Contents


BC Human Rights Tribunal

I was discriminated against in a service

These case summaries show examples of the awards the Tribunal has made when a person has suffered injury to their dignity and self-respect because of discrimination. The summaries also show what other awards were made, like compensation for lost wages or other expenses.



Eadie and Thomas v. Riverbend Bed and Breakfast and others (No. 2), 2012 BCHRT 247 ($1,500 each)

Area:                Service available to the public
Grounds:          Sexual orientation
Discrimination: Room reservation cancelled
Expenses:         $1,190 for expenses and wages to attend hearing

The discrimination:   Mr. Eadie and Mr. Thomas reserved a room at a B&B.  When the owner learned the men were a gay couple, they cancelled their reservation. 

Vulnerability:  Mr. Eadie and Mr. Thomas had both faced  demeaning and hurtful conduct throughout their lives because they were gay. 

Effect:  Mr. Eadie was shocked. He found this event quite disturbing. It felt like a "slap in the face" that took him back to his childhood where he was excluded because of his sexual orientation. It made him feel like a second-class citizen. Mr. Thomas was offended. He felt upset and angry. There was no evidence of ongoing trauma, anxiety or other mental or physical harm. 

Bray v. Shearwater Marine and another, 2011 BCHRT 64 ($2,000)

Area:                Service available to the public
Grounds:          Marital status
Discrimination: Denied service because of husband's dispute
Expenses:         $1,337.33 for attendance at hearing

The discrimination:   Shearwater Marine owned or controlled all of the services on a remote island. Mr. Bray had a dispute with Shearwater. Shearwater banned Ms. Bray from entering any of its shops because of her husband.        

Vulnerability:  Ms. Bray did not feel it was possible to live on the island if she could not buy food or fuel from Shearwater.

Effect:  Ms. Bray was humiliated and embarrassed that she could not get to her home on the island for three months, because she was banned, due to the dispute between Shearwater and her husband. 

C1 and Sangha v. Sheraton Wall Centre (No. 2), 2011 BCHRT 147 ($2,500 each)

Area:                Service available to the public
Grounds:          Ancestry and place of origin
Discrimination: Denied group hotel room booking

The discrimination:   The complainants wanted to book hotel rooms for a Bhangra event. Bhangra is a type of folk dance and music from the Punjab region of South Asia. The hotel refused the booking because it had a bad experience with an unrelated Bhangra event. The hotel presumed that any group associated with Bhangra was an unacceptable risk to the hotel.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  The complainants felt hurt and discriminated against. 

Johnson v. AC Taxi and Williams (No. 2), 2008 BCHRT 242 ($2,500)

Area:                Service available to the public      
Grounds:          Physical Disability (Multiple injuries, addiction)
Discrimination: Treated poorly by taxi driver

The discrimination:   Mr. Johnson took a taxi. The driver was speeding and hitting bumps. Mr. Johnson told the driver he had just had surgery and goind over the bumps was painful. He asked him so slow down. The driver got angry and sped up. The driver swore at him and called him names such as “weirdo”, “cripple”, and “gimp”. Mr. Johnson tried to get out of the cab.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Johnson is a very vulnerable person with many physical and mental disabilities.

Effect:  The driver did not treat Mr. Johnson with dignity and respect.
Mr. Johnson said the discrimination worsened his injuries. But, there was no medical evidence about the effect, either physically or mentally.

Ellis v. Snow Trails Sales and Service and Meiorin (No. 3), 2008 BCHRT 152 ($5,000)

Area:                Service available to the public
Grounds:          Family status
Discrimination: Denied access to mail due to store's no-stroller policy

The discrimination:   A convenience store had the only postal outlet in a small town. There was no door to door mail delivery. Residents needed to rent a mail box in the postal outlet to receive mail. Ms. Ellis tried to enter the store to go to her mail box. Her child was in a stroller. The store would not let her in due to its “no-stroller” policy. She had to wait outside until someone she trusted came by. She would then ask that person to either watch her child or to go in and pick up her mail. This went on for one to two months.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Ellis was denied entry to the only place in town where she could get her mail because she was a mother and caregiver to her young child who needed a stroller for transportation.     

Effect:  Ms. Ellis was embarrassed and humiliated when she was forced to wait outside the store for someone to help her pick up her mail. The situation caused her anxiety.

