SHRC Declined to File Prayer Breakfast and Bus Signage ComplaintsOctober 4, 2013
As a matter of practice, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) does not usually comment about complaints or settlements. This information is typically confidential. In cases where a complaint is ongoing, or when the terms of the resolution are sensitive, the Commission works within the terms of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code (the “Code”).
The Commission will provide details about complaints to the public, if appropriate, to fulfill our public education mandate, to prevent discrimination, or if the complaint has already been raised in public. In this light, the SHRC is providing the following information for clarification:
- In December 2012, the Commission declined to file a complaint relating to the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Based on the information provided by the complainant, the Commission could not formalize the complaint as permitted under Section 27(1) of the Code.
- Similarly, in January 2013 the Commission declined to file a complaint relating to the use of “Merry Christmas” signage on Saskatoon Transit buses as permitted under Section 27(1) of the Code.
The Commission can confirm that the above issues do not represent outstanding complaints.
Background on Filing a Complaint
The authority to file a complaint is made pursuant to Section 27(1) of the Code, a person may file a complaint if:
- the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the commission; and
- the person provides sufficient evidence that reasonable grounds exist for believing that a person has contravened a provision of this Act…
When the SHRC receives a potential complaint, the Commission must carefully consider the allegations. At that point, we decide if there is enough evidence to believe the Code has been violated based on “reasonable grounds.” Where there is not, a complaint cannot be accepted or investigated by the Commission. The SHRC does not pursue matters where a complaint raises no significant issue of discrimination.
The difference between two complaints is not always easy to see. Even if two situations look alike, the Commission must look beyond the face of the situation to assess the complaint. Every situation has its unique elements.
The SHRC also provides information to the public about human rights in Saskatchewan, how provincial legislation protects all people in our province, and how it is every citizen’s responsibility to respect the rights of others. This website has more information on these and other related topics.
- See also The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code (PDF)