Human Rights Tribunal cannot award legal costs: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its decision in Canada (Canadian Human Rights Commission) v. Canada (Attorney General), unanimously ruling that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal does not have the authority to make an award for the legal costs of a complainant.

The appellant Donna Mowat, the victim of sexual discrimination as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, had been awarded $4,000 in damages and $47,000 in costs by the Tribunal. The Supreme Court, in upholding the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal, found that legal costs cannot be considered “expenses incurred by the victim as a result of the discriminatory practice,” for which the Tribunal can award costs pursuant sections 53(2)(c) and (d) the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Read the full decision here.