Disability/Emotional Support Animals
The Commission received a call from Lauren* about her housing situation. Lauren claimed to have a mental health disability that required an emotional support animal. However, the condo complex where she rented a unit had a strict no-pets policy. She contacted the Commission in hopes of remedying the situation.

As the point of first contact with complainants, the Commission’s intake consultants are well placed to attempt resolution prior to formalizing a complaint. In this case, the intake consultant reviewed the content of the matter and contacted both the landlord and the condo board.
The intake consultant explained that, under The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, 2018, the Commission accepts and investigates complaints in housing where a complainant provides sufficient medical evidence to establish that an emotional support animal is required. If a person establishes a requirement for an emotional support animal, a no-pets policy in rental or condominium housing does not apply. People with certain mental disorders rely on support animals for everyday living and require accommodation in housing.

The information provided by the intake consultant helped both the landlord and the condo association understand the situation. Lauren provided appropriate medical documentation. Because of this, she was allowed to keep her emotional support animal and the matter was resolved.

Pregnancy/Family Status
While employed by a company, Naomi* became pregnant and had a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic. She took a 6-month maternity leave. During her leave, Naomi’s employer implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy. She received a letter requiring her to confirm her vaccination status.

Naomi was given 10 days to declare her status/provide proof of vaccination or it would be presumed she had abandoned her position. Naomi did not refuse to be vaccinated, but advised her employer she would discuss vaccination status prior to returning to work in 6 months. She also inquired as to why the mandatory policy applied to her while she was on maternity leave. Naomi was not provided a satisfactory explanation.

Two weeks after she received the letter, Naomi’s employment was terminated due to her non-compliance with the employer’s mandatory vaccination policy. She contacted the Commission feeling as though her employer had discriminated against her on the basis of sex and family status.
Where termination of employment has occurred for discriminatory reasons, potential individual damages might include: reinstatement; compensation up to $20,000 for damage to dignity; loss of income; reimbursement of expenses incurred in the search for alternate employment; and/or other related out-of-pocket expense reimbursement.

In this case, the employer offered to compensate Naomi for damage to dignity and loss of income.


Sexual Orientation
Martin*, who is a bisexual man, attended a First Aid CPR course put on by an educational institution. Prior to the course commencing, Martin mentioned to the instructor that he had a husband. From that point on, the instructor allegedly treated Martin in an adverse manner, at times portraying a flamboyant character with a stereotypical effeminate lisp and at another time stating he “had a limp wrist.” Throughout the course, Martin alleges he was singled out and embarrassed by the instructor.

Martin complained to the program coordinator about the instructor’s behaviour. He advised the receptionist that he wished to make a formal complaint, and asked the instructor to contact him. He was not contacted by anyone from the educational institution.
Martin reached out to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. He felt the institution had discriminated against him on the basis of sexual orientation, contrary to section 13 of the Code.

During mediation, the educational institution offered to compensate Martin for damage to dignity. The institution also agreed to review its policies and procedures and reimburse Martin for the course. Martin accepted the offered resolution and the file was closed.


Irene* is a 64-year-old woman. She had worked with the same company for over a decade. The company made it known they were looking to recruit and retain younger people. During this time, Irene was asked multiple times when she was going to retire. She felt they wanted to replace her with a younger employee. Irene was then demoted to seasonal worker status and was laid off at the end of the season.

A month later, she received a letter saying she would not be recalled back to work. Irene was replaced by a younger employee.

She contacted the Commission to file a complaint, believing her employer had discriminated against her on the basis of age.

This matter was resolved through negotiation during investigation of the complaint. The employer offered to compensate Irene for damage to dignity. Irene accepted and the file was closed.


Tana* became pregnant while employed at a non-profit organization, and later took a maternity leave. While on leave, Tana’s employment with the organization was terminated. Tana had worked for the employer for about 5 years at the time, and before the termination notice had received glowing performance reviews. However, the performance review that accompanied the notice noted poor performance in all job areas.

Shortly after termination, Tana was able to secure comparable employment.

Tana contacted the Commission. She believed she had been discriminated against on the basis of sex (including pregnancy) contrary to section 16 of the Code. The employer alleged Tana had been fired not because of performance or pregnancy, but due to corporate restructuring.

In this situation, the onus is on the employer to disprove that the employee was fired due to pregnancy. The matter was resolved during investigation. The employer offered to compensate Tana for damage to dignity and loss of income as well as reimburse her for therapy expenses related to the complaint.


