Ipsofactoj.com: International Cases [2004] Part 9 Case 7 [SCC]


SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

Coram

Commission des

droits de la personne et des

droits de la jeunesse

- vs -

Maksteel Québec Inc.

ARBOUR J

BASTARACHE J

BINNIE J

DESCHAMPS J

GONTHIER J

IACOBUCCI J

LEBEL J

14 NOVEMBER 2003


Judgment

Deschamps J

  1. Do the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, R.S.Q., c. C-12 (the "Quebec Charter") and, more specifically, s. 18.2 thereof protect the employment of a person who has been incarcerated?

  2. In September 1985, Yvon Roy committed offences involving fraud and breach of trust (s. 426 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46). In 1989, he pleaded guilty to those charges. His sentencing was postponed. On March 6, 1989, Mr. Roy was hired as a maintenance mechanic by Maksteel Québec Inc. ("Maksteel"), a steel distribution company. On June 26, 1991, he was sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of six months less a day for the offences committed in 1985. He was incarcerated immediately. The beginning of the sentence coincided with the beginning of his vacation, which was to end on July 10, 1991. By letter dated July 15, 1991, Maksteel dismissed Mr. Roy because he did not appear at work on July 11, 1991. On July 22, 1991, Maksteel Québec Inc. hired a new mechanic to replace Mr. Roy. On July 26, 1991, Mr. Roy was released on parole.

  3. On July 29, 1991, Mr. Roy tried to resume his position, without success. On August 12, 1991, he filed a complaint with the appellant, Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (the "Commission"), alleging that he had been dismissed owing to the mere fact of having been convicted of an offence, contrary to s. 18.2 of the Quebec Charter. That section reads as follows:

    18.2

    No one may dismiss, refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person in his employment owing to the mere fact that he was convicted of a penal or criminal offence, if the offence was in no way connected with the employment or if the person has obtained a pardon for the offence.

    The Commission investigated and proposed that the employer take remedial measures. No agreement was reached. The Commission applied to the Human Rights Tribunal (the "Tribunal") for redress against Maksteel and its Vice-President of Finance, Michael Gareau.

  4. The Tribunal was of the opinion that s. 18.2 of the Quebec Charter is an expression of recognition for the rights of individuals with a criminal record to work, to be protected from discrimination in employment and to be reintegrated into society. It observed that every provision of the Quebec Charter must be given a large and liberal, purposive interpretation. The Tribunal then found that s. 18.2 protects the employment of a person who is incarcerated. In its view, because imprisonment is the direct result of a conviction, the actual cause of the dismissal is the conviction itself. The Tribunal concluded that this was a case of indirect discrimination which gave rise to a duty to make reasonable accommodation, and that the respondents had failed to discharge that duty. It ordered that the respondents pay Mr. Roy $46,950 in material damages and $5,000 in moral damages.

  5. The respondents appealed to the Court of Appeal. That court found that the principles of indirect discrimination and reasonable accommodation did not apply in this case. It held that s. 18.2 does not protect an employee from dismissal where the real reason is the fact that the employee is not available for work because he or she happens to be incarcerated.

    • First, this would be another basis for justifying the dismissal, whereas the provision covers only those cases where the person is dismissed owing to the mere fact that he or she was convicted.

    • Second, the term of imprisonment would interrupt the direct connection between the conviction and the dismissal.

    Thus, the Court of Appeal concluded that, in this case, Mr. Roy was not dismissed owing to the mere fact that he had been convicted. It accordingly reversed the judgment of the Tribunal. Since then, Maksteel has declared bankruptcy. The respondent Gareau is the only remaining respondent in the proceedings.

  6. The question in this Court was as follows: was Mr. Roy the victim of a violation of a right protected by s. 18.2 of the Quebec Charter?

  7. In the appellant's submission, an employee who has been incarcerated falls within the scope of s. 18.2. Accordingly, any employee who is convicted and incarcerated, and subsequently dismissed on the ground that he or she is unavailable, has, prima facie, been the victim of discrimination based on the conviction. The appellant presented three arguments in support of that position. 

    • First, it contended that the Quebec Charter must be interpreted broadly and liberally, and in a manner consistent with its overall purpose, which is to stop discrimination.

    • Second, it submitted that preserving the employment relationship is directly related to the primary purpose of s. 18.2, which it defined as rehabilitation.

    • And third, it submitted that conviction and incarceration form an indivisible whole.

  8. In contrast, Mr. Gareau submitted that an employee who is incarcerated is not covered by s. 18.2. Citing a recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal (British Columbia (Human Rights Commission) v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal) (2000), 193 D.L.R. (4th) 488), he argued that the protection afforded by s. 18.2 does not extend to the consequences that result from the sentence imposed on the offender. He submitted that the purpose of s. 18.2 is to protect individuals with a criminal record that is unrelated to their employment from the stigma arising out of their conviction.

  9. In order to identify the boundaries of s. 18.2, we must ascertain the scope of the protection afforded by that provision and determine what burden of proof rests on both the employer and the employee.

    I. THE SCOPE OF SECTION 18.2

  10. It is worth noting that the rights protected by the Quebec Charter must be interpreted broadly and liberally, in order for its objective to be achieved. The latter was stated by this Court in Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v Montréal (City), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 665, 2000 SCC 27 ("Boisbriand"), at para. 34, as follows: "The preamble suggests that the Charter's objective is to protect the dignity and equality rights of all human beings and, by logical extension, to eliminate discrimination". Exceptions, on the other hand, must be narrowly construed (at paras. 28-32). Moreover, although the Quebec Charter adopted in 1976 covers situations that may be different from those covered by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ("Canadian Charter"), both are intended to protect analogous values, as has been confirmed by the courts that have interpreted them. The interpretation adopted must also be consistent with the terms of the Charters: British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v BCGSEU, [1999] 3 S.C.R. 3 ("Meiorin"), at para. 43.

  11. Furthermore, it is useful to remember the historical context in which the provision at issue was enacted. As the majority of this Court held in R. v Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295, at p. 344: ".... it is important not to overshoot the actual purpose of the right or freedom in question, but to recall that the Charter was not enacted in a vacuum, and must therefore .... be placed in its proper linguistic, philosophic and historical contexts." However, the approach taken must be flexible, to allow for a changing conception of human rights to be incorporated: R. Sullivan, Sullivan & Driedger on the Construction of Statutes (4th ed. 2002), at pp. 376-77.

  12. It should also be noted that since the date of the Tribunal's decision, this Court has decided Meiorin, supra, and British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) v British Columbia (Council of Human Rights), [1999] 3 S.C.R. 868 ("Grismer"), in which an analysis based on the distinction between direct discrimination and indirect discrimination was eliminated in favour of a unified method.

