Saskatchewan eliminating human rights tribunal

Time limit for complaints would be cut in half and hearings where required handled by the courts.

Regina (1 Dec. 2010) - The Saskatchewan Party government has introduced legislation to kill the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal (SHRT) and refer complaints to the courts instead.

Amendments to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code were introduced in the legislature on Nov. 29 by Justice Minister Don Morgan.

Under the current system, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) investigates human rights complaints and can refer them to the Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing.

When hearings are required in future, cases will go to the court of Queen's Bench instead, the province says.

The government argues that the changes will also allow more cases to be dealt with through mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods instead of formal hearings. It is also planning to reduce the time allowed for filing complaints to one year. The current limitation is two years.

NDP justice critic Frank Quennell says the legislation needs to be closely reviewed and interested parties given a chance to comment before it is passed.

"We're going to have to hear those voices and if there is in fact very little concern, well, maybe it could pass quickly," he said.


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