Discretionary Decisions Under the Human Rights Code

A discretionary decision means there is not one right answer. The tribunal reviews all of the information and then “exercises its discretion” about how to decide.

Most decisions that the Tribunal makes are “discretionary”:

The court will only give a remedy if the discretionary decision is patently unreasonable. Learn more about the Patent reasonableness test.

Screening of complaints

Screening out of complaint

Dela Merced v. Aluminum Curtain Wall System and another (17 July 2012), Cranbrook 21618 (BCSC)

Engler v. BC Human Rights Tribunal (11 March 2010), Vancouver S094582 (S.C.)

Andrews v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2007 BCSC 1079

L.M.A. v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2006 BCSC 1889

Shilander v. BC Human Rights Tribunal, 2005 BCSC 728

Sufficiency of information required in complaint – amendment allowed during screening

Lake City Casinos Ltd. v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal) et al., 2006 BCSC 88

Timeliness: Section 22 and Section 27(1)(g)

BC Court of Appeal

Chen v. Surrey (City), 2015 BCCA 57, affirming Chen v. City of Surrey, 2014 BCSC 539 (s. 22(2))

British Columbia (Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General) v. Mzite, 2014 BCCA 220, leave to appeal refused [2014] SCCA No. 358 (s. 22(3))

B.C. (Ministry of the Attorney General et al.) v. Sanghera (25 July 2013), Vancouver S130713 (B.C.S.C.); aff’d 2014 BCCA 221

BC Supreme Court

Brewers’ Distributor Ltd. v. Kenworthy, 2015 BCSC 1670 (s. 22(2))

Adolphs v. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, 2014 BCSC 298 (s. 22(3))

Patel v. Greater Vancouver Regional District, 2013 BCSC 2154 (s. 22(3))

Legere v PHSA and others, 2013 BCSC 306

Lewis v. British Columbia (Public Safety and Solicitor General), 2013 BCSC 1980

Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161

Lorenz v. BC Human Rights Tribunal et al, (23 February 2011), Vancouver S108205 (S.C.)

HMTQ v. McGrath, 2009 BCSC 180

Cowie v. Grand Forks District Savings Credit Union, 2006 BCSC 2008

Callaghan v. University of Victoria et al, 2006 BCSC 1503

Deferral: Section 25

Overwaitea Food Group LP v. Bates, 2006 BCSC 1201

Dismissal: Section 27(1)(b)

Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161 at paras. 65-83

Engler v. BC Human Rights Tribunal (11 March 2010), Vancouver Reg. S094582 (S.C.)

Dismissal: Section 27(1)(c)

BC Court of Appeal

Edgewater Casino v. Chubb-Kennedy, 2015 BCCA 9

Yaremy v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2015 BCCA 228

Routkovskaia v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2012 BCCA 141

Gichuru v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal), 2010 BCCA 191, leave to appeal denied, [2010] SCCA No. 217

Berezoutskaia v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2006 BCCA 95, leave to appeal denied [2006] SCCA No. 171

BC Supreme Court

Francescutti v. Vancouver (City), 2016 BCSC 1191 (appeal filed)

School H v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2016 BCSC 672

Bartuk v. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, 2016 BCSC 74

Chiang v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2014 BCSC 1859

Singh v. Kane Shannon & Weiler Management Corp., 2014 BCSC 1043

Teck Coal Limited v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2014 BCSC 642

Novikova v. Thompson Rivers University, 2013 BCSC 2156

De Silva v. Fraser Health Authority, 2012 BCSC 1710

Salvo v. Shoppers Drug Mart Store #2222, 2012 BCSC 1789

University of British Columbia v. Chan, 2013 BCSC 942

Rush v. City of Richmond and another, 2012 BCSC 1661

Gardezi v. Bennett, 2012 BCSC 196

Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161

Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal v. Hill, 2011 BCCA 49

White v. Roxy Cabaret, 2011 BCSC 374

Pirsel v. Northern Health Authority, 2011 BCSC 1309

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia v. Rex Yuan and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal (8 July 2008), Victoria 07-0273 (S.C.), aff’d 2009 BCCA 279

Gray v. UBC Students’ Union, 2008 BCSC 1530

Yang v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2008 BCSC 1456

Evans v. University of British Columbia, 2008 BCSC 1026

Rojas v. EaglePicher Energy Products Corp. et al., 2006 BCSC 1101

Cariboo Chevrolet Pontiac Buick GMC Ltd. v. Becker, 2006 BCSC 43

Carson v. Knucwentwecw Society, 2006 BCSC 1779

Chaloob v. Vancouver Police Department and British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2005 BCSC 1836

Dismissal: Section 27(1)(d)

De Silva v. Fraser Health Authority, 2012 BCSC 1710

Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161

Karbalaeiali v. British Columbia ( Human Rights Tribunal), 2010 BCSC 1130

Carter v. Travelex Canada Limited, 2009 BCCA 180

Cariboo Chevrolet Pontiac Buick GMC Ltd. v. Becker, 2006 BCSC 43

Dismissal: Section 27(1)(e)

Lungu v. British Columbia (Ministry of Children and Family Development) (20 February 2014), unreported decision Vancouver Reg. No. S120705 (B.C.S.C.)