  13. With this interpretive framework in mind, the analysis may be divided into two parts: the context in which s. 18.2 was enacted and the extent of its application. It will then be easier to consider the specific case of the incarcerated employee involved in this appeal.

    A. The context in which s. 18.2 was enacted

  14. When the Quebec Charter was enacted in 1976, it did not include the provision expressly prohibiting discrimination based on criminal record. Section 10 was the provision available to a person with a complaint of discrimination. Before the Act to amend the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, S.Q. 1982, c. 61, came into force, the section reads as follows:

    10.

    Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, civil status, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap.

    Discrimination exists where such a distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing such right.

    The Commission attempted to persuade the Quebec courts that the expression "social condition", a prohibited ground of discrimination under s. 10 of the Charter, implicitly contained protection against distinctions based on criminal record: C. Brunelle, "La Charte québécoise et les sanctions de l'employeur contre les auteurs d'actes criminels oeuvrant en milieu éducatif" (1995), 29 R.J.T. 313, at p. 319, note 17 and M.-A. Dowd & J. Lefebvre, "La protection contre la discrimination fondée sur les antécédents judiciaires en vertu de la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne: "il faut qu'une porte soit ouverte ou fermée", in Développements récents en droit du travail (2001), 1, at p. 5-6. The courts did not accept that interpretation. They held that the ordinary meaning of the expression "social condition" did not include having a criminal record. For example, in Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Cie Price Ltée, J.E. 81-866 (Sup. Ct.), Bernier J. rejected the definition advanced by the Commission. He defined the expression as [TRANSLATION] "refer[ring] to social class or social status as [determined by] birth, education, income and occupation" (p. 20 of full text). However, Bernier J. did acknowledge that a criminal record could, in some circumstances, stigmatize a person who had been convicted of an offence (p. 22) [translation]:

    .... the legislative body which has jurisdiction in this respect, that is the federal government, since the case involves trafficking in a narcotic, has itself acknowledged that the fact that an individual has a criminal record could harm his or her reputation unless a pardon were granted as provided in section 5(a) of the Criminal Records Act (R.S.C. 1970, chapter 12, 1st Supplement [now R.S.C. 1985, c. C-47]) ....

    (See also Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Montréal (Ville de) (1983), 4 C.H.R.R. D/1444 (Sup. Ct.).)

  15. At that time, the Quebec courts were also of the opinion that a distinction based on having a criminal record could not infringe the dignity of individuals with a criminal past. In Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Ville de Beauport, [1981] C.P. 292, Judge Desjardins said (at pp. 297 and 300) [translation]:

    .... discrimination based on an individual's criminal record is not based on the individual's "social condition", because it is not based on the position that he or she holds in society; rather, it is based on the unlawful conduct engaged in by the individual, regardless of the position he or she occupies in the social order.

    ....

    .... if we consider a criminal record to be one of the things on which a distinction, exclusion or preference could not be based, it is much more difficult to determine how such a distinction, exclusion or preference destroys a fundamental right or freedom. A criminal record is the direct consequence of unlawful acts intentionally committed by the person with that record. That person could certainly not claim to have been denied equality of value and dignity .... when it was the person himself or herself who impaired that value and dignity by committing the acts that resulted in the convictions.

  16. When the Commission lost in the courts, it turned to the legislature: Brunelle, supra, at p. 321. In 1982, the Commission was asked to comment on Bill 86 (Act to amend the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms), and it proposed that the legislature include the following provision in the Quebec Charter [translation]:

    In the Charter, the expression "social condition" shall be interpreted as including having a criminal record.

  17. The legislature did not agree with that proposal, and instead enacted s. 18.2, the initial version of which read as follows (National Assembly of Québec, Journal des débats, 3rd Sess., 32nd Leg., Commission permanente de la justice, Étude du projet de loi no 86, December 17, 1982, No. 232, at p. B-11766) [translation]:

    No one may dismiss, refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person in his employment owing to the mere fact that he was convicted of a penal or criminal offence, if the offence was in no way connected with the employment and five years have passed since the conviction, or if the person has obtained a pardon for the offence.

  18. Except for two amendments that are not in issue in this case, one of which was made in 1982 during legislative consideration of the bill and the other of which occurred in 1990 (Act to amend various legislative provisions respecting the implementation of the Code of Penal Procedure, S.Q. 1990, c. 4, s. 133), this is the text that was in force at the time of the events that concern us here.

  19. This text undoubtedly reflects a social choice made at that time, but also the constitutional limitation on the province's power in relation to protection against discrimination based on criminal record. Whatever the provincial legislature's objective may have been, it was not within its power to eliminate all of the stigma that attaches to a conviction. We need only note that the Criminal Records Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-47, as well as the ability to impose a harsher sentence for repeat offences in criminal cases, are within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada, and that all of the ramifications of the exercise of that power are beyond the control of the National Assembly.

    B.  Extent of the protection provided by s. 18.2

  20. It is evident from this brief historical review that the legislature's decision, in 1982, to enact a provision prohibiting discrimination based on criminal record came in response to the conservative approach taken by the Quebec courts (Therrien (Re), [2001] 2 S.C.R. 3, 2001 SCC 35, at para. 137). The legislature was sensitive to the unfavourable treatment suffered by individuals who had been in trouble with the law. Those individuals have traditionally been stigmatized and excluded from a range of activities: T. J. Singleton, "La discrimination fondée sur le motif des antécédents judiciaires et les instruments anti-discriminatoires canadiens" (1993), 72 Can. Bar Rev 456. It is interesting to note, however, that the legislature did not incorporate the protection against discrimination based on criminal record into the list of other grounds of discrimination in s. 10 of the Quebec Charter. It chose to make this an independent protection.

  21. Protection against discrimination based on criminal record does not apply universally.

    • First, unlike the grounds enumerated in s. 10, it applies only in respect of employment: "No one may dismiss, refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person in his employment ...."

    • Second, it covers only those cases in which the criminal record is the only basis for the decision or the action taken: "owing to the mere fact that he was convicted of a penal or criminal offence ...."

    • And third, it is different in that the employer's justification is circumscribed by the words of the provision itself: ".... if the offence was in no way connected with the employment or if the person has obtained a pardon for the offence".

      If the person has obtained a pardon for the offence committed, whether or not the offence was connected with the employment, the protection is absolute. Moreover, if there is no connection between the criminal record and the employment, the protection is also complete.

