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NWT Human Rights Commission's Early Resolution Process - Beware!


By Glenn Tait

The NWT Human Rights Commission has recently established an Early Resolution policy and procedure. This policy represents an effort to resolve complaints within 60 days of their being filed.

This process is fatally flawed. The most important element of any resolution discussion is that the comments made by all parties during that process must be "without prejudice" and cannot be used against that party in the event that the resolution process is not successful. Parties need that protection if they are going to engage in meaningful resolution discussions. This Early Resolution process is not "without prejudice" and the discussions parties have during this Early Resolution process, which is conducted by one of the Commission's Human Rights officers, are not confidential.

Instead, the Early Resolution policy specifically provides:

The information shared by both the complainant and the respondent in this process is recorded and kept on file.

Notes of statements made by all parties during the Early Resolution process are kept by the Human Rights Officer. Those notes are then sent to all parties to allow them to make any changes, and the final version of these notes are provided to all parties to the complaint.

There is no guarantee that any statements made by any party during this Early Resolution process, or any offers of compromise that are made as part of that process, will not be used against that party at a later date, in the event that the complaint is not resolved.

For these reasons we are advising clients not to participate in the Early Resolution process.

There is no trace of this policy on the Commission's website. If you are interested in seeing a copy of this policy, please contact us.

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