Federal Court

Administrative Law

Standard of review of tribunal’s interpretation of “family status” was reasonable

Complainant, who worked as border services officer on rotating shifts, filed complaint alleging discrimination in employment on basis of family status. Complainant alleged Canadian Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) discriminated by limiting fixed day shifts to part-time employment and complainant, who required fixed day shifts to arrange childcare, not eligible for benefits available to full-time employees. At time of Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing, complainant on unpaid leave, intending to return to full-time work when children reached school age. Tribunal found complainant proved prima facie employment discrimination and CBSA did not prove hardship. Tribunal held family status should be interpreted broadly, including needs and obligations naturally flowing from identifying one as parent, including parental childcare responsibilities. Tribunal ordered CBSA to cease discriminatory practices and that complainant be compensated for lost wages and benefits. Attorney General of Canada’s application for judicial review dismissed except in relation to certain remedial orders. Standard of review of tribunal’s interpretation of “family status” in Canadian Human Rights Act reasonableness. While Tribunal interpreting home statute and adjudicating within area of expertise, question did not relate to jurisdictional boundaries nor did interpretation raise constitutional question. Standard of review applicable to tribunal’s finding of prima facie discrimination and remedial orders reasonableness as these matters involved questions of mixed law and fact.

Johnstone v. Canada (Border Services Agency) (Jan. 31, 2013, F.C., Mandamin J., File No. T-1418-10) 223 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1003.

cover image


Subscribers get early and easy access to Law Times.

Law Times Poll

Law Times reports that there is the highest number of lawyer candidates in the upcoming Law Society of Ontario Bencher election since 1995, but turn-out is declining. Do you think voting should be mandatory for all lawyers and paralegals in this election?