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Human Rights compliance: the three templates every small business needs

As Canadians we are all protected under the Human Rights Acts and charters. Under the rules set out by the governing Acts, your business is required to ensure that all those who interact with the business are treated equally regardless of gender, religion, age or any of the other protected grounds. All businesses are required to have policies and practices in place to help prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace. Not having or following these policies can be of great consequence to your business.

So where do you begin?

You need to know the protected grounds under the Human Rights Act for your business’ jurisdiction. Most businesses will fall under provincial acts. Federally regulated businesses fall under the Human Rights Act of Canada.

The federally protected grounds include:

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • colour
  • religion
  • age
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity or expression
  • marital status
  • family status
  • genetic characteristics
  • disability


A beginner's guide for small business


Protecting your business and staff

There are three key things you can do to protect your business, staff and patrons from Human Rights violations:

  • Implement a discrimination and harassment prevention policy.
  • Identify workplace violence hazards and create a workplace violence prevention plan.
  • Be prepared to conduct an internal investigation if a discrimination complaint is received.


The good news is Business Counsellors can help. We have the templates and information that you need to make your workplace a more fair and harmonious place to work.