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Human Rights Law - Discrimination - Types of discrimination - Constructive or adverse effect

Thursday, March 30, 2017 @ 8:00 PM  

Application by Peart for judicial review of a decision of the Human Rights Tribunal that dismissed his discrimination application. The applicant filed his complaint after the Office of the Chief Coroner declined a request to conduct a discretionary inquest into the workplace death of his brother, a migrant farm worker from Jamaica who was employed under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). Police had investigated the death and found the brother had not followed the safety training he had received. The Tribunal found s. 10(5) of the Coroners Act did not discriminate against migrant farm workers by denying them the benefit of mandatory inquests into preventable workplace fatalities. It found that s. 10(5) of the Act had a disproportionate impact on migrant workers. It concluded the purposes underlying the requirement for mandatory inquests in accidental workplace deaths in mining and construction, but not in agriculture, were non-discriminatory.

HELD: Application dismissed. The Tribunal’s decision was reviewable on a reasonableness standard. The Tribunal properly applied the appropriate test to determine whether there was discrimination. It conducted a contextual inquiry and came to a reasonable conclusion that the distinction drawn by s. 10(5) of the Act was not discriminatory. On the evidence before the Tribunal, the workplace fatality rate among SAWP workers was much lower than the rate for construction and mining workers, and the causes of workplace death among SAWP workers were not as varied as they were for construction and mining workers. There was therefore good reason to conduct an inquest into all workplace construction and mining deaths but not all SAWP workplace deaths.