Brooks v Canada Safeway Ltd

Brooks v Canada Safeway Ltd [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on employer discrimination of pregnant employees. The Court found that Safeway violated the provincial Human Rights Act by failing to provide equal compensation for those who missed work due to pregnancy. This decision overturned the controversial case of Bliss v. Attorney General of Canada, [1979].

Brooks v Canada Safeway Ltd
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: June 15, 1988
Judgment: May 4, 1989
Full case nameSusan Brooks v. Canada Safeway Limited;
Patricia Allen and Patricia Dixon and the Manitoba Human Rights Commission v. Canada Safeway Limited
Citations[1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219
Docket No.20131
Prior historyJudgment for Safeway in the Manitoba Court of Appeal.
RulingAppeal allowed.
Denial of employee benefit to women on leave for pregnancy is discrimination.
Court membership
Chief Justice: Brian Dickson
Puisne Justices: Jean Beetz, Willard Estey, William McIntyre, Antonio Lamer, Bertha Wilson, Gerald Le Dain, Gérard La Forest, Claire L'Heureux-Dubé
Reasons given
Unanimous reasons byDickson C.J.
Lamer, Le Dain, and McLachlin JJ. took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

In 1982, Susan Brooks, Patricia Allen and Patricia Dixon were all part-time cashiers at Safeway who became pregnant. The Safeway insurance plan that provided benefits for loss of pay due to accident or sickness did not give full benefits for 17 weeks for those who were unable to work due to pregnancy. The three women brought claims against Safeway for discriminating on the basis of pregnancy for discrimination based on sex. The Court held unanimously that the insurance policy was discriminating against pregnant women.

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