Federal Court


Human Rights Legislation

DISCRIMINATION
No basis in law to support claim of discrimination by Canadian Forces member

Applicant joined Canadian Forces in 1999. He served two overseas terms in Afghanistan, in 2004 and 2006. After completing his second overseas tour, applicant was diagnosed with several illnesses, including hypertension and high cholesterol in 2006, anxiety disorder in 2007, and myocardial infarction and diabetes in 2010. Despite receiving normal vascular examinations in 2010, applicant was assigned medical employment limitations, which meant that he was no longer deployable. Following administrative review process, it was recommended that applicant be medically released. Applicant submitted grievance complaint on February 20, 2013 requesting that his medical category be reduced to G3, that medical employment limitations be removed from his file, and that his risk assessment be reduced from high to low. Military Grievances Review Committee dismissed grievance in March 2014. Applicant applied for judicial review of decision. Application dismissed. Applicant’s main argument was that Chief of Defence Staff unlawfully discriminated against him on basis of his medical disability. Canadian Human Rights Act provided that universality of service policy was bona fide occupational requirement and was thus exception to requirement to establish that accommodation would result in undue hardship. There was no basis in law to support applicant’s claim of discrimination under Act. Nor was there evidence to ground claim of discrimination contrary to Charter. In light of the medical reports as well as the relevant policies of Canadian Forces, Chief of Defence Staff reasonably concluded that medical employment limitation was valid, that it violated universality of service principle and that it was in best interests of both applicant and CF that applicant be medically released. Decision of Chief of Defence Staff met reasonableness standard because it was justifiable, transparent and intelligible, falling within range of possible, acceptable outcomes that was defensible in view of facts and law.

Shannon v. Canada (Minister of National Defence) (Aug. 18, 2015, F.C., E. Heneghan J., File No. T-2024-14) 257 A.C.W.S. (3d) 413.

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