Jesse* suffered a workplace injury while employed as a mechanic. He didn’t stop working, but was restricted to light duties on the advice of his doctor. His employer told him to go home because he could not perform the duties necessary for the job. Jesse did as he was told and remained home until his Workers’ Compensation Board benefits were canceled.

Jesse was later cleared to return to work by his doctor, again with restrictions. He was sent home again by his employer and told to remain there until further consulted. Three weeks later, Jesse’s employment was terminated and he was told to remove his toolbox from the shop.

Believing the termination was connected to his disabilities and that his employer failed to accommodate him to the point of undue hardship, Jesse contacted the Commission and filed a human rights complaint. The Chief Commissioner found that the complaint had sufficient merit to proceed to a hearing and directed the parties to attend mediation. During Directed Mediation, the employer offered to pay damage to dignity as well as a retiring allowance. Jesse accepted the offer and the file was closed.


Beth*, who is Indigenous, went to a hospital in severe pain. When she consulted the attending physician, Beth alleged she was treated negatively and felt as though she was viewed as an Indigenous “drug seeker.” The physician would not provide medicine for her pain and, instead, suggested she try a specific medicinal herb and to seek relief from an Elder and/or a traditional healer.

Beth contacted the Commission to file a complaint. She believed the hospital had violated section 12 the Code by discriminating against her on the basis of race. The Chief Commissioner found that the complaint had sufficient merit to proceed to a hearing. They were ordered to attend a Directed Mediation. In Directed Mediation, the hospital offered to compensate Beth for damage to dignity. The hospital also agreed to provide training to its employees designed to develop an understanding and eliminate systemic racism in the workplace. As part of this training, Beth was invited to share her lived experience. She was also given a letter of apology.


In 2022, two young women entered a store to purchase groceries. Shortly after, they noticed two security guards following them. They were the only Indigenous shoppers in the store at the time. The security guards stood at the end of each aisle they went to, and moved with them from aisle to aisle throughout the store. Feeling concerned that two male security guards were following them, they asked to speak to the manager. The manager responded by saying that the security guards were just doing their jobs. This was not the first time this had happened. Two years earlier, they had experienced a similar incident at the same store. Since they were both minors, the mother of one of the teenagers contacted the Commission and filed a complaint on her daughters’ behalf. She believed they had been discriminated against on the basis of race and colour, contrary to section 12 of the Code.

The matter was resolved in Directed Mediation. The store agreed to pay both complainants for damage to dignity. As part of the settlement, the store also agreed that all of its new uniformed security guards would receive training regarding bias and discrimination as a condition of employment during their probationary period, and that all existing uniformed security guard employees will receive the same training as a condition of continued employment.


Aaron* is a person with a mental health disability who lives in a town in Saskatchewan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he entered the Town Office and inquired about making donations to individuals not affiliated with the Town. The staff found the conversation unsettling and asked him to leave. He did so without incident.

A month later, Aaron returned to the Town Office to talk about his water bill. According to witnesses he was not wearing a mask during his visit (which was required based on COVID protocols at the time), and refused to put one on when asked. Witnesses also said he was blaring music on his phone. Police were called, but Aaron left on his own accord before they arrived.

The next day, after discussing the matter with police, the Town wrote a letter to Aaron banning him from all Town facilities – warning him he could be charged with trespassing should he try to enter any facilities. Aaron’s behaviour was consistent with his mental health disability.
Aaron’s mother spoke to the Town Council and told them about her son’s disability and asserted that her son was being discriminated against. The Town responded, requesting she obtain a letter from a medical professional who could advise Aaron was complying with his current mental health treatment plan and that Aaron has the mental capacity to make his own decisions.

The ban against Aaron was later lifted after Aaron’s mother persistently advocated on his behalf. However, by that time, Aaron had already moved away from the Town. Being banned from all town facilities, he felt there was nothing left for him there and that everyone was against him.
Aaron contacted the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. He had reason to believe that the Town discriminated against him on the basis of disability, by denying him services and failing to accommodate him to the point of undue hardship, contrary to Section 12 of the Code.

The matter was resolved in Directed Mediation. The Town offered to pay for damage to dignity. The Town was also required to provide training to employees, both new and existing, regarding bias and discrimination against members of the public with mental illnesses.

*Names have been changed