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Lawyers are notorious for arguing technicalities and finding loopholes in legislation. However, our judicial system reminds us that Canadian legislation, especially in the human rights context, is in place to protect the values that make Canada great and should not be marginalized. In the words of the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Dickson in Canadian National Railway v. Canada (Human Rights Commission):
“Human rights legislation is intended to give rise, amongst other things, to individual rights of vital importance, rights capable of enforcement, in the final analysis, in a court of law. I recognize that in the construction of such legislation the words of the [Canadian Human Rights Act] must be given their plain meaning, but it is equally important that the rights enunciated be given their full recognition and effect. We should not search for ways and means to minimize those rights and to enfeeble their proper impact.”
About the Author: Toronto employment lawyer David Witkowski supports both employee and employer clients with legal counsel in all areas of employment law, including employment contracts, wrongful dismissals, workplace policies, employment standards, workplace investigations and human rights in the workplace.