What Can I Do If My Rights Were Violated?

What kind of action can I take?

Speak to a Lawyer

A lawyer should be able to help you with charges, work out timelines, consider which information to keep confidential, and decide what kind of complaint or process to use (for example a police complaint, human rights complaint, and other kinds of legal action). This might depend on what kind of compensation or other results you are looking for.

  • You may be able to get free legal advice from Legal Aid or a free legal clinic in your province or territory. They might be able to help you with any charges against you, and in certain circumstances, they might be able to help you take other action against police.
  • You may be able to find them through your province or territory’s lawyer referral service.
  • You might be able to get a free consultation with a lawyer through your province or territory’s lawyer referral service.

File a complaint against the police

There are different opinions about police complaints: Some people do not feel safe filing police complaints, and many rights advocates have concerns with the fairness of the police complaints processes. Others believe that police complaints can help to create a record of systemic issues (such as anti-Black racism) in your community, and might be used by rights advocates to fight for change.

Make a human rights complaint

You can file a human rights complaint if you feel that you have experienced discrimination, for example, on the basis of your race, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.

Sue the police or take other legal action

It may be possible to sue the police for compensation, or take other legal action against the police. It is usually best to do so after consulting with a lawyer.

Connect with Others

Your friends, community groups, and rights activists might be interested in sharing your story to encourage grassroots change and empower others. This might help publicize what happened, educate other people in society, and possibly even pressure politicians for change. Consider asking a lawyer to help you decide whether to take action (and what kind) and what information to keep confidential.