  22. As Gonthier J. observed in Therrien, supra, at para.145, s. 18.2 is a self-contained provision. It provides both for the employee to have a right to be protected against any unfavourable treatment resulting from his or her conviction ("the right") and for there to be no protection if there is a connection between the offence and the employment and the employee has not obtained a pardon ("the justification"). Section 18.2 therefore contains its own rules governing justification, and accordingly does not require resort to s. 20 of the Quebec Charter (Therrien, supra, at para.145).

  23. The right to treatment equal to that given other applicants or employees who do not have a record is stated unequivocally: "No one may .... penalize a person in his employment ...." The simple fact that an individual was treated differently owing to a prior conviction thwarts the objective of protection against unlawful discrimination. The finding that there has been an infringement of the right to equality results directly from the differential treatment.

  24. The fact that the justification mechanism is incorporated into the protection itself constitutes an additional indication that this protection is simpler to apply than the protection provided in ss. 10 and 20 of the Quebec Charter. Under ss. 10 and 20, differential treatment based on one of the enumerated grounds is prohibited if it is demonstrated that the distinction impairs the right to equality and if the employer is able to accommodate the characteristics of the employee in question without experiencing undue hardship.

  25. In the case of protection against the stigma that arises out of a criminal record, the justification is circumscribed. The employee's abilities or potential contribution to the business are not relevant. A connection with the employment is the only possible justification, and it is limited by obtaining a pardon.

  26. In the context of an independent justification mechanism being provided in s. 18.2 itself, the "reasonable accommodation" standard established in Meiorin in relation to bona fide occupational requirements plays no role. If there is a connection to the work between the record and the employment and a pardon has not been obtained, then the employer is not obliged to prove that it would experience undue hardship as a result of accommodating the employee's criminal record. The employer may rely on the absolute presumption that it is entitled to refuse to hire, or to take other action against, an employee who has committed an offence that is connected with his or her employment if the employee has not obtained a pardon. On the other hand, that is the only ground on which the employer may rely. In addition to the fact that the independent nature of the provision means that it does not lend itself to incorporating the concept of accommodation, it must be noted that from a conceptual standpoint, it is difficult to incorporate accommodation into the context of s. 18.2: if the employee's right to equality is violated and the employer cannot take advantage of the justification set out in the Quebec Charter, the employee will be entitled to the appropriate redress. There is therefore no question of accommodation, properly so called, because this is an absolute prohibition. Either the individual is entitled to be employed in the job for which he or she was hired, or the individual is not so entitled.

  27. To summarize, I find that there is a significant difference between the scope of s. 18.2 and the scope of s. 10. While s. 10 uses the mechanism of protection against discrimination on the basis of enumerated grounds to provide for the right to equality in all spheres of activity, s. 18.2 offers protection that is narrower in scope but easier to administer. In employment, an employee who has been convicted and obtained a pardon, or who has committed an offence that is not connected with the employment, need not endure any stigma arising out of the conviction. Section 18.2, therefore, protects the employee from the unjustified social stigma that arises out of a prior conviction.

  28. Despite the fact that s. 18.2 is independent, it is directly related to the general objective of the Quebec Charter in respect of discrimination in employment. The Charter prohibits distinctions based on personal characteristics that are irrelevant to an individual's ability to do the work. Assuming having a criminal record is a personal characteristic, it is not relevant to one's ability to do the work when there is no connection with the employment or a pardon has been obtained. The extent to which an employee who is incarcerated is protected by s. 18.2 must be determined in relation to that rationale.

    C. The specific case of an employee who is incarcerated

  29. As noted earlier, s. 18.2 is intended to protect individuals from unjustified social stigma that operates to exclude a person with a criminal conviction from the labour market. That is the purpose of the provision.

  30. An employee is unfairly stigmatized if the offence committed is not objectively connected with the employment or if the employee has obtained a pardon for it. This is true regardless of the seriousness of the crime committed. Accordingly, with the exception of the justification, the law is broken if the differential treatment results from a perception that the employee is less capable of performing the work, and less worthy of recognition as a human being, because of his or her criminal record. Quebec society has changed since the decisions cited earlier, in which it was held that a distinction based on having a criminal record could not infringe the dignity of an individual.

  31. It is thus important to note that the protection applies only to cases in which the action taken by the employer is owed to the mere fact that the individual has a criminal record. Accordingly, the protection is of no avail if the employee suffers a reprisal because of a disciplinary offence or is laid off for administrative reasons.

  32. As well, we must make a distinction between the civil consequences of a sentence lawfully imposed on an offender and the unjustified stigmatization he or she may suffer because of a past conviction. Unjustified stigma is the product of prejudice or stereotyping. On the other hand, the sentence is imposed on the employee who committed an act prohibited by the law. Consequently, there is no violation of s. 18.2 where the differential treatment genuinely results from the civil consequences of the sentence itself. Such is the case where an incarcerated employee is truly dismissed because he or she is not available for work. To take an example that is not likely to arouse disagreement, there is the employee who has been sentenced to life in prison. In such a case, dismissal is not the result of the stereotyped application of a personal characteristic that is not related in any way to the employee's ability to do the work. In other words, an employee who cannot work because he or she is incarcerated has not been unfairly stigmatized if dismissed. Rather, the dismissal arises out of the fact that the employee is not available, which is itself an inescapable consequence of the deprivation of liberty lawfully imposed on an employee who has committed a prohibited act.

  33. Every incarcerated offender must suffer the consequences that result from being imprisoned, namely loss of employment for unavailability. I therefore cannot accept the appellant's argument that there is an inherent connection between not being available and the distinction that is prohibited by s. 18.2. Contrary to the decisions cited by the appellant, in which the employee was unavailable as a result of some individual status (a person with a disability, a pregnant woman, a Jewish person), the fact that an incarcerated employee is unavailable is not a consequence of his or her status as a "convicted person", that is, of the fact that he or she has a criminal record. It is a civil consequence of the sentence that was lawfully imposed. Section 18.2 does not protect a convicted person against that consequence.

  34. I adopt the approach of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in British Columbia (Human Rights Commission) v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), supra, interpreting s. 13(1) of the Human Rights Code, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210. That provision, like s. 18.2 in the present case, prohibits discrimination in employment based on, inter alia, the fact that a person has been convicted of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the employment or intended employment. In that decision, Saunders J.A. adopted the following comments of the trial judge, Holmes J. (para. 24):

    .... The policy grounding protection of individuals convicted of criminal offences is not protection against the penalty flowing from their conduct. It is protection ".... from being stigmatized indefinitely by the fact of their convictions".

  35. In addition to the fact that this reasoning is consistent with the objective of the Quebec Charter, which is to protect the right to dignity and equality, it is also consistent with the wording used in s. 18.2: "owing to the mere fact that he was convicted". In my opinion, that wording denotes an intention to limit the scope of the provision to the conviction, and not the sentence that may be associated with it.

