British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal

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The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal is a quasi-judicial human rights body in British Columbia, Canada. It was established under the British Columbia Human Rights Code. It is responsible for "accepting, screening, mediating and adjudicating human rights complaints."[1]

Responsibility for the province's Human Rights Code was originally divided between the BC Human Rights Commission, which was responsible for investigation and compliance, and the Tribunal which was solely an adjudicative body. In 2003, the government of Gordon Campbell abolished the Commission as well as the BC Human Rights Advisory Council as a cost-saving measure while expanding the responsibilities of the Tribunal.[2][3]


British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal in the News[edit]

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal finds resort owner schemed to replace Caucasian workers[edit]

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has awarded over $173,000 in total to seven former employees of the Spruce Hill Resort and Spa in the B.C. Cariboo. They claimed owner Kin Wa Chan discriminated against them because they're Caucasian. Tribunal chair Diana Juricevic in a 73-page decision, found "that over a period of months, Mr. Chan repeatedly said that he wanted to replace Caucasian employees with ethnically Chinese employees to reduce labour costs." "Over a period of months, Mr Chan repeatedly said that he wanted to replace Caucasian employees with ethnically Chinese employees to reduce labour costs," Ms Juricevic wrote in her decision, published last week.[4]

All the complainants either quit or were fired in August 2016. [5]

Vancouver resident claims the province violated their human rights[edit]

Joshua M. Ferguson wants the province to face the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal over an “X” designation for gender on a driver’s license and BC Services Card. Ferguson’s application for a combined driver’s license/BC Services Card was rejected in August. Ferguson identifies as non-binary – someone who doesn’t conform strictly to male or female gender. Passport Canada approved Ferguson’s application for an “X” marker on a passport.[6]

Six employees file human rights complaints against UBC alleging discrimination[edit]

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is facing several human rights complaints for allegedly denying employees promotions, terminating them because of a disability or for being pregnant.[7] The complaints involve top administrators including chief information officer Jennifer Burns, the dean of education Blye Frank and UBC Okanagan’s dean of health and social development Gord Binsted.[7]

B.C. Transwoman seeks damages when waxing service was denied.[edit]

In March 2018, a trans woman identified as "JY" in the press contacted a beautician who advertised body-waxing services from her home, for a Brazilian wax. JY complained to British Columbia’s human-rights tribunal, alleging discrimination and seeking damages of C$2,500 ($2,000) because the beautician refused to perform the service. The case was later withdrawn. [8]

Controversial decisions[edit]

Knights of Columbus Hall Rental[edit]

In 2005, a local Knights of Columbus council in Port Coquitlam, BC, was fined $1,000.[9] The Council's Hall Manager signed a contract for the use of their facilities with Tracey Smith and Deborah Chymyshyn but canceled it after they became aware that it was for a same-sex wedding reception.[10] The two women said they were unaware that the facility was affiliated with the Catholic Church. The local council responded that the hall is on the same compound as a parish church and there were Catholic symbols such as a picture of the Pope and a crucifix inside.[11] The tribunal ruled the Council was within its rights to refuse to rent it based on their religious convictions but fined them "for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect" of the women.[9]

Case against McDonald's[edit]

In 2009, McDonald Canada was ordered to pay Beena Datt $50,000 plus interest to compensate her for lost income, dignity and self-respect.[12] Datt was a long-time employee at a Vancouver McDonald's restaurant who eventually acquired a skin condition which made hand washing painful. McDonald's own corporate policy, BC's Health Act and its Food Premises Regulation, along with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, all require or recommend rigorous hygiene policies on the part of food handlers. At McDonald's restaurants all staff members, including the manager, are required to handle food. McDonald's tried to accommodate Datt's desire to stay on the job. It granted her disability leave three times while she consulted doctors and tried various lotions, but after two and on half years of effort, it became clear that she could not follow corporate, provincial or BCCDC hygiene requirements. Datt was dismissed from her job. She then complained to the BCHRT, which decided that McDonald's had not tried hard enough to accommodate her skin condition.

Victoria Businessman Case[edit]

In 2010, a Victoria businessman, Clint Petres, was fined $10,000 for practicing his self-described religious obligation to "dispel negative energy", by hugging his female employees against their will. The tribunal allowed a witness who refused to properly identify himself to testify.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bchrt.gov.bc.ca/
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2008-06-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-06-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Canada resort staff fired for being white". BBC News. 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  5. ^ "B.C. Human Rights Tribunal finds resort owner schemed to replace Caucasian workers | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  6. ^ "Vancouver resident claims the province violated their human rights". CKNW. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  7. ^ a b "Six employees file human rights complaints against UBC alleging discrimination". CKNW. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  8. ^ "When one person's right is another's obligation". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  9. ^ a b "Smith and Chymyshyn v. Knights of Columbus" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  10. ^ "B.C. tribunal awards lesbian couple damages". CTV.ca. Archived from the original on 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  11. ^ "Photos of Port Coquitlam, B.C. Knights of Columbus Hall Dispute Lesbians' Claims". Lifesite. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  12. ^ Levant, Ezra (April 2, 2009). "Enough's enough: how McDonald's hand-washing policy was overruled". Maclean's. Rogers. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  13. ^ "It's Silly Season at the BC Human Rights Tribunal". www.HumanRightsCommissions.com. March 10, 2011. Archived from the original on February 19, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2012.

External links[edit]