Supreme Court of Canada Refuses to Hear an Appeal on Campbell River Family Status Test

A previous Slaw article (which you can read here) discussed the recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision that confirmed that the stringent test set out in Health Sciences Assoc of BC v Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (Campbell River) to determine if there was a duty to accommodate based on family status and if there is a prima facie case of discrimination based on family status, continues to be the applicable test in British Columbia.

Since this decision, the employee was seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to address the inconsistency in the test for family status discrimination across the country.

On August 8, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the leave to appeal the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision, suggesting that the case law across the country is well settled and that although there may be different approaches taken in different jurisdictions, each applicable test is sufficient in ensuring that discrimination on the basis of family status has been appropriately established. As such, the applicable test in British Columbia will continue to be the Campbell River test.

In Campbell River, it was established that a prima facie case of discrimination is made out when a change in a term or condition of employment imposed by an employer results in a serious interference with a substantial parental or other family duty or obligation of the employee.

The case discussed on Slaw also provided insight as to what may be required with respect to establishing “serious interference.”

Employers in British Columbia should ensure all family status accommodation, practices and policies meet the Campbell River test.

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