  36. As well, the comments made by the Minister of Justice when Bill 86 was given third reading on December 18, 1982 confirm that initially, the purpose of s. 18.2 was not to offer protection during the term of incarceration (National Assembly of Quebec, Journal des débats, 3rd Sess., 32nd Leg., at p. 7505). The Minister said the following with respect to s. 18.2 [translation]:

    I believe that this is an addition .... which should assist in rehabilitating people who have paid their debt to society, while at the same time preventing them from being penalized a second time for their offence or for the wrongdoing they may have committed.

    [emphasis added]

  37. If the protection were extended to include the period of incarceration, the Minister could not have spoken of "rehabilitating people who have paid their debt to society". Although the Quebec Charter must be interpreted in an evolutionary manner, the appellant here has not established that extending protection beyond the limits that were provided when it was enacted would be justified.

  38. I do not agree with the appellant's argument that there is an inseverable connection between the conviction and the incarceration. While from a rational standpoint, the incarceration is indeed connected with the conviction, that connection is not an equation. The purpose of s. 18.2 does not go beyond protecting the employee against unjustified stigmatization arising out of the conviction. The symbolic connection that the appellant makes between conviction and incarceration would mean that s. 18.2 would have to be interpreted as a guarantee of employment, and this quite clearly goes beyond the scope of the protection against discrimination based on criminal record that is provided in the Quebec Charter.

  39. Moreover, not all convictions lead to incarceration. The Criminal Code provides for an entire spectrum of sentences. Not all convictions automatically result in an employee being unable to perform his or her work.

  40. In addition, assuming a perfect equation between conviction and incarceration would lead, in the case of the Quebec Charter, which applies not only to firing but also to hiring, to the disconcerting result noted by Hollinrake J.A. in respect of British Columbia's Human Rights Code, supra, in British Columbia (Human Rights Commission) v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), supra, at para. 14. If we apply the reasoning advanced by the appellant, an incarcerated employee could apply for employment, from the institution in which he or she was an inmate, and the employer in question could not refuse to hire that person because he or she was not available.

  41. Given this context, I cannot bring myself to agree that the Quebec legislature intended to characterize an employer's refusal to hire or dismissal of an incarcerated individual because he or she was not available as discriminatory.

  42. I would note in passing that it is also difficult to conclude from the wording of the provisions in the codes of other provinces of Canada that protect individuals against discrimination based on criminal record that they offer protection against the consequences of sentence. In Ontario, s. 5 of the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, prohibits discrimination in employment based on a number of grounds, including "record of offences", which is defined in s. 10(1) as a conviction for an offence in respect of which a pardon has been granted under the Criminal Records Act, supra, and has not been revoked, or for an offence in respect of any provincial enactment. In the Northwest Territories, s. 3(1) of the Fair Practices Act, R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. F-2 (which will be repealed and replaced by the Human Rights Act, S.N.W.T. 2002, c. 18), prohibits discrimination against any person, in all of the areas covered, because of "a conviction of that person for which a pardon has been granted". The Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. H-6, prohibits discrimination based on "conviction for which a pardon has been granted" (s. 2) in all areas covered.

  43. The appellant placed great emphasis on the need to apply a generous interpretation to s. 18.2, following the liberal interpretations applied to, inter alia, the expressions "handicap" (Boisbriand, supra), "pregnancy" (Commission des écoles catholiques de Québec v Gobeil, [1999] R.J.Q. 1883 (C.A.)) and "civil status" (Brossard (Town) v Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 279). This Court has indeed often said that because of its unique and quasi-constitutional nature, human rights legislation must be interpreted in a liberal and purposive manner in order to advance the broad policy considerations underlying it: B v Ontario (Human Rights Commission), [2002] 3 S.C.R. 403, 2002 SCC 66, at para. 44; Boisbriand, supra, at paras. 27-30; Ontario Human Rights Commission v Simpsons-Sears Ltd., [1985] 2 S.C.R. 536, at pp. 546-47. However, the interpretation advanced by the appellant goes beyond both the general objective of the Quebec Charter and the more specific objective of the provision in issue.

  44. In support of a liberal interpretation of s. 18.2, the appellant also cited two international conventions to which Canada is a party (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 993 U.N.T.S. 3, and ILO Convention (No. 111) concerning Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation, 362 U.N.T.S. 31), a declaration of the United Nations General Assembly (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217 A(III), U.N. Doc. A/810, at 71 (1948)) and two resolutions, one of the United Nations General Assembly (Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners, G.A. Res. 45/111, 14 December 1990, U.N. Doc ST/HR/1/Rev. 5 (1994)) and the other of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, G.A. Res. 663 C (XXIV), 31 July 1957, and 2076 (LXII), 13 May 1977, U.N. Doc ST/HR/1/Rev. 5 (1994)). I would start by noting that the instruments cited do not deal with discrimination based on criminal record. Accordingly, they are not very useful for ascertaining the scope of s. 18.2. In addition, neither the interpretive presumption that domestic law is consistent with international law nor the presumption of consistency between statutes is applicable here, because there is no actual or potential conflict between the interpretation of s. 18.2 that has been adopted and the instruments cited by the appellant.

  45. To summarize, it is apparent, applying the principles of interpretation, that an employee is protected under s. 18.2 only if his or her employment is affected by some action that is taken owing to the mere fact that he or she has a criminal record. The employee's right to employment is not automatically protected by that provision.

    II. BURDENS OF PROOF

    A. Elements to be proved

  46. In Therrien, supra, at para. 140, Gonthier J. listed the four essential conditions that must be met in order for s. 18.2 to apply:

    (1)

    a dismissal, a refusal to hire or any kind of penalty;

    (2)

    in the person's employment;

    (3)

    owing to the mere fact that the person was convicted of a penal or criminal offence;

    (4)

    if the offence was in no way connected with the employment or if the person has obtained a pardon for the offence. What remains to be determined is the parties' respective burdens of proof.

  47. In discrimination cases, it is settled law that the onus is on the complainant to establish prima facie proof that a protected right has been infringed: Meiorin, supra, and Grismer, supra. The content of that evidence will depend on the wording of the provision in question.

  48. Applying that rule, the primary burden on the complainant is as follows in the case of s. 18.2: the complainant has the burden of establishing that he or she has a criminal record and has suffered a reprisal in an employment context, and that the criminal record was the real reason for, or actual cause of, the action taken by the employer. The complainant must also prove that a pardon had been obtained, where applicable.

