2010: Family status accommodation

April 23, 2019

This is the fifth vignette in a series celebrating our union victories.

The 2010 groundbreaking Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ‘Johnstone Decision’ shaped the future of accommodations related to family status.

As a Border Services Officer, Fiona Johnstone required a fixed-shift schedule to arrange for child care. The employer refused to consider her request, arguing that it had no obligation under the Canadian Human Rights Act to accommodate what it deemed to be her personal choices around childcare. PSAC and CIU supported Ms Johnstone at every step throughout the ensuing lengthy legal battle. Ultimately, the Tribunal found CBSA had discriminated against Ms. Johnstone by failing to accommodate her family obligations.

In 2014, in a further blow to the employer’s narrow approach to family status accommodation, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision, confirming that human rights legislation is to be interpreted in a broad manner and that family status includes child care and other legal family obligations.

Photo of an infant holding a parent's hand, with text explaining how the union won a victory known as the Johnstone Decision, regarding family status accommodation

Click for full-size version.

For more union victories, see this page, and follow us on social media using #CIUvictories.

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