Hall v. B. C. (Ministry of Environment) (No. 6), 2010 BCHRT 189 ($5,000)

Area:                Service available to the public      
Grounds:          Physical disability (nerve damage affecting ability to walk)
Discrimination: Denied hunting permit
Expenses:         $500 for processing of the complaint
Order to take steps: The Ministry was ordered to take several steps to enable hunters with disabilities to use a vehicle

The discrimination:   Mr. Hall wanted to hunt in areas where vehicles were not usually allowed. He applied for a permit that would let him use a motor vehicle. The government gave him a permit that let a companion retrieve any dead animals that Mr. Hall killed. However, a first shot does not always kill an animal. Hunters often have to walk over to a wounded animal and shoot it again. A companion cannot legally shoot an animal. Mr. Hall asked for a license for a companion who could shoot the animals that he could not reach on foot himself due to his disability. The government refused. Mr. Hall missed several hunting seasons.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Hall had nerve damage that severely limited his ability to walk.

Effect:  Mr. Hall had been an avid hunter his entire life.  Due to the discrimination, he could no longer hunt. His dignity and self-respect were negatively affected.  He could no longer provide organic meat for his family or participate in a social and cultural activity that he really enjoyed.

Kelly v. B. C. (Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General) (No. 3), 2011 BCHRT 183 ($5,000)

Area:                Service available to the public      
Grounds:          Ancestry and religion
Discrimination: Denied access to Aboriginal spiritual services while in prison

The discrimination:   Mr. Kelly was in prison. He is of Aboriginal ancestry and has a belief in Aboriginal spiritual practices. Prisons must provide religious or spiritual programs. The prison supported Aboriginal spiritual practices, such as sweat lodges and circles. An inmate had to ask the prison to see a Chaplain or Native Liaison. Mr. Kelly made many requests to see a Native Liaison when he was in segregation. He did not receive a visit from one. When he asked to see a Chaplain, he got a visit in a reasonable time. When he asked for Aboriginal spiritual literature, he did not get it. When he asked for Christian literature, he got it in a reasonable time.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Kelly has vulnerability as an Aboriginal inmate, given the historical treatment and experience of Aboriginal people in the Canadian criminal justice system. He also has vulnerability because of his young age.

Effect:  Mr. Kelly said he was frustrated when no one answered his requests to see a Native Liaison. He said he was in personal crisis when he was in segregation. The seven months in segregation were the lowest times of his life. At times he was suicidal. He felt an Aboriginal spiritual advisor would have helped him. He thought he would not have gotten so angry. The services may have helped Mr. Kelly to rehabilitate himself. He lost the benefit the services might have had during his time in prison. However, some of the evidence about the effect on Mr. Kelly was related to his general frustration with being in segregation and the conditions of being in prison.

Moore v. BC (Ministry of Education) and School District No. 44, 2005 BCHRT 580 ($10,000)

Area:               Service available to the public
Grounds:          Mental disability (dyslexia)
Discrimination: Denied educational services
Expenses:         Tutoring, private school tuition, travel expenses, and expenses related to expert evidence

The discrimination:   Jeffrey Moore had severe learning disabilities. He needed earlier and more intensive remediation. A school district did not ensure his needs were accommodated from Kindergarten to Grade 3. At that point, he went to a private school.

Vulnerability:  Jeffery was extremely vulnerable because he was very young and had a serious learning disability. Dyslexia is a severe barrier to learning. Students need adequate supports to access the benefit of the educational services provided by public school.

Effect:  Jeffery suffered as a result of the failure to accommodate learning disabilities. His teachers noted his anxiety. He struggled academically. He got migraines. An expert witness said the migraines were related to the stress arising from his learning difficulties. By the time he started Grade 4 at his new school, Jeffery was essentially a non-reader who was quiet and withdrawn.

Note: This decision and the orders set out above were upheld in Moore v. British Columbia, 2012 SCC 61.
 

Laberge v. Martier School of Hair Design & Esthetics and another (No. 2), 2010 BCHRT 302 ($10,000)

Area:                Service available to the public
Grounds:          Physical disability (spina bifida)
Discrimination: Treated badly in educational services
Expenses:         $3,500 for student loans
Wage loss:       $3,000 for future income

The discrimination:   Ms. Laberge enrolled in a course to become a nail technician. She told her instructor that she had to use the washroom frequently because of her disability. There was no odour related to the disability, but the instructor talked to Ms. Laberge about an “odour problem” several times. The school made Ms. Laberge leave classes early. They made her move from the day to the evening class. They made her move one-on-one instruction. This happened over for four months. In the end, they did not provide her with the full course instruction hours.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Laberge was very vulnerable as she was born with spina bifida, was paralysed from her ribs down and used a wheelchair.  She had undergone thirteen bladder surgeries and had a catheter inserted through her bellybutton.  Her bladder was overactive and she took medication to reduce the number of washroom breaks required.  She was very careful about her hygiene and always carried a change of clothes with her in case there was any leakage.  The Tribunal accepted there was no odour problem in this case. 