  49. With respect to the case to be made by a complainant, it is important to note that he or she need not prove that the conviction was the sole cause of the prejudicial treatment. That approach would be too restrictive. In my opinion, the expression "owing to the mere fact" does not justify imposing a heavier burden in the case of s. 18.2 than the burden that applies under s. 10. If the employee were required to prove that the conviction was the sole cause that might have motivated the dismissal there would be a risk of eroding the right guaranteed by s. 18.2: Brunelle, supra, at pp. 337-38. For example, in the case of an employee who is incarcerated for a short period of time, the employer could easily conceal its design by claiming to base its action on the fact that the employee was not available. The complainant need therefore only establish that the ground of discrimination alleged was the actual cause: Brossard, supra, at pp. 299-300, and B v Ontario, supra, at para. 59.

  50. In some cases, the evidence might rule out the employee's unavailability because of incarceration as the actual cause. That would be the case for an incarcerated employee who was on vacation at the time he or she served the sentence, and whose vacation covered the entire period of imprisonment. It would also be the case for an incarcerated employee who was able to serve his or her sentence intermittently, outside working hours, or for an individual who applied from the institution where he or she was an inmate for a position that was to start at the end of his or her sentence. Obviously, those examples are not exhaustive. Other circumstances might also lead a court to conclude that the employer's decision cannot reasonably be based on the formal reason that it alleges as justification for the measure imposed on the employee.

  51. In cases where the sentence of imprisonment affects the employee's availability, the court will have to be satisfied, on a preponderance of evidence, that the actual cause was the conviction, and that the fact that the employee was not available was not cited as a mere pretext.

  52. Some authors are of the opinion that s. 18.2 also places the onus on the complainant to establish that there is no connection between the offence and the employment: M. Caron, "Le droit à l'égalité dans la "nouvelle" Charte québécoise telle que modifiée par le projet de loi 86", in L'interaction des Chartes canadienne et québécoise des droits et libertés (1983-84), cours 83, 115, Service de la formation permanente, Barreau du Québec, at p. 134. Others take the opposite position, and place the burden of establishing a connection between the offence and the employment on the employer: St-Hubert (Ville de) et Syndicat des cols bleus de la Ville de St-Hubert (C.S.D.), [1998] R.J.D.T. 525 (A.T.), Brunelle, supra, and Dowd & Lefebvre, supra. These differences of opinion arise out of the drafting of s. 18.2.

  53. It seems to me to be consistent with the spirit of the Quebec Charter and with the decisions of this Court to place the burden of establishing an objective connection between the offence committed and the position held or applied for on the employer. It is settled law under s. 20 of the Quebec Charter that, once there is prima facie evidence of discrimination, the burden shifts to the employer to prove, on a preponderance of evidence, that there was a bona fide and reasonable justification for the action taken : Meiorin, supra, and Grismer, supra. The same logic must be applied to the justification rules provided for in s. 18.2 which, as we have seen, take the place of bona fide occupational requirement.

  54. On the other hand, I would note that in other jurisdictions the bona fide occupational requirement defence is expressly made available for the case of discrimination based on criminal record: British Columbia Human Rights Code, s. 13(4), Ontario Human Rights Code, s. 24(1)(b), Northwest Territories Fair Practices Act, s. 2(3) and Canadian Human Rights Act, s. 15(a). In those cases as in Quebec, the onus is thus on the employer to justify the action taken.

  55. What remains to be determined is whether the appellant has discharged its burden of proof in this case.

    B. Application of the principles to the facts of this appeal

  56. There is no doubt that the appellant has established that a reprisal ("dismissal") was taken against Mr. Roy in his employment. The evidence further shows that Mr. Roy has not obtained a pardon for the offence he committed in 1985. I would also note that, in this case, it is common ground that there was no connection between the fraud and corruption offences and the mechanic's position that Mr. Roy held with Maksteel. I would mention in passing that the existence of such a connection is essentially determined from the context. Varying requirements may arise out of the degree of responsibility associated with the position that is held or applied for, and the specific nature of an employer's business. For example, the greater the degree of integrity and trust that a position requires, the easier the connection may be to establish, because expectations of an employee in such a position will be higher.

  57. In this case, the question of fact to be determined was whether the appellant had established that having a criminal record was the actual cause of Mr. Roy's dismissal. At the hearing before the Tribunal, the parties presented contradictory accounts of the events that took place between the time when Mr. Roy was incarcerated and when he was dismissed. The appellant claimed that the respondents were informed of Mr. Roy's incarceration and of the approximate date of his release on parole (August 5) by his wife, who, first contacted Alain Biron, the plant manager, in mid-July, and later contacted the respondent Gareau, in early July. The appellant said that she informed them that her husband had been incarcerated and tried to obtain a letter stating that Mr. Roy was still employed by Maksteel, in order to expedite his release, and that her request was denied. Mr. Biron and Mr. Gareau denied that they had been informed, and claimed to have had no knowledge of Mr. Roy's incarceration until the point when he tried to return to his position, on July 29, 1991. Yvon Lapierre, who was a Maksteel employee and Mr. Roy's supervisor at the time, corroborated the testimony given by Mr. Roy's wife. The Tribunal found the appellant's version to be more credible. It found that on July 15, the date of the dismissal, the respondents were aware of the reason why Mr. Roy had not appeared for work on July 11, 1991. However, the Tribunal did not make a finding of fact on the question of causation identified earlier, because it considered there to be a direct connection between the conviction and the incarceration.

  58. The Court of Appeal noted that no finding was made on that point, and assessed the facts itself. It concluded that it could not be deduced from the fact that the respondents knew that Mr. Roy was incarcerated that he had been dismissed merely because he had been convicted.

  59. This Court is reluctant to intervene where there is no manifest error, even if the finding of fact is made by an appellate court. In St-Jean v Mercier, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 491, 2002 SCC 15, Gonthier J., speaking for a unanimous Court, reiterated that the principle of non-intervention by an appellate court in respect of questions of fact applies not only to the first appellate level, but also to a second appellate level, such as this Court in relation to the Court of Appeal (para. 46):

    Despite the freedom with which this Court can reconsider the evidence and "substitute its own findings of fact for that of the first court of appeal's if disagreement occurs" (Schwartz v Canada, [1996] 1 S.C.R. 254, at para. 37), that disagreement must nonetheless stem from a clear satisfaction that an error has occurred in the first appellate court's assessment of the facts.

  60. This Court must be satisfied that the first appellate court erred in assessing the evidence. In this case, because the fact that Mr. Roy was an exemplary employee is not disputed, this could not have been a dismissal for a disciplinary offence or some other cause of that nature. Accordingly, there are only two reasons that could have been the cause of the dismissal: the fact that Mr. Roy had a criminal conviction or the fact that he was not available because he was incarcerated. After reviewing the record, I am not satisfied that the Court of Appeal committed any error such as would warrant intervention by this Court when it found that Mr. Roy was not dismissed owing to the mere fact of is conviction.

