Out of town for awhile, but here’s the latest…
First: The complaint against the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association for its Ambassadors program has been dismissed - thankfully. Though it wasn’t without severe cost to the group.
The 20-day hearing ultimately cost the DVBIA in the “low six figures” in legal costs, which are not recoverable, said Mr. Gauthier. Before the tribunal, the DVBIA asserted that the complaint was a politically motivated attack, and questioned the authority of the two complainants to speak for Vancouver’s homeless.
The complaint was originally brought forward by two anti-poverty groups, Pivot Legal Society and VANDU (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users). The complaint was based on the faulty “disproportionate” reasoning that has been successfully used elsewhere, such as the Montreal taxi licence complaint. At issue in the complaint was the Ambassadors’ policy of “removal”, at which a private security guard asks someone who is breaking the law to desist and move along. Private citizens are not permitted to do such things, Pivot argued, because lawbreakers are disproportionately disabled and/or aboriginal.
But in their dismissal, the Tribunal showed some signs that it would have agreed with Pivot should they have gotten enough homeless persons to actually show up at a courthouse. Pivot says they found a silver lining in the ruling: the Tribunal member appears not to have accepted DVBIA’s assertion that policing behaviours is not discriminatory. Says Tribunal member Tonie Beharrall: “[Removal requests], in and of themselves, communicate, in part, that the individual is socially undesirable,” wrote the Tribunal member.
Undesirable? You bet someone vandalizing my business is undesirable. If they engage in socially aberrant behavior that violates the rights of others, what should we do then, Mr. Beharrell? “Celebrate” their “diversity”?
Second: Oh no, the Pinto Review hasn’t responded to AODA’s letter. That must mean that there is “real disorganization, poor planning, and grossly inadequate outreach to the public”! many more gripes and complaints about Pinto’s review of the Ontario human rights system can be found here. Among their misguided objections, mostly on the subject of the Commission having far too little power, the AODA has a couple of good ones:
12. There remains serious concern about the fact that the Human Rights Tribunal has the power to make rules of procedure that violate the fair hearing guarantees in the Statutory Powers Procedure Act…
14. The unelected Human Rights Tribunal has taken on itself the role of setting the standard for deciding when a case should not get a full hearing on the merits. Only the Legislature should be deciding this, in legislation.
Third: The latest “clash of rights” has not abated – the rights of a breastfeeding mom to bare in public vs the right of parents to protect their children from naked boobs – on Facebook.
Fourth: The rules are different for girls as they are for boys when it comes to kids’ sports leagues. But now a complaint is being considered on behalf of the boys, not the girls. The issue is that girls can play in both rep and high school hockey. Boys cannot – they must choose one or the other. Think the OHRT will step in when it’s boys at the disadvantage? We’ll see.