ACC – Keep an open mind when determining which relationships are covered by family status protection. For example, the Ontario Human Rights Code defines family status as “the status of being in a parent and child relationship.” This definition however, has been liberally interpreted by both courts and tribunals to include most parent and child “type” relationships including non-biological parent and child relationships and non-biological gay and lesbian parents. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has also taken the position that family status protection extends to individuals providing eldercare to aging parents. Given the aging population, employers should prepare for family status accommodation requests from employees who are looking after older parents with special needs.
Tag Archives: Politics
Telegraph – “Banning corporal punishment is the model that the Council of Europe would like countries to follow. You can call it ’pressure’ if you like, but we are not about to shove anything down your throats. It is a matter of time and understanding, and we think that time will prove that we are on the right side of the debate on whether to ban corporal punishment of children.”
Vancouver Sun – The rules that allowed a Vancouver Catholic high school to sideline a lesbian teacher after her lifestyle became an issue have been in place for decades across the country and have been upheld by Canada’s highest court.
But labour and employment lawyers said Thursday it may be time for the Supreme Court of Canada to revisit the issue of how religious rights and freedoms can in some cases trump individual human rights.
SteynOnline – The [Canadian Jewish Congress] says: “Mr. Steyn, however, rooted his assertions in quotations that Canadian Jewish Congress never uttered. Maclean’s apologizes for this misattribution in its current issue.”
That’s not true, actually. Maclean’s issued not an “apology” but a clarification, “regretting any confusion”. As reflexively litigious as he is, Bernie Farber surely knows the difference – especially as there was an awful lot of back and forth between the various legal departments. My memory of the deliberations is that Bernie originally wanted Maclean’s to “apologize” for any “hurt” caused by such “defamatory” statements as “the only plausible explanation for the CJC is that it’s an Islamist front organization”. My reaction was that I’d personally fight such a case all the way to the Supreme Court because (a) it would be a non-stop laugh riot; and (b) Bernie’s peculiar touchiness on the subject suggests the odds are better than even that my joke would turn out to be true.
Ennahar – Arguing for “progress in the defense of children’s rights”, [Anthony Lake] stressed that “peace and security” were essential. “Wars do not kill children, they bring disease and destroy the hopes of a better life,” he said.
Ottawa Citizen – What a difference a week makes. Just days after that final ruling, the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA), which oversees high school sports, was forced to stand down on the same issue. OFSAA was advised it was about to lose a challenge before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal on its written policy denying girls the right to try out for boys’ teams if a girls’ team exists in the school.
Now, girls can play on a boys’ team in Ontario’s 860-plus high schools if they successfully try out. The switch is now sparking heated discussions about how to manage school sports everywhere.
Edmonton Journal – The Alberta government again appears to be making health-care decisions based not on true cost savings, but on what it thinks taxpayers will make the least noise about. How else to explain the continuing determination to end funding for sex-change operations?…
In the case of the relatively few Albertans seeking sex-reassignment surgery each year, they would be required to pay for a procedure that costs between $18,000 and $70,000 — an amount that can be financially devastating, to say nothing of the emotional and psychological devastation that would result from being unable to afford it.
Globe and Mail – In a match that pits a modern-day human-rights crusader against a historical women’s-rights pioneer, a prominent Winnipeg lawyer is questioning whether Nellie McClung should be venerated on the grounds where she first fought for her right to vote nearly a century ago.
Earlier this year, the Nellie McClung Society unveiled plans to erect a larger-than-life statue of their namesake on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature…
Like other suffragettes, Ms. McClung was an open advocate of forced sterilization, a blemish on her record that troubles modern-day rights advocates.
StarPhoenix - There are good reasons why the Court of Queen’s Bench is not a good replacement option for the human rights tribunal.
Three comprehensive reviews of provincial human rights systems have said just that, for reasons of access to justice, expertise in human rights, and representativeness of different sections of the community. The Ontario Human Rights Code review task force, Achieving Equality: A Report on Human Rights Reform, 1992; B.C. Human Rights Review: Report on Human Rights in British Columbia, 1994; and the report of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, Renewing the Vision: Human Rights in Saskatchewan, 1996.
National Post – A Canadian human rights group is accusing the University of Ottawa of “spying” and attempting to stifle free speech after top university administrators considered preventing a well-known Burmese activist from speaking on campus.
Canadian Friends of Burma says it will ask the Ontario government to grant provincial ombudsman Andre Marin power to investigate the conduct of the University of Ottawa administrators in relation to the event.
North Star National – Where I will get worked up is whether we really need such a commission with such broad implications. One quick look at the Commission’s web site is chilling (emphasis is original):
“Our Mission: To become the premier human rights agency globally.”
Why would a local governing body want to overtake its counterparts around the world? Or do they just want to be the best anti-discrimination agency in the world?
Either way, I am beginning to question whether such a regulatory system needs to take place in the United States anymore.
The Stir – It’s a sad day for animal rights groups. The Supreme Court just struck down a federal law designed to stop the sale and marketing of dogfight videos and videos showing other acts of animal cruelty.
