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British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal is a quasi-judicial human rights body in British Columbia, Canada. It was established under the British Columbia Human Rights Code. It is responsible for "accepting, screening, mediating and adjudicating human rights complaints."[1]

Responsibility for the province's Human Rights Code was originally divided between the BC Human Rights Commission, which was responsible for investigation and compliance, and the Tribunal, which was solely an adjudicative body. In 2003, the government of Gordon Campbell abolished the Commission as well as the BC Human Rights Advisory Council as a cost-saving measure while expanding the responsibilities of the Tribunal.[2][3]

Notable casesEdit

Smith v Knights of ColumbusEdit

In 2005, a Knights of Columbus council in Port Coquitlam, BC, was fined $1,000,[4] after the Council's Hall Manager signed a contract for the use of their facilities and then canceled when they became aware that it was for a same-sex wedding reception.[5] The two women said they were unaware that the facility was affiliated with the Catholic Church. The tribunal ruled the Council was within its rights to refuse to rent it based on their religious convictions but fined them "for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect" of the women.[4]

Datt v. McDonald’s RestaurantsEdit

In 2007, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada was ordered to pay an employee $50,000 plus interest to compensate her for lost income, dignity and self-respect.[6][7] The employee was a long-time employee at a Vancouver McDonald's restaurant who eventually acquired a skin condition which made hand washing painful. McDonald's corporate policy, BC's Health Act and its Food Premises Regulation, along with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, require or recommend rigorous hygiene policies on the part of food handlers. At McDonald's restaurants all staff members, including the manager, are required to handle food. McDonald's granted the employee disability leave three times while she consulted doctors and tried various lotions, but after two and on half years, the employee was dismissed from her job. The tribunal ruled McDonald's had not done enough to accommodate her skin condition.

Eva v Spruce Hill ResortEdit

In 2018, the Tribunal awarded over $173,000 in total to seven former employees of the Spruce Hill Resort and Spa in Cariboo, who said the owner discriminated against them because they were Caucasian.[8] Tribunal chair Diana Juricevic found "that over a period of months, the owner repeatedly said that he wanted to replace Caucasian employees with ethnically Chinese employees to reduce labour costs."[9] All the complainants had either quit or were fired in August 2016.[10]

Yaniv v. Various Waxing SalonsEdit

In 2018, Jessica Yaniv filed discrimination complaints against 13 waxing salons alleging that they refused to provide Brazilian waxes to her because she is transgender.[11][12] In response to the complaints, several of the estheticians said that they lacked the required training to wax male genitalia, or that they were not comfortable doing so for religious or personal reasons.[13] Thus, for them, being transgender was not the issue, but having male genitalia.[14] Oral argument was heard in July 2019. The case garnered significant international attention, including a segment on Tucker Carlson's Fox News channel show.[12] It was also cited as a factor in the Australian Liberal-National Coalition's decision to oppose a proposed gender self-identification law in Victoria, Australia.[15]

In October 2019, the Tribunal ruled against Yaniv and ordered her to pay $6,000 in restitution split equally among three of the service providers. The ruling was critical of Yaniv stating she “targeted small businesses, manufactured the conditions for a human rights complaint, and then leveraged that complaint to pursue a financial settlement from parties who were unsophisticated and unlikely to mount a proper defence”, and admonished her for using human rights law as a "weapon". For this reason the court ruled not only that, since none of the salons advertised waxing services for male genitals, they did not discriminate against Yaniv on the basis of her gender identity, but also rejected the complaint regarding the refusal to wax Yaniv's arms and legs.[16][17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Human Rights Tribunal". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2008-06-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-06-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "Smith and Chymyshyn v. Knights of Columbus" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  5. ^ "B.C. tribunal awards lesbian couple damages". Archived from the original on 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  6. ^ Datt v. McDonald’s Restaurants (No. 3), 2007 BCHRT 324.
  7. ^ Levant, Ezra (April 2, 2009). "Enough's enough: how McDonald's hand-washing policy was overruled". Maclean's. Rogers. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  8. ^ Eva obo others v. Spruce Hill Resort and another, 2018 BCHRT 238.
  9. ^ "Canada resort staff fired for being white". BBC News. 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  10. ^ "B.C. Human Rights Tribunal finds resort owner schemed to replace Caucasian workers | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  11. ^ Greenfield, Beth (July 24, 2019). "Trans woman who was refused waxing services kicks off identity wars online". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  12. ^ a b Little, Simon (July 29, 2019). "B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to take up to 3 months to decide transgender waxing case". Global News. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  13. ^ Uguene-Csenge, Eva (July 26, 2019). "Transgender woman testifies at human rights tribunal after being refused Brazilian wax". The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  14. ^ "When one person's right is another's obligation". The Economist. October 27, 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  15. ^ Urban, Rebecca (August 8, 2019). "Feminists reject transgender law change". The Australian. Retrieved 7 August 2019. (registration required)
  16. ^ Brean, Joseph (22 October 2019). "Trans activist Jessica Yaniv filed genital wax complaints as means of 'extortion,' rights tribunal rules". The National Post. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  17. ^ Forgie, Adam (22 October 2019). "Court rules in favor of women who refused to wax male genitalia of trans woman". KUTV (CBS). Retrieved 22 October 2019.

External linksEdit