Confidential | Informal | Independent | Neutral

The Fairness Triangle outlines three dimensions of fairness to be considered in an individual’s experience: Relational, Procedural and Substantive. It can be a helpful tool to consider in the decision-making process.

Relational Fairness addresses how one is treated.Triangle with 'Fair Process' on one side (white letters on purple), 'Fair Outcome' on the second (white letters on lime green), and 'Fair Treatment' on the third side (white letters on orange).

  • Being approachable;
  • Listening actively;
  • Respecting confidentiality;
  • Being honest and forthright;
  • Making information clear and easily available;
  • Providing accessible problem-solving options;
  • Being clear about what you can and cannot do; and
  • Offering an apology if a mistake is made.

Substantive Fairness addresses the decision itself.

  • Having the appropriate authority to make the decision itself;
  • Ensuring that decisions are made on relevant information;
  • Ensuring that decisions are not unjust, oppressive or discriminatory;
  • Ensuring that decisions are not wrong in fact or law; and
  • Ensuring that decisions are reasonable.

Procedural Fairness addresses processes used in making the decision.

  • Providing notice that a decision is to be made along with sufficient information for an affected person to know what is required and what is at stake;
  • Providing an appropriate forum for an affected person to present their views and to be heard;
  • Being impartial and unbiased;
  • Making a decision in a reasonable time; and
  • Providing clear and appropriate reasons for a decision.

The Fairness Triangle was initially developed by Ombudsman Saskatchewan and adapted by the University of Victoria Ombudsperson.  It is meant to be a tool to guide decision-making and is not university policy. It is also important to note that fairness does not necessarily equate to an outcome in your favor.