What is the Human Rights Code?

What is the Human Rights Code?

The British Columbia (BC) Human Rights Code is a provincial law that gives everyone the right to be treated equally and fairly without discrimination and harassment. The protected grounds covered by the BC Human Rights Code are:

  • Race, colour, ancestry, place of origin
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Sex (which includes pregnancy, breastfeeding, and sexual harassment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Criminal conviction
  • Political belief
  • Lawful source of income

All employers are required to comply with the Code.

The British Columbia Human Rights System

The BC human rights system is comprised of two components:

  • Human Rights Clinic
  • Human Rights Tribunal


The Human Rights Clinic provides public information, receives complaints, and conciliates and investigates human rights breaches. The Human Rights Tribunal hears cases and decides if someone’s human rights have been violated.

What are my obligations as an employer?

As an employer it is important to understand your responsibilities when hiring new employees and managing your existing workforce. These obligations also extend to the actions of your employees towards other workers, so it is important that they receive the right training and resources.  

All employers should have in place a written policy on human rights or equal opportunity in the workplace. It is also recommended to have a process in place detailing what actions you take to reduce discrimination and the steps that will be followed if someone makes a complaint that their human rights have been violated.

Your Human Rights Code Resource 

We understand managing HR can be daunting, but we are here to make it easy. Call us today to discuss any questions you have about the Human Right Code or Tribunals. Our employer advice line is complimentary and available to small business owners 24/7: 1 (833) 247-3652. 

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