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Hicks v. HRSDC (family status discrimination - eldercare)

In its first decision recognizing eldercare as the basis for family status discrimination, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that HRSDC engaged in "wilful and reckless" discrimination and awarded more than $35,000 to a retired PIPSC member.

In 2004, HRSDC denied Mr. Hicks’ application for the Treasury Board’s Temporary Dual Residence Assistance benefit, intended to offset the expenses of maintaining two homes in the initial stages of a relocation. Mr. Hicks had been relocated by his employer, HRSDC, to Gatineau, Que., but his wife had to remain in Sydney, N.S. because her mother required her care and could not be moved due to her ill health.

Mr. Hicks filed a grievance, which was ultimately denied by the PSLRB in 2007 in a decision that excluded consideration of human rights issues.

Mr. Hicks had filed a complaint against HRSDC at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2006. The Commission initially declined to deal with his complaint, which led to a judicial review before the Federal Court. Mr. Hicks prevailed and the Federal Court sent the matter back to the Commission. In 2011, the Commission referred Mr. Hicks’ case to the Tribunal for a hearing.

Mr. Hicks’ case was finally heard by the Tribunal in spring 2013. The Tribunal ordered HRSDC to pay Mr. Hicks $15,000 for pain and suffering, and the maximum amount permitted for wilful and reckless damages, $20,000. The Tribunal ordered the parties to come to agreement on the TDRA amount, but retained jurisdiction for three months over the issue, in the event that no such agreement is reached.

The Attorney General then brought a judicial review application of the Tribunal’s decision awarding Mr. Hick damages. The Institute represented Mr. Hicks at the Federal Court and was successful again. As a result, the Tribunal’s decision was maintained. Although Mr. Hicks’ battle has been a success story, he has only received his payment this week.

Publish Date: 07-AUG-2015 10:18 AM