Tag archives: family status

A reminder to BC employers: Family care obligations to accommodate family care needs amid pandemic

Covid-19 has made working from home the new normal for many employees. This new reality has created challenges for employees  who, due to the closure of schools, daycares and other social services, have had to serve as full-time caregivers in addition to carrying out their everyday work tasks. Under these circumstances, it is important for employers to understand their obligations for accommodating the family care needs of employees.

Family status accommodation during Covid-19

The issue of family status accommodation is not new. In past newsletters we have explored how various tribunals across Canada have come up with differing tests on … Continue Reading

A (Not So) New Test for Family Status Discrimination in British Columbia

It is often a challenge for employers to determine whether they have a duty to accommodate an employee’s “family status” under human rights legislation.  Adjudicators across Canada have taken different approaches to assess whether the duty to accommodate family status has been triggered.  The recent B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision in Adair v. Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission (No. 2), 2017 BCHRT 147 (“Adair”), demonstrates that some Tribunal members continue to resist the most stringent test for complainants that is binding law in B.C.


Darcy Adair lost his commercial driver’s license as a result of an epileptic … Continue Reading

New Ontario Statutory Leaves of Absence

The Ontario Employment Standards Amendments Act (Leaves to Help Families) came into force on October 29, 2014, creating three new unpaid family-related leaves for employees: (1) Family Caregiver Leave; (2) Critically Ill Child Care Leave; and (3) Crime-Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave. This post will highlight the salient features of these new provisions affecting Ontario employers.

Entitlement to any one of these leaves is in addition to entitlement to the others, as well as family medical leave under section 49.1 and personal emergency leave under section 50. For all three new leaves, the employee must provide prior written notice … Continue Reading

Case Brief: On family status discrimination and childcare obligations

In May, the Federal Court of Appeal issued decisions in Canadian National Railway Company v Seeley, 2014 FCA 111 and Canada (Attorney General) v Johnstone, 2014 FCA 110, upholding findings of discrimination on the basis of family status made initially by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and upheld by the Trial Division of the Federal Court. In Seeley, an employee who lived in Alberta had ultimately been terminated when she failed to report after being recalled for work in Vancouver. Johnstone involved an employee forced into part-time status when her employer refused to consider her request for … Continue Reading

Federal Court of Appeal clarifies Canadian law on discrimination based on family status

This blog post was written by William Hlibchuk, a partner in the Montréal office.

On May 2, 2014, the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) rendered two decisions relating to discrimination based on family status. In so doing, the court clarified the scope of the prohibited ground of family status contained in the Canadian Human Rights Act, as well as the legal test for finding a prima facie case of discrimination on the same ground.

Although both cases turned on specific facts involving parents that had sought accommodations from their employers based on childcare needs, the common element of … Continue Reading