The article refers to “commissions” (plural) Just how many are there?
Steyn is being subjected to simultaneous multiple proceedings of the same complaint.
As they are quasi civil tribunals the doctrines of autrefois acquit and autrefois convict do not apply and the burden is "preponderance" rather than "beyond reasonable doubt". The rulings are looked upon as being akin to injunctions rather than punishment and compensation rather than fines.
Small businessmen have been advised by their lawyers that it is cheaper to cave in, recant, grovel and pay than to pay the legal bills associated with defending even frivolous complaints.
Even where a frivolous complaint gets dismissed at an early stage, the respondent has borne costs to retain a lawyer and those consts, unlike other civil proceedings in Canada, are not recoverable against the complainant or the tribunal.
There are 14 of them- one federal and one for each province and territory. The federal HRC got leashed by a Supreme Court ruling that their procedures were unconstitutional; historically most of the mischief was made by the provincial HRCs because the provinces have jurisdiction in matters of employment, housing and health care which is where most complaints arise.