Effect:  She was humiliated and embarrassed.  On several occasions, Ms. Laberge had to collect her things and leave class, often in tears, in front of her classmates.  Once, she was forced to sit in the hallway for four hours. The school’s conduct and conversations with her about her physical disability were disrespectful and hurtful. This situation was extremely stressful. Ms. Laberge had panic attacks, became depressed and lost confidence in herself.

Rai and others v. Shark Club of Langley (No. 2), 2013 BCHRT 204 ($10,000 each)

Area:                Service customarily available to the public             
Grounds:          Race, colour, ancestry
Discrimination: Denied entrance to a bar

The discrimination:   The three complainants were Indo-Canadian.They arrived at a club for a graduation party. The doorman did not let them in. He was letting in white people. Mr. Rai took a picture of the doorman. The doorman swore at him and threw his shoe into the parking lot. The doorman pushed another of the complainants.

Complainants’ vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect on complainants:  The complainants were humiliated and frustrated by the very public display of discrimination. The club made the impact worse because it kept denying what happened. It insisted that the doorman’s behaviour was innocent.

Radek v. Henderson Development (Canada) and Securiguard Services (No. 3), 2005 BCHRT 302 ($15,000)

Area:                Service customarily available to the public
Grounds:          Race (Aboriginal) and disability (artificial leg)
Discrimination: Treated as “suspicious”, asked to leave shopping mall
Expenses:         Hearing related expenses
Order to take steps: Several steps ordered, including anti-discrimination training for security personnel with both anti-racism and disability awareness components

The discrimination: Ms. Radek is an Aboriginal person. She walked with a limp due to a disability. For eight months, security guards at a mall treated Ms. Radek as "suspicious" based on her appearance and negative stereotypes about Aboriginal people. The security guards were following a policy that required them to remove "suspicious" people from the mall. For example, once, a security guard asked where Ms. Radek and her friend were going in a harsh tone. They did not respond. The security guard followed closely behind them and kept asking questions. Ms. Radek stopped and asked the guard why she harassed her every day. The guard did not answer and told Ms. Radek to leave the mall. The guard's supervisor also told her to leave the mall. When Ms. Radek ignored him and started walking towards the coffee shop, the supervisor touched her twice when he tried to stop her. The security manager then arrived. By this time, Ms. Radek and her friend shouted that security was racist and trying to keep natives off of the property. The security manager told them to leave. Ms. Radek told the guards to call the police but they refused to do so. Finally, Ms. Radek and her friend left the mall and called the police themselves. 

Vulnerability:  Ms. Radek was an Aboriginal woman with a disability. She had an artificial leg and walked with a limp.  She was extremely vulnerable as she had suffered abuse and racism throughout her life. Those traumatic experiences made her more vulnerable to the harassment that she suffered in this case. Due to her limited income and mobility problems, Ms. Radek's shopping options were very limited. The mall was across the street from where she lived and she often used the shops and services there.

Effect:  The harassment had a severe emotional impact on Ms. Radek. She was insulted, humiliated and angry. She felt there was nothing anyone could do to take away the hurt or to give her dignity back. The security guards' conduct reminded her of previous experiences of racism. She never went the mall again by herself again. She did not feel good walking inside the mall and felt safer on the streets of the Downtown Eastside.

Dawson v. Vancouver Police Dept, 2015 BCHRT 54 ($15,000)

Area:                Services (medical care in police custody; policing)
Grounds:          Sex (transgender)
Discrimination: Denial of medical care; referring to complainant as male
Order to take steps: Adopt policies that allow identification of trans people without discrimination and training

The discrimination:   Ms. Dawson is transgender. She had had surgery and was concerned about post-surgical care. She was required to dilate her vagina. She understood there were serious long-term effects if she did not comply. She was in police custody for two days. A nurse did not allow Ms. Dawson to go to the hospital. The nurse did not get the tools Ms. Dawson needed. The nurse did not believe Ms. Dawson had a “real” surgery. The nurse treated Ms. Dawson as a male. He did nothing to address Ms. Dawson`s concerns. At another time, the police referred to Ms. Dawson with male pronouns.

