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]

Notable cases[edit]

Smith v Knights of Columbus[edit]

In 2005, a Knights of Columbus council in Port Coquitlam, BC, was fined $1,000,[4] after the Council's Hall Manager signed a contract for the use of their facilities and then canceled when they became aware that it was for a same-sex wedding reception.[5] The two women said they were unaware that the facility was affiliated with the Catholic Church. 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.[4]

Datt v. McDonald’s Restaurants[edit]

In 2007, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada was ordered to pay an employee $50,000 plus interest to compensate her for lost income, dignity and self-respect.[6][7] The employee was a long-time employee at a Vancouver McDonald's restaurant who eventually acquired a skin condition which made hand washing painful. McDonald's corporate policy, BC's Health Act and its Food Premises Regulation, along with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, 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 granted the employee disability leave three times while she consulted doctors and tried various lotions, but after two and on half years, the employee was dismissed from her job. The tribunal ruled McDonald's had not done enough to accommodate her skin condition.

Eva v Spruce Hill Resort[edit]

In 2018, the Tribunal awarded over $173,000 in total to seven former employees of the Spruce Hill Resort and Spa in Cariboo, who said the owner discriminated against them because they were Caucasian.[8] Tribunal chair Diana Juricevic found "that over a period of months, the owner repeatedly said that he wanted to replace Caucasian employees with ethnically Chinese employees to reduce labour costs."[9] All the complainants had either quit or were fired in August 2016.[10]

Six employees accuse UBC of discrimination[edit]

In 2018, the University of British Columbia (UBC) faced several human rights complaints for allegedly denying employees promotions and/or terminating them because of a disability or for being pregnant.[11] The complaints involve top administrators including chief information officer, dean of education and UBC Okanagan’s dean of health and social development.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Human Rights Tribunal". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  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. ^ a b "Smith and Chymyshyn v. Knights of Columbus" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  5. ^ "B.C. tribunal awards lesbian couple damages". Archived from the original on 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  6. ^ Datt v. McDonald’s Restaurants (No. 3), 2007 BCHRT 324.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Eva obo others v. Spruce Hill Resort and another, 2018 BCHRT 238.
  9. ^ "Canada resort staff fired for being white". BBC News. 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  10. ^ "B.C. Human Rights Tribunal finds resort owner schemed to replace Caucasian workers | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  11. ^ a b "Six employees file human rights complaints against UBC alleging discrimination". CKNW. Retrieved 2018-12-03.

External links[edit]