  61. At first glance, the finding made by the Court of Appeal might suggest that the court placed the burden on the appellant to prove that Mr. Roy's conviction was the sole cause of his dismissal. However, I am satisfied from reading the reasons of Dussault J.A. in their entirety that he did attempt to identify the actual cause of the dismissal. On that point, he said (at para. 54) [translation]:

    However, it might be different if, rather than being sentenced, as was the case here, to a term of nearly six months' imprisonment, the person who was dismissed had been sentenced to a term of only a few days. It could perhaps, in that case, be deduced that the person's incarceration was merely a pretext and that the only real reason for dismissing the person was the fact that he or she had been convicted.

    [emphasis added]

  62. Thus Dussault J.A. did examine all of the facts, and stated that he was satisfied that the reason given by the employer absence from work was not a mere pretext. I am therefore of the opinion that the appellant has not shown that the Court of Appeal erred in finding that the actual cause of Mr. Roy's dismissal was the fact that he was not available for work.

    III. CONCLUSION

  63. The right of individuals with criminal convictions to employment and to re-enter the labour market are important values in our society, as can be seen from s. 18.2. In the case of employment, the courts must take a firm stance against discrimination based on criminal record. The saying "once a criminal, always a criminal" has no place in our society. Individuals who have paid their debt to society are entitled to resume their place in society and to live in it without running the risk of being devalued and unfairly stigmatized.

  64. An incarcerated employee who has not yet paid his or her debt to society is protected by s. 18.2 in the event that he or she can prove that the conviction was the actual cause of the action taken by the employer. Absent such proof, an incarcerated employee cannot compel his or her employer to preserve the employment relationship. Section 18.2 does not protect individuals from the consequences of a lawfully imposed sentence. This conclusion is not the result of choosing a narrow method of interpretation. It is based on the wording of s. 18.2, the purpose of that provision and the objective of the Quebec Charter in relation to discrimination in employment.

  65. For all these reasons, I would dismiss the appeal with costs.

    Bastarache J

    1. INTRODUCTION

  66. The scope of this appeal is very narrow. We must determine the actual purpose of s. 18.2 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, R.S.Q., c. C-12 (the "Quebec Charter"), which offers limited protection to employees who have been convicted of a penal or criminal offence. For the following reasons, I am of the opinion that s. 18.2 of the Quebec Charter is of no assistance to an incarcerated employee where the actual cause of the dismissal is the fact that he is not available for work.

    2. FACTS AND JUDICIAL HISTORY

  67. Yvon Roy had been employed by the respondent Maksteel Québec Inc. since 1989 when he was dismissed. He was a mechanic, and had no administrative responsibilities. On Wednesday, June 26, 1991, he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six months less a day for offences involving fraud and breach of trust relating to the awarding of contracts at the time he was employed as the maintenance manager with a harbour company. The offences occurred in 1985. Mr. Roy was incarcerated immediately after being convicted. The uncontested evidence was that from Tuesday, June 25, to Wednesday, July 10, 1991, Mr. Roy was on his annual vacation. On Monday, July 15, 1991, the respondent Gareau, the respondent Maksteel's Vice-President of Finance, wrote to Mr. Roy to inform him that his employment was being terminated because he had not returned to work on Thursday, July 11, 1991. In his letter, Mr. Gareau said that he had heard no news from Mr. Roy since the end of his vacation, and informed him that Maksteel had hired a new mechanic to keep the business running properly.

  68. The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (the "Commission") applied to the Human Rights Tribunal (the "Tribunal"), alleging that the respondents had infringed Mr. Roy's right not to be dismissed owing to the mere fact that he had been convicted of a criminal offence. Because the offence was not connected with Mr. Roy's employment, the Commission found that the respondents had violated s. 18.2 of the Quebec Charter. That section reads as follows:

    No one may dismiss, refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person in his employment owing to the mere fact that he was convicted of a penal or criminal offence, if the offence was in no way connected with the employment or if the person has obtained a pardon for the offence.

    The Tribunal allowed the Commission's application. In the Tribunal's view, the imprisonment of Mr. Roy resulted from his conviction [translation]: "[t]here is no doubt that if an employee is imprisoned, it is certainly because there is, at the starting point, a conviction that is, in a way, the actual cause or primary cause or efficient cause of the dismissal" ([1997] R.J.Q. 2891, at para. 31). Although an employee who is incarcerated does not have an absolute right to retain his or her employment, the Tribunal determined that in this case there had been indirect discrimination, and it was therefore necessary to determine a reasonable accommodation that did not involve undue hardship to the employer. After analysing the evidence, the Tribunal adopted the Commission's submission, and found that the employer [translation] "failed to discharge its burden of proving that [it] had attempted to make reasonable accommodation and that no accommodation that did not involve undue hardship was possible" (para. 63).

  69. The Quebec Court of Appeal reversed the judgment of the Tribunal and dismissed the Commission's application. It found that the protection of s. 18.2 of the Quebec Charter does not extend to [translation] "a dismissal where the real cause is the fact that the employee is not available because he is imprisoned, because in that case it cannot be concluded that he was dismissed `owing to the mere fact' that he was convicted. First, there is plainly another reason to justify the dismissal in that case. Second, there is no direct connection between the dismissal and the conviction, the ground protected by the [Quebec] Charter, because there is an intervening factor between them: the sentence of imprisonment" ([2001] R.J.Q. 28, at para. 47 (emphasis added)). The Court of Appeal also concluded that s. 18.2 did not impose a duty on the employer to make reasonable accommodation. It further observed that the Tribunal had never said that Mr. Roy was dismissed solely because he had been convicted of a criminal offence.

    3. ANALYSIS

  70. The conditions that must be met in order for s. 18.2 to apply were summarized in Therrien (Re), [2001] 2 S.C.R. 3, 2001 SCC 35, at para. 140:

    Whether this section applies will depend on whether four essential conditions are met:

    (1)

    a dismissal, a refusal to hire or any kind of penalty;

    (2)

    in the person's employment;

    (3)

    owing to the mere fact that the person was convicted of a penal or criminal offence;

    (4)

    if the offence was in no way connected with the employment or if the person has obtained a pardon for the offence.

    Only the third condition for s. 18.2 to apply is in issue in this appeal. The question that arises here is therefore whether Mr. Roy was dismissed owing to the mere fact that he was convicted of offences involving fraud and accepting bribes. There is no violation of s. 18.2 unless a conviction that was in no way connected with the employment (or for which the person has been pardoned) is the actual cause of the penalty imposed on the employee. Both the history of the provision and the fact that it introduces a protection that is separate from s. 10 of the Quebec Charter support that conclusion.

