A former employee of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (“Yuan”) petitioned pursuant to the Judicial Review Procedure Act for declarations concerning the dismissal of his complaint pursuant to the Human Rights Code. Yuan also sought an Order remitting the issue of his complaint back to the Human Rights Commission for consideration. The British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed his Petition.

24. June 2003 0

Administrative law – Human rights complaints – Discrimination – Duty to accommodate – Procedural fairness – Judicial review application – Investigative bodies – Fairness

Yuan v. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission), [2003] B.C.J. No. 687, British Columbia Supreme Court, March 26, 2003, Melvin J.

Yuan contended that the Commission, which had conducted an investigation and determined that there was no reasonable basis to justify referring the complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing, should be overturned based on unreasonable findings of fact, incorrect tests concerning the accommodation of the Petitioner, credibility assessments, and a non-neutral investigation by the Human Rights investigator.

The court held that the Petitioner’s allegations of racial discrimination by Ministry staff had been thoroughly investigated and were found to be completely unwarranted. The review of the decision being appealed from demonstrated that there was no patently unreasonable error in the findings of fact.

The Petitioner also attempted to argue that the test with respect to his needs for employment should have been whether or not the Respondents accommodated him to the point of undue hardship. The court dismissed this argument, saying that in order to assess whether the employer had appropriately accommodated its employee, there must first be a finding of discrimination. In the absence of such a finding, the submission could not succeed.

With respect to the credibility argument, a review of the decision appealed from demonstrated that there was no basis for the court to interfere with the decision not to refer the Human Rights complaint to a tribunal.

Yuan’s final argument was that the investigation was thorough but went beyond the immediate issues covered by the complaint and therefore had an adverse impact on the neutrality of the investigation itself. The court held that there was nothing in the report to justify any reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the individuals who conducted the investigation and that therefore the Petition should be dismissed.

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