • Criminal cases without possible civil rights dimensions, or complaints about a person's attorney in a criminal case.

If we do not accept your case, we will refer you to another agency or a lawyer. We are not responsible for your case once it has been referred to another person or agency.


Racial discrimination needs to be denounced in every way possible. If your case is a valid, important case that involves laws, policies and a large number of people, it is deemed of public interest. CRARR can help bring your case to public attention through public events, such as press conferences. By going public, we aim to inform the public, raise people’s awareness about a situation of discrimination and build a record of public narratives. Often victims of racial and other discrimination believe that they are alone in experiencing this discrimination. Discrimination is like domestic violence: victims have to speak out and stand up. CRARR can help you publicly denounce civil rights violations.


There are service fees involved. As a non-profit organization, we solicit financial contributions because it is the only way to support our service and you. There is no government program that supports a service like ours in Quebec. These fees take into consideration to a certain extent your economic status. We can be flexible for individuals in economically disadvantaged conditions. Our principle is: no one with a legitimate and serious case of civil rights violations should be turned down because she or he cannot afford our services.

For criminal defense that requires representation by a lawyer, we will refer you to our counsels who are experienced, sensitive and dedicated. These lawyers are not staff counsels; they are closely associated with our agency. Matters regarding legal fees are strictly between the lawyer and yourself.


All legal claims have deadlines. These deadlines may be different depending on who violated your rights and which rights have been violated.

Generally speaking, to sue a federal agency for discrimination, actions need to be taken within one year from the moment the incident took place. For a provincial agency, the deadline is usually two years. To sue a municipality, the deadline is usually six months. Our best advice: decide whether or not you want to take legal action, and contact CRARR immediately.

WARNING: due to court decisions, unionized employees must, in most cases, go through labor arbitrations and can no longer go to human rights commissions. Usually, the deadline to have your union file a grievance is 30 days.


  • CRARR was granted intervenor status in two cases of discrimination before the Supreme Court of Canada;
  • CRARR successfully intervened in several cases before the Canadian and Quebec human rights commissions to persuade or compel the Commissions to properly investigate complaints and not to close or dismiss them;
  • CRARR helped victims of racism win more than $400,000 in damages and settlement, in different complaints filed with the federal and Quebec agencies and tribunals;
  • CRARR intervened in the criminal prosecution of a man who committed criminal acts against the president of an official minority languages organization. CRARR successfully encouraged the Crown and the judge to take into account the accused’s anti-English hate motivation for sentencing purposes;
  • CRARR successfully supported a broadcasting employee who was a victim of race and gender-based harassment in her efforts to sue her union for failing its duty of fair representation;
  • CRARR won its case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal against a British Columbia man who was associated with a neo-nazi racist website;
  • CRARR successfully helped many individuals file complaints against discriminatory and unethical police conduct with the Quebec Police Ethics Commissioner while representing these same persons in civil rights complaints before the provincial human rights commission;
  • CRARR successfully filed complaints before the CRTC on behalf of two Ontario community organizations against a Toronto radio station for broadcasting racially discriminatory programs. As a result, the station adopted guidelines for non-discriminatory radio broadcasting. In 2005, the CRTC ruled in favour of CRARR’s in its complaints against CKAC for broadcasting racist remarks in two different talk-shows hosted by Doc Mailloux and in 2006, against Radio-Canada for discriminatory remarks by the same person on a TV program;
  • CRARR has pioneered the approach of filing civil rights complaints against perpetrators of hate crimes and hate incidents based on race and sexual orientation, to claim $90,000 in damages against aggressors in several cases;
  • CRARR’s counsels successfully help get many youths and young men of colour acquitted of criminal and penal charges laid by local police and public transit officials, paving the way for civil rights complaints of racial profiling and harassment against these officials and their municipal employers.