  71. When the Quebec Charter was enacted in 1976, it did not contain any express provision relating to discrimination against individuals with criminal records. The courts were correct, at that time, in refusing to find that the reference to "social condition" as one of the listed grounds included criminal record.

    • First, that form of discrimination is not based on the individual's social condition, but rather on the unlawful acts the individual has committed, regardless of his or her position in society.

    • Second, a contrary interpretation would not have been consistent with the intent of the Quebec legislature, which had provided an exhaustive list of protected grounds in s. 10 (Therrien, supra, at para. 137; Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Cie Price Ltée, J.E. 81-866 (Sup. Ct.); Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Ville de Beauport, [1981] C.P. 292; Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Montréal (Ville de) (1983), 4 C.H.R.R. D/1444 (Sup. Ct.)).

  72. In 1982, after those decisions had been made, and within the framework of a broader reform, the legislature enacted the provision in issue in this appeal. I note with interest that s. 18.2 is much more limited in its application than what the Commission was proposing at the time. The Commission wanted to include "criminal record" and " was convicted of a penal or criminal offence" in s. 10 of the Quebec Charter itself. C. Brunelle, "La Charte québécoise et les sanctions de l'employeur contre les auteurs d'actes criminels oeuvrant en milieu éducatif" (1995), 29 R.J.T. 313, at pp. 321-22.

  73. While the rights conferred by the Quebec Charter must certainly be interpreted broadly and liberally, the courts must nonetheless respect their actual purpose: Québec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v Montréal (City), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 665, 2000 SCC 27, at paras. 28-32; R. v Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295, at p. 344. The interpretation of s. 18.2 advanced by the Commission would clearly extend the protection afforded by that provision well beyond what was intended by the legislature. The Commission cites Canada's international obligations in support of its position. While international obligations must undeniably be considered in interpreting national human rights legislation (see Ordon Estate v Grail, [1998] 3 S.C.R. 437, at para. 137), in this case the international instruments cited by the Commission do not support its position since the Quebec scheme is broader than international standards in the matter.

  74. Section 18.2 of the Quebec Charter is a separate provision which must be interpreted on the basis of its own wording and its own specific context (Therrien, supra, at para. 145). The acts enumerated in s. 18.2 do not constitute "discrimination" within the definition in s. 10; the individuals who have been convicted of a penal or criminal offence are not, by this fact alone, protected by ss. 10.1 to 18.1 or by ss. 19 to 20.1 of the Quebec Charter, which prohibit various discriminatory practices. Where the actual cause of an employee's dismissal is the conviction for a penal or criminal offence that is in no way connected with his or her employment, s. 18.2 protects the employment and nothing more. In the context of s. 18.2, no duty of accommodation arises.

  75. When the legislature enacted s. 18.2, it intended to provide limited, clearly defined protection for individuals convicted of a penal or criminal offence. The sentence imposed on a person who has been convicted of a penal or criminal offence is the direct consequence of the freely made decision to commit that offence, and it must be considered separately from the conviction itself. In my view, this conclusion flows from the use of the expressions "criminal record", "people who have been in trouble with the law", and "former offenders". Those expressions plainly reflect the fact that a distinction has to be made between the immediate and proper consequences of a penal or criminal offence, that is, the sentence imposed, and the unfair measures that might be taken against such a person later because of a prior conviction that was not connected with his or her present employment or employment for which he or she is applying, or because of a prior conviction for which the person has obtained a pardon.

  76. The Commission asserted that if the actual cause of a dismissal were the fact that the employee was absent because he or she were imprisoned, and not the conviction itself, there is nonetheless a violation of s. 18.2 because the imprisonment, or the inability to appear for work that results from it, is simply a consequence of the conviction. If we accepted the Commission's argument, we would have to conclude that an employer who refused to hire an inmate who had not yet finished serving his or her term of imprisonment would be, prima facie, in contravention of s. 18.2. Inability to work is a direct consequence of the sentence. The status of former offender, which is the only matter addressed by s. 18.2, does not necessarily result in being unavailable for work. I am not satisfied that the legislature intended to provide people convicted of a penal or criminal offence with more job security than accused persons. Although the purpose of the Act is to minimize the civil consequences of a conviction for a penal or criminal offence, it is not its purpose to eliminate completely the civil consequences of the sentence itself. The deprivation of liberty that is the result of imprisonment, whether temporary detention while awaiting trial or incarceration imposed as a sentence following conviction, has consequences in relation to the ability to engage in a number of activities, including employment, in many cases. There is nothing discriminatory about this. There is no contravention of s. 18.2 if, in fact, the actual cause of the dismissal is absence from work and not the conviction itself: Boucherville (Ville de) v Bastien, J.E. 93-1389 (Sup. Ct.); Travailleurs et travailleuses unis de l'alimentation et du commerce, local 301W v Brasserie Molson O'Keefe Ltée, [1995] R.D.J. 329 (C.A.); Syndicat démocratique des salariés de sommex v Larocque, J.E. 96-1211 (Sup. Ct.); Syndicat du textile de Montmagny inc. v Cie des fils spécialisés Cavalier inc., [1999] Q.J. No. 1785 (QL). The British Columbia courts have come to the same conclusion: McLaughlan v Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd. (2000), 81 B.C.L.R. (3d) 195, 2000 BCCA 884, aff'g (1999), 178 D.L.R. (4th) 546 (B.C.S.C.) (sub nom. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission) v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal)), at paras. 51-54.

  77. The position taken by the Commission would have another disturbing consequence; it would mean that if Mr. Roy had been absent from work without reason during the period in question, dismissing him would have been justified by the general rules of the contract of employment, while if his absence were the result of imprisonment, the dismissal would not be justified. That, in my view, would not make any sense.

  78. A number of jurisdictions afford protection against certain measures taken by reason of criminal record. The provisions they have adopted are subject to an exception, in addition to the requirement that the conviction not be connected with the employment, namely that employers may require that "bona fide occupational requirements" be met: British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v BCGSEU, [1999] 3 S.C.R. 3; British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) v British Columbia (Council of Human Rights), [1999] 3 S.C.R. 868. In Quebec, s. 20 provides that "[a] distinction, exclusion or preference based on the aptitudes or qualifications required for an employment .... is deemed non-discriminatory"; no such provision appears in s. 18.2. Because an employer cannot argue that the employee's presence is a bona fide occupational requirement in the case of s. 18.2, dismissal of an employee who is imprisoned as a result of a conviction for a penal or criminal offence would still be unjustified if the conviction were in no way connected with the employment, regardless of how long the term of imprisonment were. That too would be an absurd result.