Dismissal: Section 27(1)(f)

Supreme Court of Canada

British Columbia (Workers Compensation Board) v. Figliola, 2011 SCC 52

BC Court of Appeal

Baharloo v. University of British Columbia, 2016 BCCA 277

BC Supreme Court

University of British Columbia v Chan, 2013 BCSC 942

HMTQ v. Matuszewski, 2008 BCSC 915

Hines v. Canpar Industries Ltd., 2006 BCSC 800

Dismissal: Section 27(1)(g)

See timeliness of complaints.

Remedy

BC Court of Appeal

University of British Columbia v. Kelly, 2016 BCCA 271 (wage loss and injury to dignity)

Gichuru v. The Law Society of British Columbia, 2014 BCCA 396 (wage loss and injury to dignity)

J.J. v. School District No. 43 (Coquitlam), 2013 BCCA 67 (wage loss)

Silver Campsites Ltd. v. James, 2013 BCCA 292 (injury to dignity)

Morgan-Hung v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2011 BCCA 122 (wage loss)

BC Supreme Court

Ismail v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2013 BCSC 1079

Victoria Gardens Housing Cooperative v Nicolosi, 2013 BCSC 1989

McIntosh v. Metro Aluminum Products, 2012 BCSC 345 (wage loss)

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation v. Asad, 2010 BCSC 33 at paras. 33-39 and 180-184

Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd./Ltee. v. Kerr, 2010 BCSC 427 at para. 94, aff’d 2011 BCCA 266

Costs

Forsyth v. Coast Mountain Bus Company, 2013 BCCA 257, leave to appeal denied [2013] SCCA No. 338

Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association v. Pivot Legal Society, 2010 BCSC 807

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation v. Asad, 2010 BCSC 33 at paras. 34, 168 – 171

Stein v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2017 BCSC 1268, paras. 228, 233

Reconsideration

Karbalaeiali v. British Columbia ( Human Rights Tribunal), 2010 BCSC 1130 at paras 38, 64-65

Solowan v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2007 BCSC 752 at paras. 33-34

Other

Admission and weight of expert evidence

Providence Health Care v. Dunkley, 2016 BCSC 1383

Time limit for making dismissal application

Vancouver (City) v. Grant, 2006 BCSC 1855

Refusal to issue a summons

Qin v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal) et al, 2005 BCSC 1662 at paras. 32-33

Ruling that interpreter would be used

Qin v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal) et al, 2005 BCSC 1662 at para. 40

Deferral of jurisdictional question to hearing

Ismail v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2013 BCSC 1079

HMTQ v. Swetlishoff, 2010 BCSC 1252 at paras 37-41

Determination of "arguable relevance" in a disclosure application

Stein v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2017 BCSC 1268, paras. 174-175

Admission of evidence

Stein v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2017 BCSC 1268, para. 181

Patent Unreasonableness

Section 59(4) defines a patently unreasonable decision.

The courts have said that:

The test in section 59(4) is:

A discretionary decision is patently unreasonable if the discretion

(a) is exercised arbitrarily or in bad faith,

(b) is exercised for an improper purpose,

(c) is based entirely or predominantly on irrelevant factors , or

(d) fails to take statutory requirements into account.

Statutory definition applies

Evans v. University of British Columbia, 2008 BCSC 1026

Berezoutskaia v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2006 BCCA 95, leave to appeal denied, [2006] SCCA No. 171 (QL)

The court must show deference (respect)

British Columbia (Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General) v. Mzite, 2014 BCCA 220 at paras. 49-50

Adolphs v. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, 2014 BCSC 298 at paras. 19-20

Routskovia v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2012 BCCA 141 at paras. 27-28

Stein v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2017 BCSC 1268, paras. 194-198

Discretion exercised arbitrarily or in bad faith (s. 59(4)(a))

British Columbia (Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General) v. Mzite, 2014 BCCA 220

University of British Columbia v. Chan, 2013 BCSC 942

Salvo v. Shoppers Drug Mart Store #2222, 2012 BCSC 1789

Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161

Silver Campsites Ltd. v. James, 2013 BCCA 292

Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal v. Hill, 2011 BCCA 49

Berezoutskaia v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, 2006 BCCA 95, leave to appeal denied, [2006] SCCA No. 171 (QL)

Discretion exercised for an improper purpose (s. 59(4)(b))

British Columbia (Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General) v. Mzite, 2014 BCCA 220

Silver Campsites Ltd. v. James, 2013 BCCA 292

Discretion based entirely or predominantly on irrelevant factors (s. 59(4)(c))

Adolphs v. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, 2014 BCSC 298 at paras. 31-35

University of British Columbia v. Chan, 2013 BCSC 942

Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161

British Columbia (Workers Compensation Board) v. Figliola, 2011 SCC 52

HMTQ v. Matuszewski, 2008 BCSC 915

Discretion fails to take statutory requirements into account (s. 59(4)(d))

University of British Columbia v. Chan, 2013 BCSC 942

Victoria Gardens Housing Cooperative v. Nicolosi, 2013 BCSC 1989

Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161

ICBC v. Yuan, 2009 BCCA 279