While it remains to be seen whether a new human rights system that takes effect in Ontario today will be an improvement over its predecessor, people with discrimination complaints probably won’t have to worry about hiring a lawyer.


Nearly two dozen lawyers and paralegals have been hired for a new human rights legal support centre that’s been set up in Toronto to provide free legal advice to complainants as well as representation before a tribunal.


Raj Anand, who heads the board of the new centre, believes it delivers a complete answer to critics who were afraid people complaining of human rights violations would be left on their own to battle employers or government agencies in discrimination cases.


The new system revolves around the concept of giving complainants “direct access” to an adjudicator. Under the old system, the Ontario Human Rights Commission would first launch an investigation into a complaint before deciding whether it deserved a hearing.