The court, in an 8-1 decision, ruled that the law was an unconstitutional violation of free speech…
The last time the Supreme Court carved out an exception to First Amendment free speech protection was in 1982 when it banned the distribution of child pornography.
Kansas City Star – Animal rights groups were naturally disappointed by the ruling, but said they would continue to press for a more specific law, one that might pass constitutional muster.
And let’s face it: This was a victory for free speech because it once again validated the view that the government doesn’t have all-encompassing powers to shut down speech it doesn’t like or deem appropriate.
Time – “IT’s time for equality for all Americans!” another protester yelled at 6:22. Obama said, “can I just say again Barbara and I are supportive of repealing Don’t ask dont tell.” But protester keeps yelling. Bringing Obama’s remarks to a halt. The crowd responds again by “shouting yes we can!” [sic] over the protesters.
“Be quiet!” someone yells.
Guardian, Anthony Julius – As for the appropriations of, and accommodations with, liberal positions, the general abandonment of Marxist positions in favour of liberal or post-liberal ones is evident wherever one looks, but particularly evident, perhaps, among France’s political theorists. The “class struggle” between 1848 and 1936 encouraged people on the left to regard rights as mere abstractions, aspects of bourgeois ideology that concealed and legitimised the subordination of one class to another. But this supersession of rights by communism did not take place: on the contrary, it was by exposing the absence of “rights” in the Soviet Union and its satellites that communism was discredited.
A human rights discourse now dominates politics; there is a powerful human rights “movement”. It is the new secular religion of our time.
Annual Report 07/08 – Concerning the monetary claims, after looking at the constituent elements of the harassment experienced by the complainant, the Panel awarded $50,000 in general damages. On the claim for loss of income…the Panel awarded the sum of $425,058.00 for loss of income during the years 1997-2006.
Globe and Mail – Environmental sensitivity is listed as a disability in Ontario’s Human Rights Code, which means that employers have a duty to accommodate the needs of the environmentally sensitive in the workplace.
However the rule doesn’t specifically address scent sensitivities as a disability, says Pascale Demers, spokesperson for the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The commission has only ever received two complaints from employees about scent sensitivity. Both were settled privately, and the commission has no information about what was decided, Ms. Demers says.
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.
According to salary disclosure rules, only people earning over $100,000/year must be listed for public viewing. Here are the numbers from 2008.
We cut some slack and didn’t add up the cents.
Top earner: Nancy Austin, Executive Director. $211,469
Lowest earner: Roxanne Kalimootoo, Registrar. $100,174
Middle of the road: Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner. $139,869
Total Salaries for the 17 earning over 100 grand: $2,583,805
Average pay per year for the 17 earning over 100 grand: $151,988
Toronto Star – Ontario’s newly streamlined human rights watchdog is swamped with allegations of sex, race and disability discrimination, the Starhas found.
“We are really overwhelmed by our volume of cases now,” said Katherine Laird, the senior official whose job it is to support people who say they are victims. “Our phones are ringing off the hook.”
The Ontario Attorney General created a new human rights system nearly two years ago, making it easier for people with claims to get a hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario…
Ontario Human Rights Commission chair Barbara Hall believes only a small number of cases are ever reported. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” she says.
Florida Times-Union – Victims’ Rights Week Resource Fair and Awards Luncheon, 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Main Library with Judge Susan Carbon, director of the Office on Violence Against Women; Catherine Pierce, deputy director of the Office of Violence Against Women; and Connie Sponsler, Battered Women’s Justice Project. Awards will be presented for: Courageous Victim, Outstanding Victim Advocate, Judicial Victim Advocate and Law Enforcement Victim Advocate. Lunch is $10 per person, which includes the seminar.
Blue Like You – Yes indeed. Let’s abort those female fetuses so they don’t have to worry about making the same decision themselves in the future, and spare them the ethics of those nasty ‘men’. There’s a step forward. (And of course there are no female doctors in Canada.)
Good grief, Canada. Is this where we’re at when our politicians don’t have the gonads to take a stand?
Winnipeg Free Press – Friday is the national Day of Silence across the United States, a day in which hundreds of thousands of students from more than 8,000 K-12 and post-secondary schools will take a vow of silence to protest homophobia.
It started in 1996, and has grown every year, says the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which organizes the national Day of Silence with support from the American Civil Liberties Union.
It hasn’t reached Canada… at least, not yet.
CBC – The provincial government says it’s considering a proposal to have human rights cases handled in the courts instead of before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal…
However, Frank Quennell, the NDP Opposition’s justice critic who raised the issue in the legislature, said if the government intends to “dissolve” the Tribunal, as he thinks it does, it means more people will have to pay for legal help to go to the courts to defend their basic human rights.
Currently, a lawyer from the commission often presents the complainant cases. Quennell said he’s worried that will change.
“Does the government intend to force Saskatchewan people to spend thousands of dollars to defend their human rights — and hire a lawyer to do so — in courts?”
Toronto Star – Governor-General Michaelle Jean laughed off a question about whether she had political ambitions after her vice-regal term ends, and gave no hints Thursday about her future career plans.