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Canadian Human Rights Act

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On December 16, 2011, the Government of Canada repealed the section of the Canadian Human Rights Act that permitted federally regulated employers to impose mandatory retirement in some circumstances.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

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issues remedies decision in Air Canada pilots mandatory retirement case

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - Transportation

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ("CHRT") issued its decision on remedies in the Air Canada pilots mandatory retirement case on November 8, 2010 (Vilven v. Air Canada, 2010 CHRT 27).

In a landmark decision released on August 28, 2009, the CHRT had declared that the age 60 mandatory retirement provisions in Air Canada's pension plan and its collective agreement with the Air Canada Pilots Association ("ACPA") violated the equality provisions in section 15 of the Charter and could not be saved under Section 1 of the Charter.  See my post here.

That decision is now the subject of a judicial review application by the ACPA, which supported the mandatory retirement provisions. See my post here.  read more »

Tribunal orders CNR to reinstate three female employees who declined transfers because they had young children

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - Transportation

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued three companion decisions last week in which they ordered the Canadian National Railway to reinstate three female employees who had been terminated when they declined temporary transfers from Jasper, Alberta to Vancouver, BC because they had young children.

The Tribunal found that the employees had been discriminated against on the basis of "family status".

CNR was also required to pay damages for lost earnings, pain and suffering and wilful and reckless conduct.

The decisions are:  read more »

Discrimination based on "family status" where Canada Border Services refused to modify schedule for mother of two

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

In a decision issued last month - Johnstone v. Canada Border Services, 2010 CHRT 20 - the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ("CHRT") found discrimination based on "family status" where Canada Border Services refused to modify the work schedule for an employee who was the mother of two young children but who wanted to still have full-time hours.

The decision re-affirms that the scope of "family status" in human rights legislation can encompass childcare responsibilities.

Law firm Oglivy Renault has written a good a summary of the decision ("Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Weighs In on Accommodating Employee Childcare Obligations") which can be found here.

Both parties have apparently filed an application with the Federal Court of Canada for judicial review of the decision, Ms. Johnstone on the basis that the CHRT should have awarded her reimbursement for her legal fees.  read more »