Category: Human Rights
Bentley v. Air Canada and Air Canada Pilots Association, 2019 CHRT 37 – Termination of Pension Eligible Pilot’s LTD Benefits Not Discriminatory
Bentley, a pilot employed by Air Canada, was entitled to retire with an unreduced pension, as he was 60 years old and had 25 years of service. On reaching this milestone, Bentley realized that, per the collective agreement, he was no longer entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits. The collective agreement provides that a pilot's LTD benefits may be terminated when the pilot becomes eligible for an unreduced pension . . .
Barker v. Molson Coors Breweries and another (No. 3), 2019 BCHRT 192 – Age Discrimination Exemption Applies to Bona Fide Plans
Barker, an employee of Molson, complained that he was denied certain health and welfare benefits and/or provided inferior benefits, because he was over 65 years of age. The benefits were governed by a letter of understanding (LOU), which provided that employees who worked past age 65 would receive “only the insured welfare benefits provided to employees on retirement as at his normal retirement date . . .
The federal government passed Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, on December 13, 2018 . . .
Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General), 2018 FCA 223 – Reduced Pension for Job Sharing Employees Not Contrary to Charter
Fraser, Pilgrim and Fox (the Appellants) are former members of the RCMP and mothers who took advantage of the RCMP’s job sharing policy to work reduced hours. The Appellants’ pension benefits for their job-sharing periods were based on the hours they regularly worked, and calculated in the same manner as pension benefits are calculated for RCMP members who work part-time hours . . .
Rivard v. Essex (County), 2018 HRTO 1535 – Human Rights Complaint re Denial of Medical Cannabis Coverage Dismissed
Rivard, a dependent of an employee of Essex County (Essex), submitted a claim to have the cost of her medical cannabis covered by the Essex health and dental benefit plan. The claim was denied.
The federal government introduced Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, for first reading on October 29, 2018. Bill C-86 includes amendments to the Canada Pension Plan, Income Tax Act (ITA) and Employment Insurance Act (EI Act), as well as significant amendments to the Canada Labour Code (Code) and the enactment of a new Pay Equity Act (PEA).
Christina Maria Mitas, a Progressive Conservative MPP, has introduced a private member’s bill, Bill 40, Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics), 2018, which, if passed, would amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include genetic characteristics as a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Talos v. Grand Erie District School Board, 2018 HRTO 680 – Tribunal Finds Age Discrimination Exemption for Benefit Plans Violates the Charter
Ed. Note: This case is no longer under appeal, as it was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Talos' group benefits were terminated by his employer when he continued working past age 65. Talos' wife was gravely ill and had no access to benefits other than through Talos' plan.
Talos filed a human rights complaint, arguing age discrimination. In an interim decision, the Human Rights Tribunal held that s. 25.1 of the Human Rights Code is a complete defence to Talos' claim, as it exempts pension and benefit plans that comply with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 from age discrimination claims.
Talos launched a Charter challenge, arguing that s. 25.1 of the Code violates s. 15 of the Charter - the right to equality.
Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund v. Skinner, 2018 NSCA 31 – Court Overturns Human Rights Decision re Medical Marijuana
Skinner suffered from chronic pain as a result of a workplace accident. After finding no relief through conventional drugs, Skinner began using medical marijuana, as prescribed by a doctor.
Skinner sought to have the cost of the marijuana covered by his workplace health and welfare plan – the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan (the Welfare Plan). The Trustees denied Skinner's request, largely because medical marijuana has not been approved by Health Canada and as such it does not have a drug identification number (DIN).
Duncan v. Retail Wholesale Union Pension Plan, 2017 BCSC 2375 – Tribunal Must Reconsider Finding re Bona Fide Pension Plan in Light of the Charter
Duncan, an unmarried member of the Retail Wholesale Union Pension Plan (the Plan), filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Duncan argued that the Plan discriminated against him by providing a significantly greater benefit to married plan members as compared to single plan members, contrary to the British Columbia Human Rights Code (the Code).
Citing the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Potash, the Tribunal held that the Plan was a bona fide pension plan and, therefore, was exempt from the discrimination provisions per s. 13(3)(b) of the Code. (Section 13(3)(b) includes an exemption for discrimination based on marital status as relates "to the operation of a bona fide retirement, superannuation or pension plan.") In reaching this decision, the Tribunal held that it did not need to consider the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, noting that there was no ambiguity in the Code.