Adding yourself to your child’s human rights complaint

Independent School Authority v Parent, 2022 BCSC 570 (CanLII)

Depending on your situation and experiences with the school district, you are able to add yourself to your child’s human rights complaint under Family Status.

From the case:

[12]      The parent alleges that she has had to witness her child’s struggles as a result of the School’s conduct, including the child’s distress and anxiety on a daily basis. This was extremely difficult, exhausting and traumatic for the parent. The parent required counselling to address her trauma, and has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome as a result of the stress. In addition, the parent alleges that she had to take a leave from work to assist with the child, and has suffered various financial impacts.

[62]      In the decision, the Tribunal states:

[The parent’s] Complaint must allege facts which, if proven, could establish that: (1) she has the protected characteristics of family status; (2) she experienced an adverse impact regarding a service customarily available to the public; and (3) her family status was a factor in the adverse impact: Moore at para. 33. I have also considered the [petitioners’] arguments that Habetler and Fraser-Cascade bar the tribunal from considering a parent as part of the “public” a school provides a service to, within the meaning of s. 8 of the Code.

[63]      The Tribunal determined that the parent’s complaint set out facts that, if proven, could establish the necessary connection between the adverse impact and the parent’s family status, and could amount to a discrimination under s. 8 of the Human Rights Code. This determination of the Tribunal is one which attracts a high level of deference by the court:  Smith v. B.C. Human Rights Tribunal2021 BCSC 331, para. 21-22.

If you wonder if this is an option for you, please reach out to the BC Human Rights Clinic for consultation.