Vulnerability:  The complainant is transgender. She had recently had sex-reassignment surgery. This was life-changing. She needed post-surgical care while she was in police custody.

Effect:  Ms. Dawson experienced emotional and psychological trauma as a result of her interaction with the nursing staff. She testified that she feels embarrassed and humiliated when the police referred to her as “Jeffry” or used male pronouns.

J and J obo R v. BC (Ministry of Children and Family Development), 2009 BCHRT 61 ($20,000)

Area:                Services    
Grounds:          Mental Disability (Noonan Syndrome)
Discrimination: Denied a youth service worker
Order to take steps: Provide services and pay an amount equal to the value of the services denied

The discrimination:   R was 12 years old. He had Noonan Syndrome, which is a chronic disability. It affected his behaviour and development. His parent applied to the government for a youth service worker. R had many problems with daily life. His intellectual functioning was borderline. His doctors said he had “significant and pervasive social, cognitive, academic and adaptive functioning”. The government denied the service because it had a policy that required a child to have an IQ below 70 before it would provide that service. R’s IQ was over 70.

Vulnerability: R was a child with severe disabilities. His characteristics made him vulnerable. He was very immature. He often behaved inappropriately. He was small and had an unusual appearance. His peers teased and excluded him. He had no friends. R was subject to vulnerability, disadvantage and stereotypes based on his disability.

Effect:  There was no direct evidence about the effect on R of not receiving the services. However, it was reasonable to infer that R would have benefited significantly. His problems with behaviour were serious and growing. A doctor recommended this kind of service to help R develop life and social skills. It would be difficult if not impossible for R to now get the full benefit of the service. The impact of not getting the service at an earlier age was probably irreparable.

Dunkley v. UBC and another, 2015 BCHRT 100 ($35,000)

Area:                Employment and Services
Grounds:          Physical disability (Deafness)
Discrimination: Removed from medical residency program
Wage loss:       For approximately 7 ½ months
Expenses:         For tuition and other expenses
Order to take steps: Reinstatement at Dr. Dunkley’s option

The discrimination:   Dr. Dunkley was in a medical residency program at UBC. As part of the program, she worked for a health care provider. Dr. Dunkley is Deaf. She needed sign language interpretation. UBC and her employer decided that interpreters cost too much. They removed her from the program.

Vulnerability:  After medical school, a doctor must complete a residency program to work as a doctor. When Dr. Dunkley began the program at UBC, that was the only program open to her. She needed interpreters to participate. She was in a very vulnerable position. When UBC and her employer removed her from the program, she was powerless with regard to achieving her career goals.

Effect:  Being a doctor was Dr. Dunkley’s “calling”. The discrimination derailed her residency. It risked derailing her career. It deprived her of work and income. She testified that she was traumatized when she was told she could not continue in the program, and that she went into a depression.

Kelly v. University of British Columbia (No. 4), 2013 BCHRT 302 ($75,000)

Area:                Employment and Services
Grounds:          Mental disability (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Non-Verbal Learning Disability)      
Discrimination: Removed from medical residency program
Lost wages:      $385,194.70 plus tax gross up
Expenses:         $14,457.13 for expert reports, tuition, and attendance at the heairng

The discrimination:   Dr. Kelly was in a medical residency program at UBC. UBC took some steps to accommodate his disabilities, but then removed him from the program without taking all reasonable steps. As a result, Dr. Kelly lost his job as a medical resident.

Vulnerability:  Dr. Kelly was in a vulnerable position. He was a student and a resident with mental disabilities. He complied with UBC’s requests for medical information. He was dependent on UBC to accommodate his disabilities so that he could complete the program.

Effect:  Dr. Kelly wanted to be a doctor for most of his life. He spent a lot of time and resources working toward this goal. He lost the chance to complete the program, and to practice as a doctor. He restarted the program after the Tribunal’s decision, but this was about six years later. The discrimination had a serious effect on him, especially in the context of his family dynamics. He felt deep humiliation and embarrassment. He had symptoms of depression. He lacked interest in life. He had trouble sleeping and other health problems. He felt worthless, despair, and uncertain about his future. He thought about “ending it”. He was embarrassed looking for other work when he had a medical degree. He lost his income. He had to move home with his parents. He isolated himself socially. His relationships were strained.