Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, March 14, 2018 — CRARR welcomes the news that the Quebec Government has added $750,000 to the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission's budget to allow it to hire more staff and reduce delays in its handling of complaints.

In recent months, CRARR has raised alarm about the excessive delays in the Commission's investigation and decision-making processes. In one case of race discrimination in employment, a complaint was filed on behalf of a Haitian man in 2011 and the decision has not been issued to date, despite the fact that the investigation was wrapped up in 2014. On average, it takes up to five months for the Commission to follow up on a complaint filed with its office, and five years for a decision to be rendered.

Excessive delays in processing complaints and rendering decisions are not the only issue.

When it comes to cases of race discrimination, there has been a noticeable pattern of practices that place victims of racism in disadvantaged positions, which include inexplicable refusals to interview victims' witnesses; the search for explicit evidence (such as racial slurs) when the case involves unspoken, implicit racial bias; the lack of competency in handling intersectional discrimination cases involving different grounds (which adversely and disproportionately affects English-speaking racialized and disabled victims), and the persistent refusal to address elements of systemic racism in a case, especially when it comes to anti-Black racism.

CRARR has been particularly preoccupied by the lack of Black, other racialized and English-speaking lawyers in the Commission's legal affairs and investigation divisions, which partly explain the systemic problems outlined above. Staff from these groups can bring their first-hand, personal knowledge and experiences with race discrimination, and added value, to their work.

There are but a handful of lawyers and other professional staff of color and who are English-speaking at the Commission, and no managers from these groups. These facts reveal a pattern of systemic discrimination in employment at an agency that ostensibly exists to promote equality in employment for minorities and Indigenous peoples.

Consequently, CRARR calls on all Commissioners to assume their statutory duty to immediately implement employment equity for racialized, Indigenous and English-speaking lawyers and investigators, and that they override the managers' exclusionary staffing practices.

Key attention should be paid to the hiring of English-speaking Black lawyers and investigators in order to effectively address, among other things, anti-Black racism and the needs of Black victims of discrimination who are either English-speaking or French-speaking.