**Note: The listed provisions of the Yukon Human Rights Act (“the Act”) do not reflect the current legislation.
The Complainant was an employee of the Government of Yukon and a member of the Yukon Government Employee’s Union (“the Union”). During this time, he divorced from his wife. The couple were granted joint “guardianship” of the children. The Complainant understood this to mean that he was responsible to maintain a daily responsibility for the care of his children. The Complainant’s children lived with him every other weekend and he took them on annual vacations.
One of the benefits of Collective Agreement between the Government of Yukon and the Union was the Yukon Bonus (“the Bonus”). It provided single parents with two or more children to claim three non-refundable economy return air tickets for travel between Whitehorse and either Edmonton or Vancouver.
The Complainant made a claim for three tickets from Whitehorse to Vancouver for himself and his two sons. The Public Service Commission refused to refund the Bonus because the children were not living with him. In clause 33.03 of the Collective Agreement defined “child” as “a person who is residing with the employee”. The Complainant filed a claim with the Yukon Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”), arguing that the term in the Collective Agreement did not comply with the Yukon Human Rights Act (“the Act”). He claimed that refusing the provide the Bonus for his children, the Government and Union had discriminated against him on the basis of marital and family status.
The Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication considered whether the language in the Collective Agreement violated the following provisions of the Act:
Section 6(k), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of marital or family status, and;
Section 8(b), which prohibits discrimination in connection with employment.
The Board was unable to find discrimination on the basis of marital or family status. They accepted that the Collective Agreement was administered in a non-discriminatory way. Refusing to pay the Bonus was a reasonable and proper interpretation of the Collective Agreement. The Complainant would have received the Bonus whether he was single, married, divorced, widowed or separated as long as his children were living with him. His family status was irrelevant. The Collective Agreement made a distinction based on place of residence – which was not a prohibited ground of discrimination.
For these reasons, the Board dismissed the complaint.