What Was Said

Significant quotes from recent decisions.

"I am satisfied that …abolishing mandatory retirement would result in negative consequences to Air Canada: significantly increased operational costs, inefficiency in the scheduling of pilots, and, to a lesser extent, negative ramifications for the pilot's pension plan, and the collective bargaining agreement, particularly in maintaining an effective rule of seniority. I conclude on a balance of probabilities that Air Canada would suffer undue hardship in accommodating the complainant's needs."

Human Rights Digest 12-5, July 2011

"The true measure of equality is not about the standards that are applied to members of protected groups when they excel, it is also about how they are treated when their performance is not up to par. In this case, the Ministry accepted the inadequate performance of a non-Aboriginal person, but did not accept it from an Aboriginal person.  It was prepared to remediate the poor performance of the non-Aboriginal person, but was not prepared to remediate the performance of the Aboriginal person.  The fact that another Aboriginal trainer was outstanding is not the issue.  It is the application of different standards of performance between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal trainer that is the question before me."

Human Rights Digest 12-4, May/June 2011

"I conclude that any defence by the respondents that Mr. Earle's freedom of expression was a bona fide and reasonable justification for discrimination fails on both the facts and the law. Mr. Earle's conduct was not reasonably related to any effort to deal with a disruption to the show. Mr. Earle was not engaged in exposing the stereotypes of others. Nothing about Mr. Earle's asserted purposes in verbally and physically attacking Ms. Pardy on the basis of her sex and sexual orientation justified elevating his right to free expression over her right under the Code to be protected against his discriminatory conduct."

Human Rights Digest 12-3, April 2011

"It is important to understand that the name of the CHRA is misleading. Even though its name imports a notion that the CHRA and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal may cure a range of human rights violations, the Tribunal’s mandate is restricted to remedying discrimination on the legislated grounds in legislated areas such as employment, services, residential accommodation, to name a few. Thus, Canada’s First Nations people, and their fellow Canadians, are restricted from obtaining broader human rights remedies that do not involve a discriminatory practice within the meaning of the Act. Unless the subject matter of the complaint falls within a section of the antidiscrimination statute, it cannot succeed."

Human Rights Digest 12-2, February/March 2011

"Marriage commissioners do not act as private citizens when they discharge their official duties. Rather, they serve as agents of the Province and act on its behalf and its behalf only. Accordingly, a system that would make marriage services available according to the personal religious beliefs of commissioners is highly problematic. It would undercut the basic principle that governmental services must be provided on an impartial and non-discriminatory basis."

Human Rights Digest 12-1, January 2011

"[T]he complainant seeks equal access to a provided benefit or service. Requiring a comparison with another disability group, who may also be suffering from a lack of accommodation, risks perpetuating the very disadvantage and exclusion from mainstream society the Code is intended to remedy. The fact that there may have been same treatment of some groups is irrelevant if the end result is that the complainant receives unequal access to the benefit or service."

Human Rights Digest 11-8, November / December 2010

"However, fundamental differences exist between the Charter and the Code, including differences in: the nature of the legislation (constitutional versus quasi-constitutional); the scope of the guarantees provided (the Charter contains a broad equality guarantee while the Code creates a limited right to be free of discrimination in prescribed areas); the circumstances in which the guarantees will apply (the Charter is restricted to government conduct while the Code applies to both private and public actors); and, finally, the specific exemptions or defences that are available (s. 15 of the Charter contains an absolute prohibition against discrimination but s. 1 of the Charter provides a limited defence of justification, while the Code prohibits discrimination absolutely but also contains some absolute exemptions and defences)…"

Human Rights Digest 11-7, October 2010

"[T]here have been no attempts to raise awareness of human rights legislation pertaining to family status among either management or employees, nor manage any perceived or actual resistance among those in the workforce who may not directly benefit from accommodation measures at any given time. The evidence of the Respondent's management witnesses showed a very cursory, nominal understanding of human rights legislation…"

Human Rights Digest 11-6, August/September 2010
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