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Discrimination

Gender identity / expression to be added as ground of protection under Canadian Human Rights Act

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - All

The federal government voted on on June 15, 2017 to add gender identity or expression as a prohibited ground of protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act, which applies to federally regulated organizations in Canada.

One it receives Royal Assent, Bill C-16 - also known as the Transgender Rights Bill - will also add gender expression or identity to the Canadian Criminal Code provisions dealing with hate propaganda, incitement to genocide, and aggravating factors in sentencing.

In the House of Commons debate on the legislation Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said:

Bill C-16 reflects our commitment to this diversity and provides for equality and freedom from discrimination and violence for all Canadians, regardless of their gender identity. With the bill, we say loudly and clearly that it is time to move beyond mere tolerance of trans people. It is time for their full acceptance and inclusion in Canadian society.

She then went on to say:  read more »

British Columbia government bans mandatory high heels in the workplace

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The British Columbia government announced today that it is following through on its commitment to ban mandatory high heels in the workplace.

This moves follows the introduction of a bill to the same effect by British Columbia Green Party Leader and MLA Andrew Weaver on March 7, 2017,  International Women's Day.

The full text of the news release is as follows:

B.C. bans mandatory high heels in the workplace

The B.C. government has followed through on its commitment to ban mandatory high heels in the workplace, announced Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, Shirley Bond.

The requirement to wear high heels in some workplaces is a workplace health and safety issue. There is a risk of physical injury from slipping or falling, as well as possible damage to the feet, legs and back from prolonged wearing of high heels while at work.

The change was made by amending the existing footwear regulation (section 8.22) of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, under the Workers Compensation Act.  read more »

Top 10 most significant employment law cases in Canada for women

In light of International Women's Day back on March 8, 2015, Legal Feeds, the Blog for Canadian Lawyer & Law Times published a list of the most significant court decisions for women in the workplace over the last 25 year, as compiled by the lawyers at Rubin Thomlinson LLP in Ontario. Here is the firm's top 10 list:  read more »

Temporary foreign workers win sexual harassment case; one awarded $150,000 for "injury to dignity" damages

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Fishing

In O.P.T. v. Presteve Foods Ltd., 2015 HRTO 675 - a decision issued on May 25, 2015 - the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ("OHRT") awarded one of the complainants $150,000 for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect due to the sexual solicitations and harassment that she experienced in the workplace. The other complainant was awarded $50,000 for this head of damage.

The $150,000 award is, according to the union that represented the complainants, the new high-watermark for this type of damages in Ontario and, according to some commentators, three times higher than the previous high-water mark.  read more »

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 »

Sexually assaulted nanny awarded $50,000 by BC Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In PN v. FR and another (No. 2), 2015 BCHRT 60, a nanny who was sexually assaulted and otherwise exploited by her employer, was awarded $50,000 by the BC Human Rights Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect. In awarding these damages the Tribunal stated as follows:

[132]      In this case, the impact of the discriminatory conduct can be seen to be severe. Although it took place over six weeks, the impact was long-lasting and impacts the complainant until now.  read more »