Complaint Made for Improper Purposes or in Bad Faith

Information Sheet DA11

This information sheet tells you:


Legal test: section 27(1)(e) of the Human Rights Code

The respondent must show:

The complainant made the complaint for improper motives or in bad faith.

This legal test is hard to meet

It is hard to prove that a complainant made a complaint for improper purposes or in bad faith.

Respondents rarely win this type of application.

It is not enough to give a different version of the facts and say that the complainant is wrong or is lying.

It is not enough to show that the complainant has a negative attitude towards the respondent.

Even if the respondent has some evidence, the Tribunal might say it needs a hearing. Evidence gets tested at a hearing when the parties ask the witnesses questions.

The respondent must have strong evidence

A respondent must give enough information to show that:

  • The complainant did not have an honest belief that the respondent violated the Human Rights Code. The complainant’s motive was dishonest, vindictive, or improper.
  • Or, the complainant’s main purpose in filing the complaint was improper.

An improper purpose is a purpose that is inconsistent with the purposes of the Human Rights Code.

Sample argument

“The details in the complaint have almost nothing to do with a claim of tenancy discrimination. Most of the details say nasty things about me. Here are examples: …

I attach my affidavit that shows that the complainant has made threats against me for two years. The threats are not about the claim of discrimination. Here are the threats: ….

I attach the manager’s affidavit. The complainant told her that he would file a complaint if he did not get his way about [another problem].

My affidavit shows that I gave the complainant a letter saying “no” a final time about [the other problem]. Two days later he filed this complaint.

This evidence shows that the only reason the complaint filed the complaint is to spite me for saying no. The evidence shows that this complaint is the end of two years of threats about [the other problem]. It is not a good faith claim of discrimination.”