by Thomas Roper Q.C.
Originally published: January 19, 2017
On March 2, 2016, the BC Human Rights Tribunal issued the last of four decisions involving a complaint of discrimination against Amaruk Wilderness Corp. because it refused to hire the complainant, Bethany Paquette, as an assistant guide intern. Paquette alleged that she was denied employment on the basis of ancestry, religion and political belief. Her claim was brought against Amaruk and one of the company's representatives.
The Board had issued three preliminary decisions dealing with objections to disclosure, including whether the respondents were operating within the jurisdiction of the Board. When the hearing on the merits got underway, the respondents raised a number of other preliminary issues including the personal respondent's request that all questions be put to him, and his answers should be, in French; that he had been denied representation by European lawyers respecting production orders that had been made beyond the jurisdiction of Canadian administrative tribunals and courts; and that the Tribunal was incompetent to hear the case. After "berating the Tribunal for the aforesaid issues", the respondents left the hearing and it proceeded in their absence.
The complainant had responded to a website ad and applied for an assistant guide internship with Amaruk. The company was described in the ad as having an operation in Vancouver. The job posting specified certain qualifications, which the complainant agreed she did not meet. Notwithstanding that, she provided her resume with a cover letter that explained why she wished to work for the company. Her resume included the fact that she had attended Trinity Western University and, as a student of the University, had signed the "Community Covenant" reflecting a code of conduct for evangelical Christians which was described by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada as follows: