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ENFORCEMENT AND PROCEDURE - Commissions - Powers - Complaints - Appeals and judicial review

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 @ 8:34 AM  

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Applications by 17 complainants for judicial review of a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissing the applicants' complaints against the respondents, Air Canada and the Air Canada Pilots Association. The applicants were pilots whose employment was terminated by Air Canada in 2010 and 2011 pursuant to a collective agreement requiring retirement at age 60. The Association was the designated bargaining agent for Air Canada pilots. The applicants filed human rights complaints against Air Canada and the Association. The Commission dismissed the complaints on the basis it was plain and obvious they could not succeed. The Commission relied upon the exception within s. 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, whereby termination upon reaching normal age of retirement for a particular position was not discriminatory. The Commission cited two prior Federal Court decisions in which age 60 was confirmed as the normal retirement age for Air Canada pilots, and in which s. 15(1)(c) was found constitutionally valid. The applicants sought judicial review.

HELD: Applications dismissed. The applicants failed to establish a different factual context from the circumstances underlying the applicable jurisprudence. The Commission did not err in considering the scope of evidence relevant to the determination of the frivolousness of the complaints. Any prejudice to the rights of the applicants was not a relevant factor, as the proceeding involved the re-litigation of matters previously determined by the Tribunal and upheld by the Federal Courts. The Commission did not err in its reliance on the prior jurisprudence in support of its preliminary dismissal of the complaints. The Commission's conclusion that it was plain and obvious the complaints could not succeed was reasonable.

Gregg v. Air Canada Pilots Assn., [2017] F.C.J. No. 512, Federal Court, P.B. Annis J., May 17, 2017. Digest No. TLD-June122017005