Metro - Canadian employers have historically taken an ignorant view of human rights tribunals and their often extraordinary decisions. But that may be quickly changing.
Sweeping changes to human rights legislation and left-leaning adjudicators directed to interpret remedial legislation — such as human rights laws — in a broad and inclusive manner, should leave employers very concerned. Here are some of the reasons why…
Category Archives: BCHRT
Times-Colonist – The University of Victoria’s efforts to evict a student who has lived in on-campus housing since 1991 could be heading back to B.C. Supreme Court.
Alkis Gerd’son claims UVic is violating his human rights because he has a mental disability. In 2004, the province designated Gerd’son as disabled, allowing him to collect monthly support, including a housing allowance and other benefits. His complaint goes before a B.C. Human Rights tribunal in June.
Gerd’son earned a bachelor’s degree in 1997 and has not completed classes since. The university has been trying to evict him since 1998.
Times-Colonist – It seems increasingly likely that a dispute between the parents of a Nanaimo bantam girls hockey team and the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association will go before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal later this year.
Parents recently cancelled a settlement meeting to try to resolve the dispute, first made public last fall.
A complaint filed on behalf of the Bantam A female hockey team claimed “gender-based” discrimination after a competitive hockey program for teenage girls for the 2009-10 season was cancelled.
The NMHA informed parents the female Bantam A competitive program, which had been running for four years, would be cancelled due to a lack of players.
Scaramouche – Love power? Looking for employment? Willing to relocate to beautiful British Columbia? Well, then, do I have the job for you–a spot on the B.C. Roobunal…
Heather MacNaughton, Chair, BC Human Rights Tribunal. 2008 salary: $172, 101.
Salary: $108, 850
Rank out of 5452 high earners: 975
[Note: BCHRT website lists Humphreys' title as "Full-Time Member"]
Salary: $172, 101
Rank out of 5,452 high earners in BC Government: 203
National Post – Try as I might, I can’t understand how a private member’s bill proposed by the BC NDP’s Jenny Kwan to amend the BC Human Rights Code will “strengthen protections for the homeless.”
The bill, called the the Protection of the Homeless Act, would amend the Code to include the term “social condition” as prohibited grounds for discrimination.
Globe and Mail – Here’s a question for you: How many employees do you need before you have to start worrying about potential actions under federal or provincial human rights legislation? One? Ten? One hundred?
The answer is “yes.”…
If the BC Human Rights Tribunal is any guide, all you have to do is fire an employee who is absent from work for an extended period of time due to a medical disability by email and you could find yourself paying damages of $35,000 (not including legal fees) for “hurt feelings” because the employee was not terminated in person.
Vancouver Courier – In a culture where anyone can yell “discrimination” against anyone for any perceived slight, and go judicial on their assets, there’s a constant danger of a chilling effect. Not just on comedy, but on illustration, journalism, theatre and music.
Democracy was never supposed to be about the tyranny of a solitary offended citizen.
CP – Cousineau told the hearing Friday that if Ismail had apologized in the beginning, assured Pardy that this would not happen again at his restaurant and offered her compensation, the issue may never have reached the tribunal.
“Perhaps if that had happened we wouldn’t be here today,” Cousineau said.
Update. See below.
CP – Comedian Guy Earle could end up paying a heavy price for his freedom of speech – up to $15,000 if his accuser has her way.
At an open-mic comedy show hosted by Zesty’s restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. three years ago, Earle, acting as volunteer emcee, lit into Lorna Pardy and her lesbian partner with a profanity-laced tirade that Pardy’s lawyer said left Pardy humiliated and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lawyer Devyn Cousineau said during her closing arguments at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing Friday that Pardy should be awarded between $10,000 and $15,000 in damages for the discrimination she suffered as a result of Earle’s homophobic comments.
Cousineau said nothing about 10 or 15 thousand dollars, or any dollar amount whatsoever during her closing arguments.
Mr. Scott has his facts wrong, his Canadian Press article is inaccurate.
National Post – I can’t make up my mind which I want to come back as in my next life, a thin-skinned lesbian or a serial pedophile.
Punchline – Here’s what we think: We obviously don’t condone the act of making fun of people based on whom they like to have sex with—especially if it’s not done with any sense of tact, art or humor. But we also don’t condone people showing up late to a comedy show, sitting in the front row and acting like complete assholes to the comedian onstage. One of the signs of a seasoned comedian is the ability to skillfully – and that sometimes includes being harsh – deal with hecklers…
Both parties were out of line.
CBC – A discrimination complaint before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has cast a chill over stand-up comics in the Lower Mainland, a comedy club manager says….
“I go out and I frequent rooms in the city because that’s how I find my talent. And I would say that people who are performing in rooms on a regular basis are a little bit more careful about their interaction with the crowd.
“I know that comics who have usually taken an antagonistic approach with the crowd are a little bit more — they sugar-coat their words now.”
Rex Murphy, National Post – Meantime, real cases of human rights violation, individuals genuinely stranded and deprived of their rights as citizens, such as the couple in Caledonia, Ont., who’ve lived through a multi-year siege by local First Nations gangs, unaided by the Ontario government or the police–noiselessly pass by.
Where was the mighty Ontario Human Rights Commission during all of this? Adjudicating the locker room rights of a St. Catharines fitness club.
Winnipeg Free Press – But it’s not that simple. Members of minority groups can and do feel harassed, if not threatened, in some environments. Comedy clubs are frequented by enthusiastically imbibing young men.
Some of them, hearing “there’s the dyke table” from an irritated comedian who proceeds to unleash a torrent of abuse, could take it as permission to act out their own aggressions.
The Province – But is his vicious spat with a heckler in a late-night comedy club really a matter for a state arbiter? If this is a choice between offensive “humour” by bad comedians in half-empty neighbourhood nightclubs, versus an all-powerful government joke regulator, I think I’ll take the offensive gags.
Montreal Gazette – Is there some contest to see how silly a complaint Canada’s human-rights commissions will try to take seriously? If so, there’s a new front-runner, as B.C’s Human Rights Tribunal grapples with a complaint from a woman who was insulted in a Vancouver comedy club. Talk about people unclear on the concept.
Globe and Mail – “It’s been three years of shite,” says Guy Earle, whose comedy career is currently on hiatus. “I didn’t think being an asshole was illegal in this country.”
Covenant Zone – Sam Ismail asked Samantha to comment on how, during the evening in question, the bar ran out of cold Corona and she had to get another case, which she said was somewhat unusual. Samantha told the Pardy table they would have to drink warm Coronas. The point of all this was not made clear.
Montreal Gazette – Senator Doug Finley led a call Tuesday to scrap a section of Canada’s Human Rights Act that he and other Conservative senators say is being used to stifle free speech in Canada…
“Despite our 400-year tradition of free speech, the tyrannical instinct to censor still exists,” Finley said. “We saw it on a university campus last week. And we see it every week in Canada’s misleadingly named human rights commissions.”
National Post, Hugh MacIntyre – Plus I find her assertion that she is suffering post-traumatic stress from being called bad names a little over the top. Does she wake up screaming every night because some comedian insulted her? I somehow doubt it.
TGET – Pardy says she suffers from PTSD stemming from the incident, and will later call a witness doctor to confirm it.