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Canadian Human Rights Act

Should "obesity" be a prohibited ground of discrimination in Canadian human rights legislation?

The National Post newspaper ran a story today ("Obese Canadians should be granted legal protection from discrimination, professor says") which discussed whether obese people should be protected from discrimination in Canadian human rights legislation.

The article noted that this could be achieved in a few different ways. First, obesity could be treated as a "disability", which is already a recognized ground in human rights legislation. As it relates to this approach, the article noted theat:  read more »

CP Railway CEO says company will challenge arbitrator’s order to reinstate "cocaine-using" locomotive engineer

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - Transportation

Here's an interesting news release that Canadian Pacific Railway Limited issued on July 16, 2014 concerning an arbitrator's decision to order an employee re-instated:

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSX/NYSE: CP) announced today it will be asking the Superior Court of Quebec to stay a July 14, 2014 decision by the Canadian Railway Office of Arbitration (CROA), which ruled a locomotive engineer, who consumed cocaine at a time and of a quantity which could impact his duties, must be reinstated.

CP also announced it will be appealing the agency's order to the Superior Court of Quebec asking it to overturn the decision.  read more »

Federal Court of Appeal lays out test for family status discrimination as it relates to childcare matters

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Federal Court of Appeal ("FCA") issued two decisions on May 2, 2014, in which it laid out the test for family status discrimination as it relates to childcare matters. Subject to a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, this test is binding on federally regulated employers. The two cases are:  read more »

"Elder care" recognized under "family status" protection for first time by Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

In Hicks v. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2013 CHRT 20, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recognized "elder care" under the "family status" protection for first time.

Canadian Human Rights Commission "Cautions Employers on Rights of Aging Workers"

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Canadian Human Rights Commission issued a news release on March 26, 2012 that "Cautions Employers on Rights of Aging Workers". The release reads:

On December 16, 2011, the Government of Canada repealed the section of the Canadian Human Rights Act that permitted federally regulated employers to impose mandatory retirement in some circumstances.

This measure was included in the Budget Implementation Act, which also stipulated a one-year transition period before the repeal of section 15 (1) (c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act takes effect.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has received inquiries and is aware of media commentary about employers seeking to take advantage of the transition period to force employees to retire before they are ready to. While there is no evidence that this is taking place, the Commission believes it is prudent to caution any employer that might be considering such action to think again.  read more »

Federal government abolishes mandatory retirement except where it is bona fide occupational requirement

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The federal government has abolished mandatory retirement in federally regulated workplaces except where it is a bona fide occupational requirement ("BFOR").

For more on this development, see:

And this is the text of a news release issued by the Canadian Human Rights Commission on December 16, 2011:

Government of Canada Strikes Down Mandatory Retirement  read more »

Prohibited grounds in Canadian Human Rights Act may soon be expanded to include "gender identity/expression"

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act ("CHRA") may soon be expanded to include "gender identity" and "gender expression".

Bill C-389 - An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression)  - passed Third Reading in the House of Commons yesterday by a vote of 143 to 135.

In addition to amending the CHRA to include these new grounds, Bill C-389 would also amend the hate crime and sentencing provisions in the Criminal Code to offer express rights/protection to transgendered and transsexual individuals,

Bill C-389 - a private members' bill that was introduced by British Columbia NDP Member of Parliament, Bill Siksay - must now be passed by the Senate in order to become law. 

Comments  read more »

Employer not required to hold corporate reorganization in abeyance pending resolution of employee's disability

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

Tutty v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 FC 57

Postscript: Jennifer M. Shepherd and Gulu Punia at the Fasken Martineau office in Calgary have prepared the following summary of this decision:  "Accommodation Does Not Prevent Corporate Reorganization" (February 1, 2011).

Legislation introduced that would abolish mandatory retirement in most federally regulated workplaces

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

Mandatory retirement policies in most federally regulated workplaces will be abolished if a recently introduced private members bill becomes law.

The bill - Bill C-481, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code (mandatory retirement age) - was introduced by Ms. Raymonde Folco, a Liberal Member of Parliament from Quebec on November 15, 2010.

It passed Second Reading in the House of Commons on December  6, 2010 and is being referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources at the committee stage of the parliamentary process. If it passes in committee, it will be referred to Third Reading and likely become law.

In the parliamentary debates held so far, Ms. Folco stated that her bill has three main objectives:  read more »