  79. In my opinion, we must not lose sight of the fundamental distinction between the immediate consequences of the conviction and sentence and the unfair measures taken against a former offender once the person has served his or her sentence and is attempting to regain his or her place in society. In my opinion, the loss of employment as a result of being imprisoned falls into the first category. If the actual cause of the dismissal is the fact that the employee is not available for work, rather than the conviction itself, the employer will not have dismissed the person "owing to the mere fact that he was convicted of a penal or criminal offence" and s. 18.2 will not apply. If, on the other hand, the evidence shows that the actual cause of the dismissal was the conviction itself, and if none of the internal exceptions in s. 18.2 (no connection with the employment or pardon obtained) apply, the employer will have acted contrary to the Quebec Charter and the employee will be entitled to the appropriate redress.

  80. There is one remaining question of fact: is this a case in which the actual cause of Mr. Roy's dismissal was not the fact that he was not available, but the fact that he had been convicted of fraud and accepting bribes? The Tribunal was not clear as to the actual cause of Mr. Roy's dismissal, but the Court of Appeal, after reviewing all of the evidence, concluded that there had been no pretext on the part of the employer. We should not intervene in respect of a question of fact absent evidence of error on the part of the Court of Appeal: St-Jean v Mercier, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 491, 2002 SCC 15, at para. 46. In this case, there is no reason to believe that the Court of Appeal erred in concluding that the actual cause of Mr. Roy's dismissal was something other than his conviction.

    4. CONCLUSION

  81. For these reasons, I would dismiss the appeal with costs.


Cases

British Columbia (Human Rights Commission) v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal) (2000), 193 D.L.R. (4th) 488; Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v Montréal (City), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 665, 2000 SCC 27; R. v Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v BCGSEU, [1999] 3 S.C.R. 3; British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) v British Columbia (Council of Human Rights), [1999] 3 S.C.R. 868; Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Cie Price Ltée, J.E. 81-866; Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Montréal (Ville de) (1983), 4 C.H.R.R. D/1444; Commission des droits de la personne du Québec v Ville de Beauport, [1981] C.P. 292; Therrien (Re), [2001] 2 S.C.R. 3, 2001 SCC 35; Commission des écoles catholiques de Québec v Gobeil, [1999] R.J.Q. 1883; Brossard (Town) v Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 279; B v Ontario (Human Rights Commission), [2002] 3 S.C.R. 403, 2002 SCC 66; Ontario Human Rights Commission v Simpsons-Sears Ltd., [1985] 2 S.C.R. 536; St-Hubert (Ville de) et Syndicat des cols bleus de la Ville de St-Hubert (C.S.D.), [1998] R.J.D.T. 525; St-Jean v Mercier, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 491, 2002 SCC 15; Schwartz v Canada, [1996] 1 S.C.R. 254; Ordon Estate v Grail, [1998] 3 S.C.R. 437; Boucherville (Ville de) v Bastien, J.E. 93-1389; Travailleurs et travaileuses unis de l'alimentation et du commerce, local 301 v Brasserie Molson O'Keefe Ltée, [1995] R.D.J. 329; Syndicat démocratique des salariés de Sommex v Larocque, J.E. 96-2311; Syndicat du textile de Montmagny inc. v Cie des fils spécialisés Cavalier inc., [1999] Q.J. No. 1785 (QL); McLaughlan v Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd. (2000), 81 B.C.L.R. (3d) 195, 2000 BCCA 584, aff'g sub nom. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission) v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal) (1999), 178 D.L.R. (4th) 546; British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v BCGSEU, [1999] 3 S.C.R. 3

Legislations

Act to amend the Charter of human rights and freedoms, S.Q. 1982, c. 61.

Act to amend various legislative provisions respecting the implementation of the Code of Penal Procedure, S.Q. 1990, c. 4, s. 133.

Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners, G.A. Res. 45/111, U.N. Doc. ST/HR/1/Rev. 5 (1994).

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. H-6, ss. 2, 15(a).

Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, R.S.Q., c. C-12, ss. 10 [am. 1977, c. 6, s. 1; 1978, c. 7, s. 112; 1982, c. 61, s. 3], 10.1-18.1, 18.2 [am. 1990, c. 4, s. 133], 19, 20, 20.1.

Convention (No. 111) concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 362 U.N.T.S. 31.

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, s. 426.

Criminal Records Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-47.

Fair Practices Act, R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. F-2, ss. 2(3), 3(1).

Human Rights Act, S.N.W.T. 2002, c. 18 (not in force).

Human Rights Code, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210, s. 13(1), (4).

Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, ss. 5, 10(1), 24(1)(b).

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 993 U.N.T.S. 3.

Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, G.A. Res. 663 C (XXIV) and 2076 (LXII), U.N. Doc. ST/HR/1/Rev. 5 (1994).

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217 A (III), U.N. Doc. A/810, at 71 (1948).

Authors and other references

Brunelle, Christian. "La Charte québécoise et les sanctions de l'employeur contre les auteurs d'actes criminels oeuvrant en milieu éducatif" (1995), 29 R.J.T. 313.

Caron, Madeleine. "Le droit à l'égalité dans la `nouvelle' Charte québécoise telle que modifiée par le projet de loi 86", dans L'interaction des Chartes canadienne et québécoise des droits et libertés de la personne, cours 83, Service de la formation permanente, Barreau du Québec. Cowansville, Qué.: Yvon Blais, 1983-84, 115.

Dowd, Marc-André, et Julie Lefebvre. "La protection contre la discrimination fondée sur les antécédents judiciaires en vertu de la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne: `il faut qu'une porte soit ouverte ou fermée'", dans Développements récents en droit du travail, no 153, Service de la formation permanente, Barreau du Québec. Cowansville, Qué.: Yvon Blais, 2001, 1.

Québec. Assemblée nationale. Journal des Débats, 3e sess., 32ee lég., Commission permanente de la justice, Étude du projet de loi no 86 -- Loi modifiant la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne, 17 décembre 1982, no 232, p. B-11766.

Québec. Assemblée nationale. Journal des Débats, 3e sess., 32e lég., vol. 26, no 105, 18 décembre 1982, p. 7505.

Singleton, T. J. "La discrimination fondée sur le motif des antécédents judiciaires et les instruments anti-discriminatoires canadiens" (1993), 72 Can. Bar Rev. 456.
Sullivan, Ruth. Sullivan and Driedger on the Construction of Statutes, 4th ed. Markham, Ont. Butterworths, 2002.

Representations

Christian Baillargeon, for the appellant (instructed by Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, Montreal).

Maksteel Québec Inc, unrepresented

Alexander Daoussis, for the respondent Michael Gareau (instructed by Michael Gareau: Kounadis Perreault, Montreal).


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