MONTRÉAL, April 19, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ - In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Ward v. Quebec (CDPDJ), the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse must refocus its treatment of complaints related to alleged discriminatory remarks.

Principles established by the highest court in the land in the Ward judgement reframe the Commission's jurisdiction in cases where alleged discrimination stems from remarks and is based exclusively on sections 4 and 10 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The application of this revised legal framework has implications for files that were in progress or awaiting processing, as well as those that can now be processed by the Commission.

To be the subject of a complaint to the Commission, comments that target a discriminatory ground (e.g., national or ethnic origin, language, sexual orientation, disability or religion) must also lead to discriminatory treatment in the exercise of one of the rights set out in sections 10 to 19 of the Charter, that is, cause prejudice beyond the right to dignity of the individual or to incite others to discriminate on similar grounds. Thus, cases of discrimination, profiling or harassment in employment, housing, public services or legal acts will remain admissible.

"Since its inception, the Commission has continually adjusted its approach in response to evolving legal frameworks. The recent Supreme Court decision fits this evolving context," said Philippe-André Tessier, President of the Commission.

"Despite the refocusing of our jurisdiction to investigate, remarks targeting grounds of discrimination such as 'race,' national or ethnic origin, colour, sexual orientation, disability or religion remains unacceptable to us in an inclusive and open society. The Commission will continue its mission of promoting and upholding Charter principles as well as ongoing efforts to inform, investigate and make recommendations in cases where Charter rights are under threat. As an organization independent from the government, we continue to work solely for the benefit of the population and the public interest," said Mr. Tessier.

After rigorous analysis of the Ward judgement as well as all cases concerning such matters currently before the Commission, it was determined that several cases in progress or awaiting processing must be closed. The Commission will inform people whose cases are affected.

In keeping with its mission, the Commission will continue its work of raising awareness to combat prejudice that leads to discrimination and exclusion by conducting campaigns that address racism and stereotypes that undermine the right to dignity.

The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Commission) ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.

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Last update: April 19, 2022