The Lynch List, 18-May-2010

My apologies for the extended hiatus:

First: Great News! Christian Horizons has won their case to overturn a previous OHRT ruling! The OHRT had decided that the non-profit organization, which supplies care to the elderly and handicapped within the context of a Christian mission, was not allowed to restrict its hiring to those of the Christian faith. It awarded the complainant, a lesbian who had been let go by the organization, $23,000. It also forced the non-profit to revise its hiring policies “in consultation with the Ontario Human Rights Commission”.

The Ontario Divisional Court Justice didn’t like the idea of the OHRC running all of our non-profits and private businesses. It also sided with Christian Horizons on their position that it operates its facilities for religious reasons, therefore qualifying it for an exemption under the Human Rights Code. According to LifeSite:

The judge wrote: “It is clear that Christian Horizons operates its group homes for religious reasons – in order to carry out a Christian mission, imitating the work of Jesus Christ by serving those in need.”

“It would not be doing this work of assisting people with disabilities in a Christian home environment but for the religious calling of those involved,” the judge added.

The court also struck down a Tribunal directive forcing Christian Horizons to review its employment in consultation with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Besides a resounding victory for Christian Horizons, it represents yet another high-profile decision by the Tribunals that was overturned in a real court. I’ve lost count…

Second: The BC Human Rights Tribunal believes that the act of distributing six letters to neighbors constitutes a public statement that falls under the Human Rights Code’s censorship provision. What is this complaint all about? The BCHRT is stepping into a neighborhood dispute between two people, siding with one because she happens to be a lesbian. Heeeeeere comes the strongarm – er – mediation!

Third: This just in – A Womens’ Study professor is considering a human rights complaint against Stephen Harper’s government for handing out research grants on the basis of competency, rather than sex. Another complaint alleging lack of discrimination on a prohibited ground…

Fourth: Dismissal of a complaint? Heck no, we haven’t even had our entertaining mediation session yet – and we also haven’t as yet fleeced the respondent for thousands of dollars in legal fees. The “legal duty to accommodate” needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis through Human Rights Tribunals, on the defendent’s – and taxpayer’s – dime.

Finally, a few insignificant pixels, but very true ones, pulled out of the blogosphere:

It is for that reason that attempts by government to censor hate speech, such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission or the “international organization” favored by French foreign minister Kouchner, as noted in an earlier post, are futile.  As intrinsically political organizations they must inevitably be blind to hate speech directed at their political foes, or “out-groups.”  I know of not a single instance of such an organization raising the least objection to the mindless demonization and villification of the United States, even when it was at its most extreme.  The only real antidote to hate speech is free speech.

3 Responses to The Lynch List, 18-May-2010

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m seeing mixed reports about the Christian Horizons case:

    Does anyone have a copy of the actual decision?

  2. Kevin:

    Yes, agreed. I did exult too soon. We can take solace in the fact that the Tribunal had its hand slapped again for going way too far with the application of the Code and the remedies ordered, but the ruling appears to pose more questions than it answers. I suspect.

    I’ll definitely post the decision when it is published on the Divisional Court’s CanLII website, probably in two weeks or so.

  3. Kevin says:

    My understanding is that the Court still ordered them to strike out the requirement that employees refrain from same-sex relationship, and still ordered that there be anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training relating to sexual orientation. The Tribunal went too far insofar as its order covered issues other than sexual orientation, which were not the issues in the case.

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