Commission’s dismissal of complaint was unreasonable

Federal appeal | Human Rights Legislation

APPEALS

Commission’s dismissal of complaint was unreasonable

Applicant purchased home and secured mortgage from respondent bank. Bank later called in mortgage. Applicant alleged that bank discriminated against him on basis of physical disability and that bank only called in loan after learning that cannabis grew in home. Cannabis was being grown in home under federal licence for medical reasons. Applicant complained to Human Rights Commission that bank engaged in discrimination contrary to Canadian Human Rights Act. Commission dismissed applicant’s complaint under s. 41 of Act. Applicant applied to quash commission’s decision. Federal Court Judge found that commission’s decision was reasonable and dismissed application for judicial review. Applicant appealed. Appeal allowed. Federal Court Judge reviewed commission’s decision as if proper investigation had been conducted and assumed no further investigation was required. Real issue was whether it was reasonable for commission to determine that it was plain and obvious that complaint must fail. There was live contest in record before commission, which could not be resolved until it was further investigated under s. 43 of Act. Commission must have engaged in weighing process, which it could not do during s. 41 of Act stage. Only after investigating matter under s. 43 of Act could commission assess evidence and determine whether inquiry was warranted. Commission’s dismissal of complaint under s. 41 of Act was unreasonable.
McIlvenna v. Bank of Nova Scotia (Sep. 17, 2014, F.C.A., Nadon J.A., Trudel J.A., and David Stratas J.A., File No. A-306-13) Decision at 229 A.C.W.S. (3d) 826 was reversed.  246 A.C.W.S. (3d) 159.

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