What Was Said

Significant quotes from recent decisions.

"I have concluded that race-based stereotypes played a role and, in some cases, a significant role, in the BCVMA's dealings with the complainants, including negative generalized views about the credibility and ethics of Indo-Canadians in relation to their veterinary practices. I find there was clear evidence of such views held by persons of influence in the BCVMA, that the BCVMA was aware, or ought reasonably to have been aware of this, and that it largely ignored, and condoned, the expression of such views. The result was a poisoned relationship between the BCVMA and the complainants, which the BCVMA then blamed entirely on those individuals claiming that they were 'playing the race card'.”

Human Rights Digest 16-6, August / September 2015

"The appellant's approach amounts to a suggestion that even an employee in a highly safety sensitive position who knows precisely what he is doing can unilaterally and in a secretive manner disregard the profound safety obligations of his employment not only to the employer but to his co-workers. The absolution for doing so is said to arise from error or misconception on the part of that employee — namely denial. In our view, legitimizing such a subjective manner of defining one's safety-related employment duties in hazardous work environments loses touch with the test in Meiorin, and with the objectives of anti-discrimination laws.”

Human Rights Digest 16-6, August / September 2015

"The prohibited ground of discrimination o[n] family status should encompass the eldercare obligation because … non-fulfillment can attract not only civil responsibility (Maintenance and Custody Act), but also criminal responsibility if not exercised properly (Peterson). Eldercare obligation is entrenched in Canadian societal values. It demonstrates the adult children's responsibility to their elderly parents.”

Human Rights Digest 16-5, July 2015

"Given the nature of the temporary foreign worker program, the fact that work permits are tied to a specific employer, and that trying to find a different employer while in Canada poses immense difficulties for a migrant worker, including the need for any new employer to qualify for the program by obtaining a labour market opinion and the reality that in the interim migrant workers would lose access to the accommodation provided by their existing employer, the reality is that renewing her contract with Presteve was the only real choice that M.P.T. had if she wanted to remain in Canada and continue working.”

Human Rights Digest 16-4, May / June 2015

"With respect, what is in issue here is not complete secularity, but true neutrality on the State's part and the discrimination that results from a violation of that neutrality. In this regard ... I do not think that the State's duty to remain neutral on questions relating to religion can be reconciled with a benevolence that would allow it to adhere to a religious belief. State neutrality means ... that the State must neither encourage nor discourage any form of religious conviction whatsoever. If the State adheres to a form of religious expression under the guise of cultural or historical reality or heritage, it breaches its duty of neutrality. If that religious expression also creates a distinction, exclusion or preference that has the effect of nullifying or impairing the right to full and equal recognition and exercise of freedom of conscience and religion, there is discrimination.”

Human Rights Digest 16-3, April 2015

"To the extent a person can be considered a "repeat offender", this necessarily impacts upon the determination whether there has been wilful and reckless contravention of the Code for the purposes of s. 31.4. Mr. Pontes' corporate entities were found to be in violation of the Code, for employment discrimination based on sex as early as December 6, 2007… He has been previously ordered to cease and desist. He has previously been sanctioned in costs for unreasonable and vexatious behaviour. He has, in past proceedings, been ordered to post anti-discrimination policies at Northwoods Inn & Suites. Mr. Pontes can be presumed to possess full knowledge of that which constitutes unacceptable conduct under the Code.

Human Rights Digest 16-2, February / March 2015

"When a manager, supervisor or owner of a business engages in sexualized comments, or permits another employee to engage in such conduct, he/she cannot rely on a complainant's silence or, indeed, participation to prove consent. The reason being the power imbalance and the potential fear of reprisal can be compelling reasons to remain silent or try to 'fit in' by participating in the conduct..”

Human Rights Digest 16-1, January 2015

"The Vice-Chair's reasons were … transparent, intelligible and with justification.”

Human Rights Digest 15-8, November / December 2014

"Both a fabricated complaint and a witness who has no regard for his or her solemn promise to tell the truth entirely undermine the hearing process. It results in an immense waste of Tribunal resources that could have been used for a legitimate complaint and is both unfair and potentially injurious for the opposing party.”

Human Rights Digest 15-7, October 2014

"Although 'colour' and'race' are distinct concepts under the Act, there are some who also extend the 'colourist' or 'shade-ist' idea to include a racial and perhaps even a cultural element. The idea is that as a person appears lighter, as she is 'closer' to white, she must therefore be less black, or less Asian, or less Indian – less 'ethnic'. Similarly, as a person appears more deeply complected in a non-white hue, she is considered more purely and more fully a member of the other race or ethnicity, and more fully integrated into, or more completely a part of that other racial or ethnic culture.”

Human Rights Digest 15-6, August / September 2014
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